The Walking Dead: Michael Rooker Talks 'Survivor' Merle Dixon, 'Electrifying' Scenes With Norman Reedus
Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon (left), Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon with Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon -- Gene Page/AMC
Things haven't been going so well for Rick Grimes and his gang since taking over the prison at the start of "The Walking Dead's" Season 3.
There have been dozens of walkers to take out, issues with devious prisoners, major losses for the group and a zombie-bomb attack, courtesy of The Governor and his Woodbury crew. Most recently though, the prison has taken on a new challenge - letting Michael Rooker's Merle Dixon back into the group.
An unpredictable character with a foul mouth, Merle is, "sort of like your drunk uncle... You can't take him to a Christmas party or anything," Norman Reedus, who plays younger Dixon sibling, Daryl, previously told Access Hollywood.
But, whether Merle will be able to fit in with Rick's group at the prison remains to be seen. His concern for his brother, combined with his firsthand knowledge of The Governor's dirty dealing style, already prompted him into a physical with Glenn (Steven Yeun) last week.
So what's next? AccessHollywood.com spoke to Michael to find out. We also chatted about his scenes with Norman earlier in the season, and Michael shared his thoughts on how Merle should be judged not by today's standards, but by zombie apocalypse rules.
AccessHollywood.com: One of the things that's been so fun this second half of Season 3 is you and Norman finally have some proper screen time together. You didn't share the screen in Season 1, and you technically weren't a character in Season 2 -- you were a vision of Daryl's delusions.
Michael: My character was still there and because of the way they wrote it, they have my bike, they have my stash, they keep bringing back and mentioning Merle. So, in a subliminal way, the audience is still sensing Merle's presence. [It was very] interesting, very cool how that was sort of folded into what was going on in the show without my actual physical presence.
Access: When the second half of Season 3 rolled around, how excited you were to have interactions with Norman on screen?
Michael: It's about time, don't ya' think? Holy sh**! I was like, 'Oh my God; finally we get to actually have words together!'
Access: You two have an incredible chemistry... Are you friends on set, do you do stuff together?
Michael: When we work together, the scenes that we are together on screen doing are electrifying and the audience knows it, AMC must see it, it's obvious and yet, there's still not a lot of stuff that we do. It's sort of like you bring it out there and then you take it away, probably making the audience want it even more and that's what they did with Merle. And it's kind of a cool way of putting it out there and then sort of hiding it [so] you're constantly looking for Merle, you're constantly wondering, 'Did Merle shoot the deer with the gun that went through and shot the kid?' You're constantly wondering, 'Is Merle doing this stuff?'... So I became for a while [there], the boogeyman, right?
Access: It's true.
Michael: It's true, isn't it (laughs). I mean, I sort of became the boogeyman and everything bad that happened, 'Merle must have done that!' 'Oh, I bet you Merle did that!' It was very interesting how the audience would sort of speculate [over] what happened to Merle and so by not telling it, was way more exciting to have this Merle that is sort of like omnipresent somewhere out there seeking his vengeful acts.