Hollywood’s Tough Guy, Michael Rooker

Photo Courtesy of Michael Rooker
Photo Courtesy of Michael Rooker

By Chris Cocoles

Even if you don’t know recognize the name, Michael Rooker, I guarantee you if you’re a movie fan, you’ve seen him on the big and small screen. From Days of Thunder to The Walking DeadRooker personifies the go-to guy for rough around the edges character actors. Rooker is our cover story for our just released March issue of California Sportsman that’s now available. Here’s a sneak preview of Western Shooting editor Rachel Alexander’s Q&A with the likable and approachable Rooker:

C.S. What kind of guns do you shoot on The Walking Dead?

M.R. I carry a 1911 and M16 on the show. I have two knives. I shoot whatever is available.

 C.S. What are your favorite guns?

 M.R. Benelli is one of my favorites; I have a shotgun and love it. I have a 1911. I like those. I have a government Model 1911; they’re not usually that accurate. My gun is a single stack and a .45. If I were in a competition, then I’d have to shoot a 9mm. That sport is all about speed. I really want to shoot my old classic guns. But everyone warns me, “don’t shoot them, you’ll lose 50 percent of the value the first time you pull the trigger back.” They’re the most gorgeous guns, my single-action Colt .45.

 C.S. I hear you take cast mates out shooting to help train them for the role. What’s that like?

M.R. Whenever somebody needs help, I’m always game to take him or her out. I have a small number of places that I like to shoot. I usually take people to outdoor shooting ranges like Angeles Shooting Range in Los Angeles County, which is only two minutes from my house. 

 C.S. You are always flipping people off, but I understand it’s part of the F Word campaign to stop bullying. How did you get involved with that?

 M.R. They wanted to change a negative to a positive. They wanted to get a lot of celebrities, actors and high-profile folks in the entertainment business to join in and help these kids that get bullied a lot to understand that they can change that around. They don’t have to be the victim anymore. They can use the image of the finger – the bird – as a metaphor, as something positive to change attitudes towards that gesture.