Thursday, June 27, 2013

Michael Rooker and David Strathairn who played Chick Gandil and Eddie Cicotte respectively in the classic baseball film Eight Men Out caught up at Foley's New York for the film's 25th anniversary.  Michael Rooker is in town for Wizard World Comic Con NYC Experience this weekend while David explains he's here for Michael.  There's no better setting for these two to talk Eight Men Out and baseball then Foley's N.Y. where you're surrounded by sports memorabilia including signed and used baseballs, jerseys and bats.

The two talked about their love for baseball as the reason that they were attracted to take on their roles in the movie many years ago.  I asked them if they had any baseball background and who were the best player among the actors then.  I had mentioned prior that Charlie Sheen  was mentioned as being the best in articles I've read previously.  Both disputed this and brought up D. B. Sweeney (played Shoeless Joe Jackson) as the best player.  David remarking that Charlie had a great arm, but D. B. Sweeney had played professionally with the minor league team of the Minnesota Twins.

Michael Rooker spoked about how hard it must have been for those 1919 White Sox players to throw the game while trying not to look like they were intentionally doing so.  He pointed to the fact about how when he hitted, he would have had to choke up on the bat to intentionally hit the ball a certain way and how obvious it would've looked.

I asked the two to recount any funny stories they may have had while filming the movie years ago.  David shared about how in the outfield of the old Bush Stadium, there were ivies growing.  But they did not realize until much later after contact that they were poison ivy.

We also discussed about who their baseball icons were growing up.  For David it was Willie Mays, while Michael had difficulty coming up with just one name.  David helped him out by remarking since Michael was a White Sox fan growing up he was probably a big fan of Dick Allen among others.

Michael Rooker talked more about Eight Men out and how it stands well even against the modern baseball films of today like Money Ball and 42.  David had seen 42 and enjoyed it while Michael has yet to see it.  Michael remarked of particular with Eight Men Out what an amazing script and direction by John Sayles along with a great cast that he got to work with is what in particular makes Eight Men Out such a great film still.  I asked the two gentlemen if they were able to do another baseball film, what story or player would they like it to be on.  They both remarked that there are so many good possibilities and Michael in particular mentioned especially tragic stories in baseball.

I ended the interview remarking to Michael how much similarities there are between his Chick character in Eight Men Out and Merle in The Walking Dead.  Laughing, he replied sure, both Chick and Merle will smack you upside your head first at the slightest provocation.

As mentioned before, you can have a chance to meet Michael Rooker this weekend 6/28-6/30 at Wizard World Comic Con NYC Experience.  Eight Men Out is available video on demand through Amazon (Free for Prime members), as well on DVD.

(Photographer: Wai Yu)

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