Saturday, October 16, 2021

S. Epatha Merkerson: ‘I Won’t Even Read a Script with a Snake in it’

S. Epatha Merkerson *With years put in on “Law and Order” as the longest-running actress ever to appear on a TV series, S. Epatha Merkerson has encountered many unnerving situations onscreen.

But apparently that doesn’t hold a candle against something that terrifies the actress in real life. That something in question is Merkerson’s ophidiophobia (aka a severe fear of snakes).

The fear is so real that Merkerson confessed to almost taking a pass on starring alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Justin Timberlake in “Black Snake Moan” until she was assured there were no snakes in the film.

“I won’t even read a script with a snake in it,” Merkerson shared during an interview. “That’s the first thing I asked when they sent [the script] over. I don’t think even the President could order me to do that.”

Merkerson’s fear of snakes isn’t restricted to movie scripts. The 62-year-old entertainer mentioned a situation where a snake she saw onscreen while watching an episode of “Battlestar Galactica” on the Sci Fi Channel nearly caused her to have a panic attack.

“I was running around the apartment! I closed my eyes when I heard them. Then I heard the woman say, ‘How many did you see?’ She said, ‘A dozen,’ and I just lifted up,” the actress recalled.

Merkerson can be seen in “Chicago Med,” a spinoff to NBC’s “Chicago Fire.”

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