EXCLUSIVE Interview With Michael Rooker From GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Rooker ("The Walking Dead"), who played Yondu in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. Yondu, was the blue-skinned Ravager that abducted a young Peter Quill from Earth and became his surrogate father. Come listen to what he had to say.

CBM: It is revealed at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy that Yondu was supposed to deliver a young Peter Quill to his father. Is there any chance that will be brought up in the sequel?
MICHAEL ROOKER: Well, you know what, I'm not sure what the path will be in the second one. Hopefully, they'll expand on Yondu a bit more and we'll find out. It'll be an interesting surprise to all of us as what is going to happen.

CBM: In the past, you've mentioned that you like working with James Gunn because he provides "good comments." Did he provide any "good comments" to make that memorable scene between Yondu and the Broker special?
ROOKER: Yeah, he would say, "Blah, blah, blah." He would want me to say, "Blah, blah, blah" and then I would say [Yondu gibberish]. And then he would say something else and I would interpret it and so forth. That whole scene was sort of improvised at the moment. Especially when I kept interrupting him. And then he would let me go off on my own and I kept it rolling and rolling. It ended up being quite a special experience for me.

CBM: A film like Guardians of the Galaxy is heavily storyboarded. Do you look at the storyboards before doing a scene?
ROOKER: I've looked at storyboards in the past, but I don't necessarily need storyboards. Sometimes we use them when there is a very big action sequence. 

CBM: Was it easy to transition from Merle Dixon on The Walking Dead to Yondu?
ROOKER: It was a very easy transition as I had quite a long break when I ended up leaving the series. I had a good amount of time to start developing Yondu. Yondu has some very interesting elements that are similar to Merle Dixon in some ways, but a very, very different character to him. And extremely challenging and fun. I had a great time doing it.

CBM: The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack has gotten a lot of attention, which song would you like James Gunn to use in the sequel?
ROOKER: Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga Ooga-Chaka (Blue Swede's "Hooked On A Feeling"). I love that! That's the one I like.

CBM: Yondu's makeup and wardrobe took six hours to get you camera-ready. What do you do to occupy your time during that process?
ROOKER: Sleep. I have a very special makeup artist that pulls my ears and picks my head up (chuckles). No. I usually reflect on the day. I use it as preparation time and a relaxing time to get ready for the day. It really didn't take six, it was more like five hours or so. It was still a good amount of time.

CBM: Yondu and Merle aren't the friendliest guys but for some reason they're likable. Why is that? Why can you play someone a little rough around the edges, yet the audience never hates them?
ROOKER: Hmm, You know what, that's a trade secret. (chuckles) There's something about both of these characters that have that inner core that allows for something to get in. That commitment, for Merle to his brother is that connection. For Yondu, it's also still that commitment to that Earth kid that now calls himself Star-Lord. He raised him as his own. He really cares for him. He cares so much for him. He gives him advice as much as he can to give him, in his short human life, so that he can survive in a very alien environment. Where other creatures want to eat him. Those connections are very strong and I think fans connect to that. For me, I'm not sure what makes that absolutely work.

CBM: Did you provide any advice for James Gunn now that he has become popular? He's an A-list director now.
ROOKER: Yes, and as well he should be. He's quite talented and he's a great friend of mine. I'm very proud of him. He knows his business. The good ones have the ability to connect with actors on a personal level, so you get a real good connection. He's quite good at that. I've been enjoying working with James for a long time now and hopefully for many years to come.                   

At the 8:25 mark I asked Michael Rooker about working on Days of Thunder. It is a racing car film from 1990 that starred Tom Cruise as 'Cole Trickle', and Rooker played Cole's first rival and eventual friend, 'Rowdy Burns.' Rooker's character is actually modeled after legendary race car driver Dale Earnhardt. If you're a fan as well, I would suggest you listen to the audio above as Rooker reveals that he is providing commentary on a new NASCAR documentary about Earnhardt.

Guardians of the Galaxy DVD & Blu-Ray Combo Pack arrives in stores on December 9, 2014!
From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team—the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel's “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy's fate in the balance.

Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Commander Rael and Benicio del Toro as The Collector. James Gunn is the director and the story is by Nicole Perlman and James Gunn, with screenplay by James Gunn.
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