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Interview with Michael Rooker

This is certainly worth a read. A little while back, The Edge of the Frame, on behalf of The DePaulia, got a chance to interview actor Michael Rooker at the James Hotel. He was in town on a press tour for his new film “Super,” which he co-stars with Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page and Kevin Bacon.

Rooker is both one of the most iconic, while at the same time, under-appreciated actors of his generation. If you enjoy movies and see them fervently, it’s almost guaranteed that you have seen him in a role at some point in the last twenty-five years. He is one of those actors who barely ever headlines, yet always delivers a memorable performance.

To refresh some folks’ memories, he got his start right here in Chicago playing the title role in John McNaughton’s influential and disturbing “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.” Since then, he has hammered out loads of fantastic supporting performances. Certain standouts include racer Rowdy Burns in “Days of Thunder,” the brutal racist Frank Bailey in “Mississippi Burning,” the courageous lawyer Bill Broussard in “JFK” and the infamous chocolate-covered pretzel-eating Svenning in “Mallrats.” Aside from “Super,” most recently Michael has appeared on the AMC TV series “The Walking Dead.”

A great interview subject, Rooker discusses working with director James Gunn, his life in Chicago, his favorite of films that he has worked on, and more. Here is a short excerpt:

DP: You worked with director James Gunn on “Slither.” How was it the second time around?

MR: Just as bad as the first time around [laughs]. He’s so demanding. He’s always telling me what to do [laughs]. He’s not the boss of me. He’ll learn.

DP: When did he first approach you about the film? I know it’s been in the makes for a while.

MR: It has been in the makes for a while. But this last time, it actually got cast and got done, of course. But the film was actually written ten years ago. So it’s gone through several casts and never got made. This time around, it just so happened that James’ ex-wife, Jenna Fisher, knew and worked with Rainn Wilson. So she showed the script to him and he loved it and that’s how the film finally got made. I’ve been friends with James since “Slither” and he eventually asked me if I wanted to do a role. He was a little embarrassed about asking me to do it since it was like three lines [laughs]. But, I mean, we all did it for nothing. We did it because we all knew each other and we’re all friends and wanted to make the movie.

Read the full interview over at the new DePaulia Online website. Afterwards, you just might feel the need to go back and truly notice this actor in some of his best works.

Here is the full INTERVIEW and below is a clip from “Mississippi Burning,” my favorite role by the actor. I apologize for the poor quality, but it was the only version of this scene that I could find. Enjoy.

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