Mitch Glazer’s ‘Magic City’ Guide: Episode 5 – Jeffrey Dean Morgan Shines, Despite Back Injury

Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Magic City (Starz)

Join us each week as “Magic City” writer-creator Mitch Glazer offers an insider’s guide to one critical scene from the 50s-era drama after it airs on Starz (Fridays, 10/9c).

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For the fifth episode episode (“Suicide Blonde”), Glazer takes us behind the scenes of that pivotal moment where Ike (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) murders Jimmy Shoes. Plus, if you thought his grunts and groans sounded a little too real – there’s a reason for that.

Mitch Glazer: The scene where Ike kills Jimmy Shoes out at the quarry was a tough and wonderful night. We shot in West Miami right on the edge of the Everglades after days of monsoonal rain. Huge puddles, huger mosquitoes. It is an ambitious, complicated scene with gunfire, fights, drowning cars, stunts and stars and our director, the intrepid Brit Simon Cellan Jones tackled it with maniacal cheer, efficiency and artistry. But what I remember most about the night was Jeffrey Dean Morgan. He was heroic. The scene called for Ike to pick up the fallen Judi Silver, carry her to his Caddy and seat her in the front seat, then go back and pick up the dead Jimmy Shoes and stuff him into his car. Which Jeff did over and over again, all with a back that had kept him bedridden the week before. It was difficult to watch. The grunts you hear in the scene as Jeff hauls around both actors are very, frighteningly real. But the most memorable moment for me showed Jeff’s depth and subtlety as an actor. After Ike has beaten Jimmy to death and placed the body in the car, as written Ike walks without stopping around to the driver’s side, puts the car in gear and lets it roll into the bottomless quarry. We rehearsed it a couple of times and Jeff came over to Simon and suggested that Ike stop at the front of the car, lean on the hood and react to the horror of murdering a man. Just take a moment to feel the weight of his actions. Ike has killed a man. A small but perfect choice. Simon instantly jumped on Jeff’s idea and it is in the cut. The wonder about an actor like Jeff, or truly everyone in the cast, is that by mid-season the characters are theirs. They have ownership. They know. It is an honor and joy to watch them work.

Watch the Scene Below:

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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