During the Wizard World Chicago 2015 Kick-Off party, PopCultHQ had a chance to sit with actor Michael Rooker. As we talk about rumors of ‘Merle’ maybe coming back for The Walking Dead season 6, Yondu coming back to Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and what it’s like dealing with media (me)!
Michael and I have actually done a few interviews before but this was the very first one for my website PopCultHQ.com and he was not going to let me forget it either.
Ok, Let’s get the rumors out of the way.
PopCultHQ: I had seen “reports” from another website that had you, not only at The Walking Dead location, but ON the set itself. I know how secretive TWD is and you cannot say a single thing about filming, but let’s say this rumor is true. How about you look me right in the eyes and don’t blink if you are going to be on this season’s The Walking Dead.
Michael Rooker: “If I don’t blink I’m on The Walking Dead? What if I do blink?”
PopCultHQ: Well, that means you are NOT going to be ON the upcoming season.
Michael Rooker: “How about this.”
(Michael looks me right in the eyes and gives me a long solid eyes tightly shut blink, everyone laughs)
As Rooker says that a crowd has now formed around us to watch me conduct this interview. Normally it’s just me and whoever I’m interviewing alone at a table. Now I have full spotlights and every single person’s attention in the room looking right at us. A bit unnerving if you ask me but this is Michael Rooker’s comfort zone.
Michael Rooker: “Somebody saw me on set?”
PopCultHQ: Yeah, well like i said, this was “reported” on another website and we don’t do rumors here on PopCultHQ so I wanted to squash that one right away. The reports were that they saw you on set with……. (trying to remember a cast member’s name)
Michael Rooker: “They seen me with that other guy……Daryl?”
PopcultHQ: No, not Daryl.
Michael Rooker: “Was it a girl? Did they see me with some girl? Maybe Merle Dixon came back from the dead and got some action!”
PopcultHQ: Maybe, they really need to put that in there!
Michael Rooker: “Oh my God! That would be great…that would be the only way I’d come back on to that show, if I got a little action.”
Michael Rooker: “They wouldn’t even have to pay me!”
Michael Rooker: “If they gave me a woman they would end up giving me a pet zombie or something”
PopCultHQ: Now the “reports’ said it was due to the relationship between you and your brother that was not fully explored right before you were killed basically.
Michael Rooker: “Due to the facts that Merle and Daryl never got to finish their emotional brother sibling backstory”
PopCultHQ: Yes Sir.
Michael Rooker: “Where did these reports come from?”
PopCultHQ: So none of this is true and you were not on set?
Michael Rooker: “Yeah,……no”
PopCultHQ: That’s what I thought. It’s just to me, it seemed like there was so much more there to dive into. I felt as though Merle didn’t get the physical abuse as bad as Daryl did.
Michael Rooker: “You don’t think so?”
PopCultHQ: No. I didn’t feel like it was as bad for Merle.
Michael Rooker: “The abuse happened with both siblings, it’s just that we are all different people so it would affect you or I in a different way”
PopCultHQ: OK, I fully understand that way of looking at it then.
Michael Rooker: “If you noticed….I have blinked SEVERAL times since that (referring to TWD question from before) question was asked”
PopCultHQ: I know you get asked a lot of question about Guardians of the Galaxy and you have announced that you will also be in the sequel. How frigging annoying does it get having the same dumb questions asked of you over and over again when you are not even allowed to say much about it?
Michael Rooker: “Did you hear me with that other guy? (talking about an interview right before ours) I don’t even care how stupid they are. It’s almost as if I’ve never heard them before.”
(there was an awkward silence and stare)
Michael Rooker: “You believe that right?”
PopCultHQ: I don’t know….I really don’t think so.
Michael Rooker: “Ha! He doesn’t believe me!” (laughing)
PopCultHQ: Well I’ve seen you do other interviews in the past, before mine, and I have seen some interviewers ask some really horrible questions. I recall one time overhearing an interviewer ask you about Yondu’s fin in the comic books like they expected you to read the comic books also. I’m a comic book geek…..
PopCultHQ: …..I know why he has the fin…..
Michael Rooker: “Why didn’t I have the big fin in the movie like the comic book version. Why didn’t I?” (as he’s asking me the question now)
PopCultHQ: I think (James) Gunn did a fabulous job of changing it in the movie, to more of a add-on mechanical fin piece that lit up as Yondu would do his whistling to guide the arrow.
Michael Rooker: “You just danced right around that question…..you’re as good as I am at this!”
PopCultHQ: We understand how this works….
Michael Rooker: “…….That you really can’t say much.”
PopCultHQ: Yup, exactly!
PopCultHQ: I’ve also kept tabs on the new Mallrats sequel that you will be working on with Kevin Smith again.
Michael Rooker: “Do I have a script yet?”
PopCultHQ: That I’m not gonna speculate on (laughing) but Kevin has been extremely busy picking up the rest of the cast. I think he’s just down to trying to get Ben Affleck to do a cameo but you know as well as I do how impossible that will be right now. But we have seen Kevin pull off some crazy shit before.
Michael Rooker: “Good, that’s real good to hear”
PopCultHQ: So what’s the next role for you to play?
Michael Rooker: “‘The Belko Experiment.’ That is the current one that’s in post production now”
PopCultHQ: Awesome I will have to look out for that. I have to say, I was just watching you in “Jumpers” last night.
Michael Rooker: “You watch Jumpers?”
PopCultHQ: Oh yeah, I really like that movie.
Michael Rooker: “I got my curly hair in that one. That’s what happens when I let it grow out”
PopCultHQ: Yeah, I’ve seen it before, it’s a good look on you in your younger days. We (I pointing to my assistant Nate) just LOVE “Cliffhanger”!
(all of us laughing)
Michael Rooker: “Great interview.”
PopCultHQ: Well, thank you so much for that Sir, it was a blast as always!
Well the interview was more of a Rooker busting my balls session as you can see. While I was conducting the interview it felt like I was not doing a good job. Michael letting me know at the end that he had a fun time and it was a ‘great interview’ dissipated all my fears. There is more behind the scenes bloopers video of the interview that we will only share on our PopCultHQ Facebook page, so look out for that! Also be sure to catch Michael Rooker on-line at YouTube for the newest “The Driving Dead” webisodes and also check him out in his next movie “The Belko Experiment.”
‘The Belko Experiment’ is about a group of 83 American expatriates who work in a building in Sao Paulo, Brazil, find themselves trapped in their workplace; a voice emits over the speaker system, forcing them through a series of murderous moral decisions. Michael Rooker will next play ‘Bud Melks’ a security guard at the building the movie takes place in. This will be the 4th movie Rooker and writer James Gunn have collaborated on after Slither (2006), Super (2010) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
Michael Rooker is a native of Chicago where he grew up doing stage acting. Rooker has many numerous film and TV credits that include: Eight Men Out, Slither, Days of Thunder and The Untouchables.