Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cyrus Webb Presents... A Conversation with Actor Michael Rooker

by Cyrus Webb

Sometimes things just come together in such a way that you know it was just meant to be. For some it seems to be an accident or luck, but you know different. You know that where you have come from has led to this moment and that adds to the gratitude. I think this is the perfect description of the man that is Michael Rooker.

I had seen him in several movies over the years including Mississippi Burning, Replicant and one of my favorites Jumper. But it would be his role as Merle Dixon on the hit AMC show The Walking Dead that would introduce him to the world and a legion of loyal admirers.

How did this happen you might ask? The answer is simple. For almost 30 years Rooker has been tilling the ground, getting himself ready for that moment when he could show the world who he was and what he could do. That moment seems to have come.

In this frank conversation we touch on topics that not only give a glimpse of the world that Michael Rooker built but what we can do to make every moment count.

"I am and have always been a fan of the show. I was there very early in the beginning of Season 1. I got into the show sort of a la carte, thinking I would do one or two episodes perhaps and then move on. I ended up doing a lot more. The rest is history. The whole journey is one I am very fortunate and blessed to have had because look at what's happened because of it."

"I didn't know acting was going to be my thing, but I was always critical early on about what commercials I liked. I've been that guy that could pick out the phony situation. This sort of eventually through me into acting. I didn't get involved until junior college. I said to myself I know I'm good at acting. I began wondering if I could actually do what they do. I took a few classes and really enjoyed myself. 'Til this day I don't know if I was that great in the beginning, but i dug it. I honed my craft and got out and started working."

"This is what I do: I bring passion to roles. The authenticity I feel is picked up on by the people. "The authenticity and the passion are what I pride myself on. I try to find the truth and make it as real as possible for myself. If it feels real to me then my audience will believe it."

(NOTE: When talking about passion Michael brings up the talented cast that worked with him on The Walking Dead. "It's those sorts of experiences with other actors that make it all worth it," he says. "When I work with actors that stimulate, challenge and move your performance forward it's almost magical. I still call it our show. The actors bring it every time.")

"I'm amazed and appreciative for the fans. The love I've been showered with is phenomenal. There's not a lot I can say about that. Every time I think about it I saw 'Wow!' I've been in the business since 1982, and I have never experienced anything like this. It's really wild. I'm definitely amazed at it. Not completely used to it yet, but I don't know how you can get completely ever get used to it."

"You can't give it up. You can always find a job to make money. The key is to be stubborn. I've always been stubborn, and it has paid off in aces. If this is really what you find joy in it's worth giving up a lot of other things for it. I work my butt off. You've just got to. My lines I know them backwards and forward. I don't try to memorize the lines. I'm concerned about what's underneath them and between them. Find what you love and just stick to it."

"I landed so many gigs from my first movie. What stood out was a 90 second scene, and that 90 seconds has gotten me at least a half dozen film projects. It got me started, almost like prime real estate. The lesson there is this: No matter what time you have make it count."

What a great piece of advice for all of us. No matter what the profession or how some might view the outcome, it's up to us to bring it each and every time.

Michael is still on the road, meeting fans and working on new projects. You can visit him online at You can also stay in touch with him online through Twitter at

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