The Walking Dead: My interview with Michael Rooker-fantasy vs. reality

Michael Rooker and me at Kick Off the Con
Michael Rooker and me at Kick Off the Con /

Kick off the Con

257 Kick-off-the-con-Chicago Woodfield /

Tonight at the Woodfield mall in Schaumburg, Illinois at a trendy little gaming spot called Level 257, the press was able the pick up their credentials for Wizard World Chicago Comic-Con and meet a few celebrity guests. As a Walking Dead fan, the celebrity guest of interest to me was Michael Rooker.

We were also given the opportunity to have short interviews. Being that this is my first con and my first experience as press, I had no idea what to expect. I’m not a journalist. I’m a disabled, retired high school teacher. I’m an extreme Walking Dead fan and blogger.

I tried to put my Mary Tyler Moore skills to work, but as with many things, you know better once you’ve been through it once. The interviews were done very quickly and spontaneously one after the next, some with video and some with recorders shoved in Mr, Rooker’s face.

I was one of the last in line. At least I got some fun tidbits as I overheard his answers to other interviewers as he gave his answers in a public fashion, sharing with all of us, if we could hear.

What I overheard

Someone told him about a Yondu toy/figure. Michael asked if it looked like him. Apparently, one of them does and that’s the one Michael wants.  He said, “I have to get me one of those. Maybe Rooker will sign if for me!”

I’m not sure what one interviewer said, but it prompted Michael to make sure he knew that both Merle and Daryl were abused.

Michael Rooker at Wizard World’s Kick off the Con event in Schaumburg /

Someone did bring up the reports that Michael was seen on the Walking Dead set recently. Michael’s responses to this were hilarious! He said maybe Merle came back and he got some action. Rooker also doubted the writers would give him a good girl on the show saying he’d probably get a zombie or something.

The interviewer suggested that reports are saying that Merle’s and Daryl’s relationship wasn’t fully explored. Michael interjected that nothing is fully explored. (on The Walking Dead) Then asked, (my favorite thing of the night)“Is that why I was on the set?”

Addressing the audience

When addressing the audience and doing Q and A, Michael touched on topics like 7 year-olds beating him at video games, loving the catering at his first job where he got his hotel and food paid for–“I don’t have to pay for these Kit-Kats?” And liking the weather in Ireland. Being a pub guy not a beach guy.

Lucky for Michael, sweet home Chicago is experiencing a nice cool spell after a hot humid streak. It should be a lovely weekend for Comic-con.

My turn for an interview

Well, I was a nervous wreck once I stepped up. And unfortunately, for me, the questions I did ask had short answers. It was the end of the night so I just wrapped it up and got my picture, which was the best part!

Michael Rooker at Wizard World’s Kick off the Con event in Schaumburg /

I asked about memories from the set of Walking Dead. He said he didn’t really have any favorite memories, it was all just a fun time. I asked who could play him in The Michael Rooker Story. I was so nervous I said Merle Rooker Story first. He said the movie would have to be written first. Strike two in my great questions.

Before the questions, I gave him some chocolate pretzel M&M treats I made. I told him I read he liked chocolate pretzels and then I learned why. He laughed. I also gave him a Rock em Sock em robots game. He said it’s a great game. I told him I saw him on a show once where he loved it.

I left and went out into the lobby and burst into tears for a quick minute. The stress and excitement and nerves from the day having their release.

My fantasy interview

We would be sitting, not standing. We would play a round of Rock em Sock em robots. I would ask if he minded talking about Merle Dixon. He would say he loved it. I would say, me, too! I would ask real questions I have like did Merle ever get on your own nerves when he wouldn’t shut up? I know sometimes I get mad at myself if I say too much.

Tonight I was mad at myself for not being able to say enough. I was too afraid of bothering or of seeming odd doing rapid fire questions to someone I don’t know. I’m used to taking time to warm up to people before interrogating them.

I’d ask if he knew when he did his rooftop scene that he wasn’t going to be part of the show again and that those few minutes on-screen would be so powerful. He was as anticipated as Morgan to return someday. And Morgan had way more screen time.

Michael Rooker at Wizard World’s Kick off the Con event in Schaumburg /

I’d ask him if he knew Merle was abused when he played rooftop Merle. If he did any research on abused children. If growing up in the time period he did (Rooker) helped the non-touching personality of Merle.

I’d ask him if he thought Merle really changed all that much in the end. And don’t we all have friends and family who are gruff and prejudiced but still loveable and not evil people. People are complex.

We’d talk and laugh naturally. But my fantasy interview doesn’t need to happen. It happens in its own way everyday when I’m lucky enough to write about my opinions here at Undead Walking. I’m better in writing than in speaking anyway.

I got to meet Michael Rooker

Michael-rooker-me-wizard-world-kick-off-the-con /

Bob’s good from the bad game: I got to meet Michael Rooker. I got to listen to him talk to people while standing feet away from him and making eye contact and smile contact. I have a picture with Michael Rooker! And it’s a pretty good picture. I’m not photogenic and it’s a pretty good picture.

Did I mention I got to meet Michael Rooker? Oh, and he called me sweetheart.

My Merle Dixon articles:

Who is Merle Dixon?

More to Merle.

More from Kick off the Con!

Rooker vs. The Audience

True or False with Michael Rooker

Next: Season 5:All Named Character Deaths

More from Undead Walking