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In the spring of last year, your writer visited the Atlanta set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (out May 5) and at one point ran across Michael Rooker, who plays the alien Ravager Yondu, in the parking lot of the studio complex. The Walking Dead and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer star wasn’t shooting that day — indeed, no one seemed to know quite why he was on the premises — but the actor agreed to be interviewed for EW. While Rooker proved to be almost entirely uninformative on the subject of James Gunn’s superhero sequel, he was entertaining, hilarious company. Below, you will find edited highlights of our conversation, which began with Rooker beckoning EW over to take a look at his car, a Dodge Charger…
MICHAEL ROOKER: Come over here in the shade!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay.
[Indicates the car’s open trunk] We gonna talk about how this won’t even fit a full body? Can’t even fit a full body in this. I like a Lincoln. That’s a three-body trunk!
You could fit a body in there.
You’ve got to chop it up, first!
How is the ongoing fake feud between yourself and James Gunn? Who’s winning?
Oh, there’s no feud at all. It’s an ongoing debate as to who has a handsomer reflection in the mirror. It’s obvious. I mean, right?
How is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 going?
It’s going well. Let me turn this car off, so we don’t have to smell the fumes. [Turns car engine off] That’s better. What else do you want to know?
Well, tell me just one thing your character is up to in this movie.
I’m blue. [Long pause] I have a mohawk. I’m blue. I have a wardrobe. I look cool. [Laughs] I’m up to about the same thing that I was up to in the first one. Little bit of no good.
The first film was such a huge success…
[Laughs] Oh, yeah, it was.
…was there a specific moment during the movie’s production when you thought, We might really have something here.
As soon as they cast me, I realized it could be something. I mean, I looked at the cast and I was like, “Meh, okay.” And then they cast me and I said, “Ah, okay! Could be something! Could be a movie!” [Laughs]
Have you shot scenes with Kurt Russell?
What about him? I did Tombstone with Kurt. Yeah. Had a lot of scenes with Kurt there in Tombstone. Actually, no, I didn’t have a lot of scenes with Kurt. A few. I had a few. Threw down my sash, you know.
Have you had the opportunity to catch up with him?
I heard he was in town.
I’m not trying to trick you. I know he’s in the film.
I don’t care what you say. What else do you want to know? [Laughs]
I want to know the same thing I did when I started.
Oh, Kurt’s awesome, actually.
So, tell me about Yondu’s mohawk.
What about it?
What’s it made of?
I have a mohawk. Oh god, I don’t know what it’s made of.
And why do you have a mohawk?
Why not? I had one last time.
But isn’t it bigger?
It’s bigger? Because my ego’s bigger. I’ve got a bigger head this time around, that’s why my mohawk’s bigger. You got a problem with it?
How long does it take for your makeup to be applied on this one?
I think it’s just under two hours.
Karen Gillan was saying that she is still at around four hours.
Nah. She’s not really. They like everyone to think that there’s more to it. They shaved time off.
Do a lot more kids know who you are now, because of Guardians of the Galaxy?
I was having a brunch, and there was a wedding party coming in, and there was a 5-, 6-year-old kid. I didn’t notice that he was staring at me all this time. The waitress came over and said, “The little kid over in the corner, he said, ‘That’s Yondu, dad!'” I looked over, and he was looking, and he looked away really fast. He was so shy. I went over and took pictures with him. He noticed me as Yondu. Hopefully he didn’t watch the Walking Dead, or anything. So, that was very cool. The kids, the little ones, they love Yondu, man. Gunn’s nephew, Yondu’s his favorite character.
Would you say the cast has changed since the first Guardians film?
I think a couple of them have gotten fatter, don’t you think? Yeah. You know, they made a little money on the first one so they ate a little too much. But they’re looking good, though. Everybody’s looking good.
Well, you’re looking in great shape.
Did you work out for this?
I almost don’t have to work out at all. This is all natural. I actually was working out quite a lot, and we did this little test, and my resting metabolism is very high, so I really don’t have to do a lot to lose weight. So, I lost a bit and then I just maintain. I tell you what, I could eat one meal, three thousand calories, easily. I could consume, really, truly — here, let me show you something. I’ll show you how good I’ve been! [Retrieves a cardboard box from the car] I just had lunch and look at this pork chop that I ordered. [Rooker opens box to reveal a cartoonishly huge, half-eaten chop]
Oh my god! You’re joking! They can’t have been serving chops that large, surely?
I went to a place called Manchester’s Grill and Pub or something over in College Park. There’s no way I could eat it. They brought it to my plate and I’m like, ‘Whaaat‘? I’ll keep it here just to tease you a little bit.
The way you’re looking at me, I get the impression you want to wrestle me, for some reason.
Yeah, I mean, I do that [to people]. It’s like totally — that’s the look! That’s why I have to be careful. Walking down the street, people get that from me, and I don’t know why. I mean, either they walk across the street, or I have to walk across the street, because I can tell they really want to get into it.
You were looking me up and down like a man who was thinking, I could totally take this guy.
[Laughs] Totally. I look at everybody that way. I go into a restaurant, I always make sure that I could take everyone in the restaurant.
Or you leave?
[Laughs] Oh my god! How funny. How funny. Oh, I am so non-violent, yeah. So, what else do you want to know?
I think I’m pretty much out of questions at this juncture.
That’s it, right? We did good!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is released May 5.