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Michael Rooker talks about Merle and THE WALKING DEAD

Michael Rooker’s small but pivotal role in season one of The Walking Dead was one of the most interesting contributions to the highly successful show.  His character, Merle Dixon, was written specifically for the show and was not a part of Robert Kirkman’s comic series.  In a new interview with AICN, Rooker sat down and talked about the character and revealed that in season two, “I know I’m coming back.”

Rooker’s “redneck racist” interpretation of the character of Merle definitely revealed that the zombies in the show aren’t the only ones with an ugly side.  Merle added a mysterious element for fans of the comic who thought they knew what to expect with the show.  Based on this new interview with Rooker, even he didn’t know the extent of how large his character was going to become.

I know I’m coming back, but I don’t know exactly when.

Originally, I was only in one episode, episode two. And Frank was there on set watching episode two, and he liked what he was seeing, so he went back to L.A. and wrote that whole teaser for me in episode three, the section before episode three begins. Each episode starts out with a little teaser, so he wrote this entire teaser, four minutes basically of Michael Rooker monologue on going through hell and back. You know, zombies are at the door, and I thinking I’m dying and praying. What an awesome piece of writing for any actor. I mean it was like “Wow,” I saw this and was just blown away, and it was very cool, so that’s it. I was in episode two and the teaser for episode three, and then of course they are looking for me and my hand, it was almost as good as me being in the episode.

Oh yeah. It was an awesome role. It was a fun, crazy, out-there role and it was one episode. When I read it, when I agreed to do it, it was one and that was it, so that had to have somewhat of a beginning, middle, and end as an actor. The way it was written, I come on really strong, you come in in the middle, you don’t know who this guy is. So within seconds you’ve got to know who this fucking guy is, and that was my job as an actor to basically blow people’s minds, like slap them in the fucking face and kick ‘em in the balls, with the lines and the words and the attitude.

Oh it’s always kind of… You don’t know where it’s going to go now, so it can go anywhere really. Especially after Frank Darabont went back to L.A. to write the teaser for me . He did an amazing job with that, so it opens up the gate for Merle to re-enter, and when I do re-enter, it’s going to be quite an experience.


To read the entire interview, where Rooker also discusses working with James Gunn on Slither and Super, click hereSpeaking of James Gunn, make sure to check back later this week where you can read DTB’s interview with director James Gunn!

Season two of The Walking Dead starts up on AMC this fall.

 Source: Ain’t it Cool News



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Author: Michael Haffner View all posts by
Somewhere between growing up on a steady diet of Saturday morning trips to the local comic-book shop, collecting an unhealthy amount of action figures, and frequent viewings of Ray Harryhausen and Hammer Horror films, came forth a nerdy boy that was torn between journalism and the arts. In high school, Michael found himself writing a movie column for the school newspaper. Yet, he went on to get a BFA in Studio Art at Webster University. When not writing about films, you can still find him discussing classic horror, collecting action figures, and reading Batman. Clearly, not much has changed.