If you're reading this, chances are you're a fan of either Call of Duty Black Ops 2 or The Walking Dead. One depicts a global struggle over control of an army of unmanned drones; the other, a small group's attempts to find humanity in a world overrun by undead monsters. They've got at least one thing in commong: Michael Rooker.
Rooker plays Merle Dixon in The Walking Dead. Merle hasn't been seen since season one, when Rick handcuffed him as walker bait and he was forced to cut his own hand off. In season three, he's made his triumphant return, and we're eagerly waiting to find out whether he's plotting some sort of epic revenge.
In Black Ops 2, Rooker plays Mike Harper, a character we knew nothing about going into this interview. Thankfully, Rooker was able to shed some light on Harper, as well as some other projects he's got coming up—Activision's The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct shooter, for example, and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.
And of course, we asked the most important question of all: when are we going to see a Black Ops /The Walking Dead crossover? Read on to find out what he said.
Complex: What can you reveal about your character in Black Ops 2?
Rooker: What can I reveal? Is that the question?
Well I know Activision wants to keep a tight lid on things still…
I can give you—the details that i can share are that my body is awesome. I am aspiring to be like my character, Mike Harper, in the game, as we speak. In the gym every day trying to look like Mike Harper. The guy—they did such a unbelievable, fucking amazing job, and I'm like, "Wow! [laughing] This is cool."
So the guy is ripped?
He's totally ripped. Attitude is awesome, I just—very cool, man. I couldn't be more happy with how Mike Harper turned out and just the attitude and the persona, the toughness, the brashness, you know, very cool characterization as well.
So are you playing any other characters?
I'm Mike Harper, U.S. Navy SEAL, baby [laughing].
So you're fighting in the game's present storyline, not the one in the past?
I will be. There's several storylines, as you know, and so I'm probably the up-front storyline, and yeah, that's—I got a lot of action, a lot of lines, and just a very macho, very cool—I actually have a tan, okay? [laughing] Beautiful stuff, beautiful stuff. I couldn't be happier. Absolutely.
You first got involved with Call of Duty with the "Rezurrection" Zombies DLC for Black Ops. How did you get involved with that—was it because of your zombie-filled repertoire?
I do believe it was because I was in The Walking Dead and the folks over at Treyarch and Activision are big fans of The Walking Dead, and I'm like, "Yeah!" I couldn't be happier. It came sort of out of the blue, and I was like, "Yeah!" I jumped all over it. Absolutely. I had also worked with George Romero maybe 15 years ago in a film, you know? So I was like, "Oh my gosh!" Okay. Yeah, I'm down for that let's do it.
You're a fan of zombie stuff in general?
Oh yeah. Oh yeah, man. Big horror movie fan and sci-fi movie—I just, yeah, love all that to death.
Are you a gamer too?
I am such a great gamer that seven-year-olds kick my butt [laughing]. I swear I am the worst gamer. I try, I try, and I try, but for some reason, you know, it, yeah. I got—everybody beats me. Let's just put it that way. My gaming prowess is so good that I tell nobody who I am online [laughing].
You don't brag? Like, "Hey, it's me, Merle."
I brag to no one. No one.
What does Mike Harper bring to Black Ops 2 that would be missing without him?
Oh my god, wow, I'll tell you what. Without Mike Harper, the color would not be there. The humor—because I bring a great dose of humor—and sardonic humor, at that—and just a pretty out-there amount of kick-assness. [laughing] Yeah, my guy's pretty tough, and willing to bend over backwards and kick your ass.
He's the jokester too?
Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Willing to take a punch, and get up laughing.