INTERVIEW: Michael Rooker (Merle, The Walking Dead) at Walker Stalker Con, Atlanta


*Disclosure: I attended Walker Stalker Con with media credentials. Any opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I had the pleasure of attending a short press roundtable with Michael Rooker this past weekend at Walker Stalker Con, in Atlanta. Rooker played Merle on The Walking Dead, a character that definitely had an impact on the show; he was a villain, but had some good qualities to him as well.

{check back soon for a full Walker Stalker Con recap, too}

Here's the full interview:
(apologies for sound quality)



Some interesting questions + answers:

Q: What is your biggest childhood fear? What motivates you, what scares you, and motivates you in roles?

A: Violence - very scary to me, and so, I got very good at it.

You've been doing a lot of conventions this year. A lot of people experience fanboy moments when they first meet you. What's a fanboy moment you've had?

I don't have many of those, but Stan Lee would probably be my top. You know who he is, right?
{laughter}

Merle Dixon, Walking Dead
(Michael Rooker)
With your extensive resume playing villainous characters, how important is it to you that they have redeeming qualities, and which [character] was your favorite to play outside of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Walking Dead?

It's not that important to me that they have redeeming qualities - I just play the role, the writers write it. If they write in redeeming qualities, then the character has [those]; if they don't, then I do whatever I'm supposed to do - kill, maim, burn.

And what's your favorite? Between killing and maiming? (laughter)

Yes/No Films: I saw on your Facebook page that you're filming a movie here in Atlanta. Can you talk about that?

The new movie is the Buddy Bolden story, who is considered the grandfather of jazz. Before ragtime was ragtime, he was blowing his horn, and doing it in such a way that people would come and see him and dance and have a great time. He was a great musician. It's a beautiful story - it's a sad story - and it needed to be told in some form or another. It takes place in New Orleans, 1905 to 1930-ish ... pretty cool movie.

I want to know: how would Merle Dixon handle Terminus - if he got there?

Merle's got the knife on him so they probably would've taken it off him. When your back's against the wall, you do a lot of interesting things. I think they played it right - I saw it, and thought it was ... I'm like any other fan, thinking "How are they going to get out of this? That's impossible!" The filmmakers and producers and writers and directors and actors seem to find some way out. Who knows ... I come up with ideas on the day, on the spur of the moment type thing ... I don't usually speculate about it until I'm in a situation.

And my favorite question/answer:
If your character hadn't died in season 3, how well do you think Merle would be fitting in with the rest of the cast?

How well do you think the rest of the cast would fit in with Merle?


A big thanks to Mr. Rooker and the Walker Stalker Con team for setting up this interview.

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