‘The Walking Dead’ to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

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First Posted: 5/12/2015

Ask anyone at Philly’s Comic Con about Michael Rooker and they will rave about him.

Wizard World PR Manager Jerry Milani said Rooker is “ebullient” when meeting fans and gladly grants interviews and photo ops. “The Walking Dead” (Merle Dixon) and “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Yondu) star has acted since the mid ’80s, but these days, is most recognized for his role in “The Walking Dead.”

Funny, gracious and enthusiastic, Rooker was a blast to interview.

Weekender: I did not know that you were in “Mallrats.” That’s not even a question. I’m just blown away because it’s one of my favorite movies. I did not know that was you.

Michael Rooker: I have the same haircut.

W: I just didn’t connect it but now I see it. The voice.

MR: Oh yeah.

W: They’re supposed to be doing another “Mallrats.” Are you involved?

MR: That’s what I hear.

W: Really? OK.

MR: Yeah, yeah, yeah..

W: So, you’ve been here at Comic Con all weekend. I hear you’re making friends with people. What brings you back? What’s the draw to coming to these cons?

MR: (points out at the convention center). All the people. Look at all the people. Yeah yeah yeah, it’s awesome.

W: What do you like most about interacting with them. What do they bring to the table?

MR: Sometimes they bring me alcoholic beverages. No, I’m teasing. No, you know, well it’s great. You get get a chance to meet the fans who actually paid money to go see your movies so it’s very cool. It’s a cool thing.

W: You were just in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” How does it feel to be in the Marvel Universe.

MR: Pretty cool. Well, yeah, and we’re doing another one too, so yeah.

W: I have to tell you again, I recognized your voice before your face in Guardians.

MR: You didn’t even recognize me from “The Walking Dead?” What the…

W: So when you played Merle on “The Walking Dead” you really ran the gamut from being initially villainous to becoming a hero in the end.

MR: Well you know, you always hope that you have an opportunity to do that or at least change a little bit in some of these roles and Merle was a great role to do for me. It was awesome and challenging and I got to work with a lot of good actors.

W: My editor wants to know what it was like being Daryl Dixon’s big brother?

MR: Your editor needs to find out from Mr. Norman Reedus what it was like working with Michael Rooker and what it was like being Michael Rooker’s little brother.

W: I will pass that on. What makes Michael Rooker cry?

MR: (laughs). Nothing.

W: Of course not, you’re too badass for that, right?

MR: (laughing) You guys are awesome. Thank you for that.

W: I should ask this, what makes Michael Rooker nerd out? What’s your geeky thing?

MR: You know what, I’m a big Marvel fan. I’ve been reading their comics for a long time. So what makes me nerd out is like look at the last few years, what’s been going on. The movies that are making money are all from comics. I’m a happy camper. I love it, I love it.

W: Did you read “Guardians of the Galaxy?”

MR: Oh the comics? Yes. Oh I knew the comics, yeah.

W: That’s so cool that you got the role and you were into the comics.

MR: It was awesome. Yeah, I was forced into the role. James Gunn, trust me, he wrote the role for me. So there’s no way I was gonna not do this role and well, there was no way I wouldn’t do the role anyway even if it hadn’t been James Gunn writing it so it was a great opportunity.

W: How many hours of makeup did it take?

MR: Not much. Four hours, four and a half.

W: I love when people say that. It seems insane to me, sitting there for that long.

MR: Well “Slither” was seven and a half hours.

By the end of the interview, the line to meet Rooker kept getting longer. Clearly, he is a star who greatly appreciates his fans and would spend all weekend interacting with them with the same energy and enthusiasm as he did on the first day.