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Michael Rooker interview with the GCE about his roles in The Walking Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy

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Right after he left The Walking Dead he immediately went into GotG mode:

Even with the prospect of Guardians of the Galaxy on the horizon, was it difficult to leave the rest of the cast of the Walking Dead?

No it wasn’t hard at all because I was dead! [laughs] You work with people and you get to know them and of course it’s hard, it’s too bad things have to come to an end but they do and you have to move on. That’s part of an actor’s life and we are good at it. We have to be able to do that well because you can’t be thinking of a former project when you are working on a current one. You have to be able to lock it and move forward.

While Merle was a little rough around the edges at times, he certainly tried to redeem himself in his final moments. Is that how you pictured Merle might have gone out?

Minus a few little details, it was exactly how I wanted it to happen. It was part of my imagination as well as the writers imagination to coordinate that whole sequence. They didn’t just write that sequence — it was imagined by myself and the writers together in a collaboration. That’s how things tend to evolve and develop.

We only had three weeks to do it. I mean we had two, but then it got flipped around so we had three weeks to write and rewrite and write — we had time to express ideas and get them on paper and some ideas weren’t even on paper and on the day of, we decided to do it. Hopefully it comes out good and you’ll have a good show. The Walking Dead is an amazing show and I think it’s in part due to the collaboration that makes it believable, exciting and the fans really enjoy that.

And The Walking Dead is a very well written show.

And a well performed show! It’s not that it’s just a well written show, it’s a well performed show too. Everything that is written down has to be acted out in a believable fashion. If that’s not the case, no matter how good your writing is, the show is going to suck. You have to have the writing, you have the artists coming in and reading said writing and adding their influence and creativity and then the director comes in and they all collaborate together. If one part of that falters, many times the other parts will still bolster it up and it will still be a great show.

What is the most challenging role you’ve ever had?

Being a father is probably the most challenging [laughs]. No, it’s really great actually. But I think the most challenging was probably my first one, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Everything else has sort have been a cakewalk. That one was one of the most internally intense characters that I’ve ever played. All the rest have been challenging in their own way, but because this was my first screen performance there were extra stresses and tensions and because it was based on a real serial killer, it was an incredibly challenging role.

How hard is it to play both Merle and Blue Merle?

Not hard. And in both cases, he's pretty much playing himself.

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