Interviewing cast and directors during press junkets usually follows the same formula: You get 10 minutes with the actor or actress (until some stressed-out but well-meaning PR rep shoos you out the door), you sit down, you chat, you have a general list of questions you want to ask. Usually, the people you interview have heard the same questions 500 times already and have pat, neutral answers ready to go. Sometimes, they go off-script and it gets interesting.
And sometimes, Michael Rooker happens.
That's pretty much when you throw all your prepared questions out the window and just hope you don't say anything too incriminating.
When I walked into the conference room where Rooker was camped out for the majority of the [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073) press day here in Los Angeles, he was getting an iced coffee delivered to him. Noticing the plethora of flavored creamers the PR lady had thoughtfully supplied, he was thrilled. "Oh shit! Look at that!" he exclaimed as I pulled out my phone and hit the record button.
Suddenly, he turned to another assistant in the room: "Did you figure that out yet?" he asked, pointing to a phone in her hand. Without waiting for an answer, he was back to the creamers.
"Seriously, look at all those! Wait, what is this?" he asked, pointing to a small pot of something that looked like honey. The assistant looked up, still trying to show him his phone.
"I think it's liquid sweetener. It apparently mixes better with iced coffee."
"No kidding? Huh." He waved the creamer container at me. "She's trying to figure out my phone for me. I don't know how to do all that stuff. Are you disappointed in my phone?"
She flipped it around to show him. "No, I figured it out," she said showing him something on Twitter.
He turned back to me. "Most people would be disappointed in my phone. There ain't no nekkid pictures on it!"
The publicist looked up in alarm, "NO! That's okay."
I, however, am not a publicist and found this hilarious, so I egged him on: "What's wrong with you, man? You need to get on this!"
"You're right! I need to get some porn on my damn phone!"
"Seriously. What's the point of a smart phone without porn?"
...I still hadn't introduced myself yet or asked my first question.
"Oh man, but there ARE baby pictures! Do you see her? That's my granddaughter!"
The PR rep handed him back his phone. "See? I told you!" She turned to me apologetically. "Sorry, we just got the new Yondu poster and I was trying to show him how to update his Twitter profile and cover image - sorry! Sorry. I'll let you start."
"Oh yeah!" he exclaimed. "Sorry, I get sidetracked a lot. Hi!"
I laughed. "Hi back! I'm Alisha. It's great to meet you."
And finally, we got down to it.
Holy crap, I love the movie. It was so much fun! Would you say this was the most fun you’ve had doing a movie?
Totally! Oh my gosh, yeah! I had a lot of fun in Days of Thunder, in 8 Men Out – you get to play baseball, and drive race cars. I just have fun I whatever I do. Why do it if you’re not going to have fun? So, I know I’m going to have fun; it's just about what I’m going to have fun doing. I have fun killing people, throwing them out windows. [pantomimes tossing someone] “Oh my Gooood, that was so much fun! Did you hurt yourself?” I just have fun doing it and this is no exception, and now I get to have fun with my friends. You know, James Gunn, he’s my buddy – we’re tight. I just had a grand time; I had a beautiful time with it.
The sets and scenery were just amazing! You even got your own ship. What did that feel like when you walked onto the set of that?
The ship dictated a lot of stuff too, the fin thing for Yondu - we had to cut it down. It was cool, my God, I get my own space ship! Then I have not only my own spaceship, but my own fighter spaceship that comes out of the big ship’s belly. I fight aliens in it and it’s all crazy good!
I couldn’t imagine walking on set and not feeling like I was in a big toy store full of things to play with.
All of these things are all practical, hon. You get to go in them and sit in them! They turn on the hydraulics and you’re in this ship that is going in, and diving – it’s going up, and turning. [Note: He's delightfully acting this out the entire time.]
Even with green screen we had practical lodgings, and rocks, and boulders. It was a good combination between green screen and real practical stuff. And everybody’s wardrobe and make up was all practical, it was all done.
There were a crazy amount of practical effects in this movie. What was the makeup process like for you?
Yeah, the make up was like three hours total. An hour and a half here, break for a meal, another hour and a half. Then I’d do wardrobe, which was another hour to an hour and a half – whatever. Then I was ready. It took about 5 hours total before I was camera ready.
Oh man, the costumes... They were amazing.
Dude, the costumes! I was like multilayered! I looked good! The whole duster thing, with the sleeveless duster - it was all very badass. I looked like a badass, right? It was awesome.
Definite badass. I have to ask, the whole scene with the trinkets you keep on your dashboard, did you take any of them?
Oh, weren’t those awesome? [leaning in and whispering conspiratorially] I have the frog. The little froggy with the eyes that follow you.
I figured! I was like, “I bet he stole one of those and kept it.” That’s awesome.
[Laughing] It was a gift! James Gunn gave it to me. He goes, “I have something for you, but don’t tell anyone.”
I would have gone for the duster. I would have kept that.
[Laughing again] That was a little harder to take out.
“What do you have under your shirt?” “Uh, nothing?”
“What do you have under your English Rain jacket, Rooker? It looks a little bulky.”
“Oh, I just gained weight. I’ve been bulking up for the movie. You know... no big deal.”
You can check out Michael Rooker's duster - AND the blue frog - in [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073) out in theaters now.