M&C Interview: Screen legend Mickey Rooney
By Ben Rhudy Apr 29, 2007, 16:33 GMT
Mickey Rooney - 74th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade - Hollywood Blvd. - Hollywood, CA © David Gabber / Photorazzi
Mickey Rooney, veteran film legend and Oscar nominated actor, has enjoyed a longer and more colorful career in Hollywood than many others in his generation claim. Breaking into the acting realm, Rooney worked in silent comedies throughout the late '20's and early '30's and eventually joined the family at MGM studios in 1934 as a child star.
Rooney hit the peak of his career during World War II, but was soon drafted into the United States military to aid in the overseas efforts. After returning to the states, he struggled to find work as a former child actor. In 1983, following 60 years as an actor, Rooney received the “Lifetime Achievement” Oscar for his many contributions to the realm of cinema. He is the only remaining performer in Hollywood who has acted in silent films, yet continues to find work today.
Rooney recently contributed his comedic prowess to the film Night at the Museum, starring Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino and Robin Williams, as one of three security guards who relinquish their duties at a natural history museum to a young, job-hungry applicant. Veteran actors Dick Van Dyke and Bill Cobbs fill in the other two spots in the trio.
Night at the Museum tells the story of Larry Daley, a divorced father who can't seem to keep a job for more than a week. Larry applies for a job at the Museum of Natural History, and is assigned as a night guard. However, a seemingly easy job turns out to be a wild ride when he finds that an ancient curse has caused the "inhabitants" of the museum to come to life.
Night at the Museum is presented in separate anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and fullscreen editions. A two-disc special edition is also available and is loaded with special features that include commentary, deleted scenes, “making of” featurettes, and a look at the film's bloopers.
Rooney took a few minutes to chat about his work on Night at the Museum and about his extensive history in the movie industry.
M&C: How are you today?
Rooney: Just fine, thanks.
M&C: What was it like working with all of the CGI in Night at the Museum?
Rooney: Like anything else I’ve worked on. It’s fun. Working with Ben Stiller, Dick Van Dyke, Robin Williams and Bill Cobbs.
M&C: What sort of roles do you look for these days?
Rooney: I don’t look for any roles. Anything that comes my way. I do the best I can.
M&C: What do think about DVD releases of films?
Rooney: Well, I think they’re very important. That’s just a part of business. It’s a great chance for the family to enjoy the picture.
M&C: Do you watch many DVD’s?
Rooney: No, we’re always too busy.
M&C: What was it like working on a film with so many different generations of actors?
Rooney: Same as anything else.
M&C: You guys had a lot of fun?
Rooney: Yeah, that’s the key.
M&C: Do you feel like the industry looks more to the future for important things, or more on the past?
Rooney: Well, I think the present is the most important time.
M&C: Is it still exciting for you to perform and act?
Rooney: Absolutely, we love it. That’s what I was born to do.
M&C: You spoken against big Hollywood business before…
Rooney: No, I haven’t.
M&C: You haven’t?
Rooney: No…everything about it is important. Every last bit. The sound men, camera men.
M&C: What are some things that make you laugh?
Rooney: [laughs] Don’t ask me that. Not much is all. When I did It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) with my friend Sid Caeser and Milton Burle…Buddy Hacket. Working with all those great performers; that, to me, was a fun day.
M&C: What’s next for you?
Rooney: Well, my wife Jan and I…we’re going to go over to Europe and put on some shows, and then we’re going to do a picture together. So we’ve got lots of things in the fire.
M&C: Thanks so much for taking the time out for this interview.
Rooney: It’s been a pleasure talking with you. Be sure to tell everyone to go out and get their DVD of Night at the Museum. You’ve been very nice, and Jan and I thank you.