Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) first appeared in the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead, and fans instantly loved the character because of his explicit and relentless behavior. We last saw the real Merle in Season 1, handcuffed to the roof an Atlanta building. However, we do know he has escaped by chopping off his hand and somehow made his way to Woodbury. Actor Michael Rooker is responsible for bringing this new character to life and took some time out of his tremendous schedule to answer a few questions about the zombie drama.
Initially, what attracted you to the role of Merle Dixon?
The role of Merle Dixon and me being in the Walking Dead is a karma job for me. A couple decades ago there was a chance to work with Frank Darabont and it didn't work out...and I wanted to do something for him for a while. Merle started out as one episode and they just didn't have a lot budgeted for the character. And then it turned into something wonderful,...a challenging role that I am honored to play..
After filming Season 1, did you have any clue on Merle’s fate?
Honestly? No. I didn't have a clue....and I'm still trying to figure it out. [laughs]
Has The Walking Dead changed your view on zombie media at all?
I don't think so. I mean zombies have always been popular in movies and books....and even before Night of the Living Dead, the idea of zombies was present. Of course the Internet has broadened the effect, connecting fans across continents.
Merle Dixon is set to star alongside Daryl in Activision’s The Walking Dead video game. Are you involved in the project?
Yes, I plan to be a part of the game.
Merle was an original character to the TV Show. How did you go about making this character your own?
The character is my own. I mean, the source material was amazing and I was able to simply tap into my southern upbringing and let the character flow from there. I'm very fortunate to work with such great material and actors and crew...and I think as a result it's been some of the best work I've done in my career.
Do you think Merle Dixon could fit in The Walking Dead’s comic universe?
Yes, of course! [pauses] But, uhhh, you'll have to take that up with [Robert] Kirkman.
The last time we saw Merle, he was a figment of Daryl’s imagination. Will Season 3’s Merle be very different from that “ghost”?
Delusion or not, Merle will definitely let his feelings be known [laughs]
How good is your relationship with the rest of the cast?
It's an amazing group of great actors and they're great people...especially my little brother Daryl. [pauses] I mean Norman [Reedus].
Merle has a very explicit nature. Has anything you acted out so far made you uncomfortable?
Nah.....I mean being uncomfortable is a good thing for an actor. How I feel as a person can't be allowed to influence all of what I do as a character. And Merle is definitely a character.
Are there any Marvel or DC characters that you think you could play or voice?
Every single one [laughs]
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions!
Thanks for the questions man! Appreciate the support!