Michael Rooker as The Walking Dead’s Merle Dixon
The term “bad ass” is equated to the last name, Dixon. Half of The Walking Dead’s Dixon Brothers duo joined The Walker Stalkers Podcast with James and Eric to discuss the future of the elder Dixon, Merle Dixon. Merle is played by veteran actor, and a bad ass himself, Michael Rooker. Michael took questions from fans and offered some possible glimpses into Merle’s future and how he may handle Rick and Daryl’s relationship and becoming a contributing member to the prison group.
Merle Dixon originally appeared in Season One and his whereabouts and whether he lived or died were a mystery to fans of The Walking Dead. For Michael, Merle’s return was also a bit of mystery until he reappeared in a Season Two dream sequence. After that appearance, Michael said that, “I got the call that they wanted me back on the show!”
Indeed they did, as Merle Dixon has come back and he’s brought his no holds barred attitude with him. Fans see this side of Merle but wondered if Michael is ever confused to be the same person in real life. One fan asked how Michael prepared to play such a bad ass, but seemed to be such a down-to-earth guy? Michael answered, “I don’t really want to scare anyone, but there’s no preparation needed!” He continued, “I really use my imagination and enjoy it. I have fun doing it.”
Merle is loved by fans, even if he is torturing Glenn, killing walkers, or hunting down Michonne. Asked why this was true and how that contrasts with fans’ hatred for the Governor, Michael responded, “I play it in a way that I use the humor and the sardonic nature – that’s part of who I am and part of who Merle is now, as part of the role. People kind of enjoy that and people like a bad guy. They definitely like a bad guy that has some sense of humor behind him.”
Michael continued, “That is a really cool combination for me and I really enjoy playing those roles that are on the cusp – that you don’t know if they are good or bad. They are kind of walking the tightrope. That’s very challenging for me as for an actor and that’s what I dig.”
The cliffhanger of the mid-season finale left Merle standing in the arena with his brother, Daryl. Fans were interested in Merle’s future. In particular, fans were interested in knowing what would happen if Merle were to join Daryl’s group. One fan asked if Merle is going to be jealous of Daryl’s relationship with Rick? Michael said that, “Merle is a bit perturbed by the relationship between Daryl and ‘the cop.’ I would say that goes beyond jealousy. I don’t want to get into the history between Daryl and Merle, but cops have never been their friends.”
If Merle does make it back to the prison, one fan wondered if Merle would be able to be a contributing member? “He would be a good contributing member of any group,” said Michael, “as long as no one told him what the f**k to do. He is an individual, bar none; he will do it his way no matter what. I don’t think that he’s the kind of person that would take orders from the likes of Rick or anyone else.”
When asked if that “anyone else” included the Governor, Michael said, “Merle is playing a game with the Governor, as he would probably play with Rick or anyone else.”
But there was one family member that was also brought up during the conversation with The Walker Stalkers Podcast, and that’s “Little Merle”, Merle’s prosthetic device. The Walker Stalkers asked what will end up on Merle’s limb, since we last see he had been disarmed for a potential duel against his brother. Michael wouldn’t share the secret. But what if Merle were to lose his other hand? Michael said that, “another blade would be fine.”
You can’t conduct a Michael Rooker interview without a few good laughs and some timely expletives. A fan asked Michael what kind of breakfast food would Merle be? Michael responded with a chuckle and then answered, “It depends on who’s eating you!”
Finally, The Walker Stalkers always close the show with three questions pertaining to music, with the last question being which musician would make the best zombie? In only a way that Michael Rooker can do it, he said, “I’d like to see little Taylor Swift be a zombie. That sweet little face! Awww! She’d have to work on her zombie walk!”
For more of The Walker Stalkers Podcast conversation with Michael Rooker, where he discusses the new The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct video game, Merle’s confrontation with death in Season One, and the differences between himself in real life and Merle, the character, listen to the podcast at www.thewalkerstalkers.com. You can also find the complete podcast and conversation on iTunes.