The Ninjabot

Geek Legacy Chats With Michael Rooker

Posted on May 10, 2013 at 6:00 am by Jess Hicks

A few weeks ago I was graciously given the opportunity to interview Michael Rooker of The Walking Dead. We chatted about his past, present and future work. I even got him to reveal his geeky side! Check out the interview below!

AMC's "The Walking Dead" Season 3 Premiere

Geek Legacy: Now that The Walking Dead is over what are you going to miss the most?

Michael Rooker: The regular payday. *laughs* The thing I’ll miss the least is working so hard. It’s a hard gig. I’ll tell ya, TV and all these actors that do this all the time drink respectably *laughs*. I understand what they go through now, it’s pretty amazing.

GL: So playing Merel did you use any specific inspiration for him?

Michael Rooker: No, not at all. Merely was an awesome, strong role that had a lot of room for imagination. So I got a hold of it and brought it to life and the writers and creators of the show liked what I was doing and wrote more for me.

GL: Well you definitely did a fantastic job!

Michael Rooker: Well thanks a lot, I mean we actors just use our imaginations and go with it.

GL: You did a great job and Merel quickly became one of my favorite characters and I was sad to see you go. But you probably have a lot of other stuff going on right now.

Michael Rooker: Yeah, I’m working right now so that’s what’s going on right now. So I am working on my next role right now.

GL: Can you let us know about any of that or is it all top secret?

Michael Rooker: *laughs* Everything is top secret in this business! Um, so I can’t really specifically talk about anything right now but I am working.

GL: No problem, we totally understand. So you are the star of one of my personal favorites Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer.

Michael Rooker: That was my first role! You have excellent taste!

GL: (undeniably flattered) Thank you very much! When you were filming that movie, because it is so raw and hard to watch at times, was it hard for you to get into that character?

Michael Rooker: No, not really. There is a moment when you get a script, and that script was not a lot, that you have to use your imagination and craft as an actor. Pretty soon everything just starts happening for you and then the director and the writers put you in different situations and you just develop your character. Henry was a challenging character to do and the film was challenging too. Being my first role I was petrified and wondering if I could even do this work because you film out of sequence and stuff. So I wasn’t sure I could do this but I ended up being quite good at it and I enjoy it as well!

GL: Well I think you did great and it remains one of my favorites. Would you classify it as a horror movie or do you think it falls into a completely different genre?

Michael Rooker: A lot of people would classify it as horror but you know it has all the different elements, it has a lot of story *laughs*. I don’t know if it’s…it’s it’s own little animal, you know?

GL: I would definitely agree with you.

Michael Rooker: It was something that was fresh at the time. You know most slasher movies at that time were just that, slasher TnA type movies. That was about the size of our budget, the kind of movie we could afford to do. But it turned out different, all the actors and writers and director were not really into doing average slasher, TnA things. So we all got together with all these creative minds and came up with something different that was a bit different than a lot of those movies. We wanted to do something no one had seen before.

GL: Did you ever anticipate it would be the cult classic that it is today?

Michael Rooker: Of course not, I don’t think anyone could really predict that stuff. People that think they know the formula are just deluding themselves because sometimes it’s a miracle that movie can even get made. *laughs*

GL: Obviously you’ve had some roles as the good guy in some films but for the most part you tend to pick the characters that are a little rough around the edges. Do you prefer those roles?

Michael Rooker: *laughs* I guess I am sort of picky, I am careful about the role I pick. If I  have the luxury of choosing that is. I’m a working actor so there are some roles that I have chosen that I may have passed on if I had the big bank account. But a lot of the roles I choose have been fairly personal and artistically motivated.

GL: Well that is definitely an admirable quality that you can decide for yourself whether you want to play a character or not instead of just choosing one to make money. Of course making money is always nice too *laughs*.

Michael Rooker: It’s a great part and I’d much rather make money on a project I love but sometimes you just have to take a role you love just to have it under your belt.

GL: Exactly! And in addition to your work in film and television you also do a lot of voice over work, correct?

Michael Rooker: Oh yeah, Norman [Reedus]  and I have a new game out based on Merel and Daryl Dixon called Survival Instinct that takes place before they meet up with the other people in Atlanta. So that was kind of fun and actually that was pretty simple, they had already scanned my body and face scanned from previous games that I had done for Activision. So all they needed from me was the voice over. Black Ops 2 was extensive, it took months and months to complete but I am really enjoying that work.

GL: Do you enjoy acting or voice over work more?

Michael Rooker: They are somewhat different but you still have to prepare for the voice over work as you do for acting. You still have your basic homework to do, all of that crap *laughs*. All the stuff people don’t really want to talk about because it’s kind of boring. *laughs* You sit down and read your script and then you read it again and again!

GL: It’s not all glamorous then? *laughs*

Michael Rooker: Yeah exactly, it’s not all glamorous.

GL: Well you can really tell that you enjoy yourself in all of your roles.

Michael Rooker: Oh yeah, that’s one of my main goals to enjoy myself. I mean life is so short so you just do your job and hope you enjoy it. And for me that’s what I do, I love it! Love it!

GL: Well we love you for it! So I won’t keep you much longer but we at Geek Legacy are dying to know, are you a geek? And if so what makes you a geek?

Michael Rooker: *laughs* You know what, I think people find me at times somewhat geeky in the things that I do and choices I make, you know? I do enjoy the voice overs and the gaming stuff. Although I am a horrible gamer, just horrible, I totally suck at it *laughs*. But I do like it and I like working on the games a lot. And actually I’ve been enjoying The Walking Dead, the comics.

GL: Even though you’re not in them?

Michael Rooker: *laughing* Yeah even though I’m not in them. It’s actually better that I’m not in them. Doing the series is a blessing in disguise. I don’t have anything to live up to, it’s all new and fresh.

GL: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me and we are definitely going to miss you next season. But we look forward to seeing and hearing you in whatever you do next!

Michael Rooker: Hopefully you’ll be seeing something in the trades about Michael Rooker doing something soon. I don’t sit around for long, I much prefer to get out there and work and have fun. My fingers are crossed that’ll happen soon!

GL: The second we hear something we will get the word out!

Michael Rooker: Yeah, and let me know too! *laughs* Thank you!

You can follow Jess on Twitter @DangerJess_ for my fun and ramblings.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images


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