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Burly, beloved character actor Michael Rooker is no stranger to horror, from his grim star turn in HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER to his literal slimeball of a villain in James Gunn’s SLITHER. Most recently, it was Rooker’s acclaimed involvement in AMC’s toweringly successful THE WALKING DEAD series that gave a fresh boost to his many genre credits. While sitting down with Rooker and other cast members from the upcoming thriller CELL 213, FANGORIA got a chance to try and wring any information about the possible return of Rooker’s DEAD character, wounded redneck Merle Dixon.
Rooker confirms that his character will return, but refuses to specify if it will be part of the feverishly-anticipated second season that’s scheduled to begin filming next week in Atlanta, or something beyond that. “It’s just that we don’t know when yet,” Rooker says, then smiles. "And, I’m not allowed to say." On the ambiguous ending to Merle’s arc in the first season, he teases, "It’s not really an ambiguous end. It’s an ambiguous beginning." As for the network-imposed budget shrinkage on THE WALKING DEAD that has so infuriated showrunner Frank Darabont, Rooker jokingly assures fans that the show will still be able to afford his services: "That’s right, (the cuts are) all in my salary. Instead of making $5 per episode, I’m going to $2!"
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