'The Walking Dead's Michael Rooker Joins 'Fantasy Island' Cast

Former Guardians of the Galaxy and The Walking Dead star Michael Rooker has boarded Sony Pictures and Blumhouse's Fantasy Island, Deadline reports.

A big screen adaptation of the ABC series that starred Ricardo Montalbán and ran from 1977 to 1984 on ABC, Fantasy Island will also star Michael Peña as Mr. Roarke, leading a cast now consisting of Charlotte McKinney (Baywatch), Parisa Fitz-Henley (Luke Cage) and Austin Stowell (12 Strong).

Jeff Wadlow, who directed and co-wrote Truth or Dare for Jason Blum's typically horror-centric production arm, directs from a script he penned with Truth or Dare co-writers Jillian Jacobs and Chris Roach. Blumhouse co-finances with Sony, who have set a course for a February 28, 2020 release date.

Plot details are being kept under wraps.

Rooker, whose tenure as one-armed hillbilly Merle Dixon on The Walking Dead ended in 2013, most recently starred as Bud Melks in the James Gunn-scripted and produced horror-thriller The Belko Experiment before reprising his role as blue-skinned space pirate Yondu in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, again reuniting him with writer-director and close friend Gunn.

"Before The Walking Dead, a few of the jobs before that were just like, 'Ugh.' I try and make everything as creative as possible, even when I get the script and can't imagine what I'm going to do with it. I was ecstatic when The Walking Dead came along. Merle Dixon was so perfectly adapted for me," Rooker told Paste Magazine in 2017.

"My casting director friends — who I've known since Days of Thunder — called me about the role. They said, 'Michael, I have this role that is absolutely written for you. It's about this redneck, racist guy that I know you can play very well. He's such a d—k that they cuff him to the rooftop. And he's such a crazy mofo that he cuts his own hand off.' The dude has the balls to cut his own hand off and walk away? That's me! Where do I sign?


"They pushed and stood up for me to get the role, even when other guys were considered for the part. Thank God I did it, because it was such a great, amazing boost for my career. The Walking Dead has truly been a dream come true for me. I'm still friends with all the people on the show, and it really does still feel like a family."

Fantasy Island opens February 28, 2020.