The Walking Dead: Rooker vs. the audience at Wizard World Chicago

Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon, AMC
Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon, AMC /
Michael Rooker. Merle The Walking Dead. AMC /

Michael Rooker answered questions from his fans and fans of The Walking Dead for 30 minutes at Wizard World Chicago in a panel entitled Rooker vs. The Audience. I had a chance to ask Mr. Rooker questions at press night last Wednesday. That coupled with watching the audience ask questions,  I’ve learned quite a bit about Michael Rooker and his ‘question answering’ style. I have a few tips for you, in case you ever have the opportunity to ask Rooker a question.

Michael doesn’t fancy choosing favorites of anything. Not favorite moments, favorite episodes, favorite ice cream. Or superlative questions. Most difficult? Funniest? His answers will be things like, ‘I don’t have a favorite.’ Or ‘they were all fun,’ or ‘none of them were difficult.’

Merle Dixon. The Walking Dead. AMC /

He claims that nothing was funny on sets. He claims to not remember laughing. That people are afraid to be funny around him even though he loves funny people. He says he doesn’t get jokes. He says he doesn’t like to have favorites. He likes all foods and people.

Your best bet is to ask a choice question hoping to get any answer that might be funny. Pepsi or Coke got ‘Jack Daniels’ as the answer. So I would ask chocolate or vanilla? Then maybe he’ll toss out mint chocolate chip.

Many times if you ask him if he can tell you more about something, he will just say, ‘No’ or, ‘Next’.

A great question that was a yes or no was, ” Are you jealous of the Reedus /Lincoln bromance?” He said he was that they were both sexy.

A question that I wanted to ask and forgot to ask, was, “Did you know that you would be asked to come back seasons later when you were left on the rooftop?” An audience member asked that question and Rooker said he imagined someone knew they wanted that to happen, but they didn’t tell him, so, no, he didn’t know Merle was coming back.

He said Merle was not fun to play because of bugs, sweat and ticks! He had to get naked everyday for lunch and look in a double mirror in his trailer. He requested a tick looker, but nobody wanted to do it. He remarked on the not fun-ness of seeing your body at 360 degrees–not nice.

He did say he always wanted, ever since childhood, to roll out of a moving car and have the car be okay. So the scene going after the Governor met that need for him.

Walker Merle /

He didn’t think he gave the directors what they wanted with the Walker Merle scene because they were looking for a little fight even with his knife arm, which didn’t make sense to Rooker. He said that scene was supposed to be emotionless. He was dead. He should have only been concerned it his physical movement on one foot in front of the other.

He did say fans have commented on how the contact lenses that they used did make it seem like Merle had a twinge of recognition for a brief moment as Merle looked up from his awesome brisket and barbecue chicken, since Rooker hadn’t had lunch yet, and the contact lenses were a big deal to the directors, so Rooker thought they were right about that and that was neat.

Personally, I did notice that they did have the Walker Merle have a bit more ‘personality’ than the usual walker and some playful brotherly pushing with Daryl.

For someone who either answers your question very ambiguously or tells an unrelated story then says “I didn’t really answer your question, did I,” Michael Rooker is extremely entertaining to listen to in a question answer session appropriately titled Rooker vs. The Audience. It definitely feels like a verbal sparring session.

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