Here’s Why Tom Cruise Owes His Fame to Michael Rooker (Opinion)
The year was 1990. The greatest NASCAR movie of all time, Days of Thunder, had just been released. I will never forget the moment I saw Rowdy Burns (played by none other than the incredible Michael Rooker) ripping Daytona Speedway a new one in his slick, black, number 51 Exxon Chevrolet. The way he effortlessly climbed out of that car said, "yeah baby, I know it."
That's when small time open-wheel and ASA driver Cole Trickle (played by Tom Cruise) had the gall to interrupt this moment of horsepower induced glory by riding his stupid motorcycle (gasp) onto the tarmac. Did Rowdy get sideways and punch this upstart in the mouth for interfering with his speed mojo? No, that's not what champions do.
With a little gentle ribbing (and a pretty specific threat against Trickle's nether regions) Burns graciously allowed this grubby little upstart to plop his ungrateful rear into trusty 51. Had he not, Cole trickle would have been another go-kart driver with big dreams of going fast.
Sure the two become fast friends, but they didn't start that way. It was only through Burns benevolence (despite his disgust) that Cole was able to become the legend that he did.
Okay, so maybe Tom had a pretty successful career before this - but only if you count Risky Business, Taps, Top Gun, The Color of Money, Cocktail, and a few others. Barring those critical successes, he owes all of his laurels to the man who let him test his mettle that day at Daytona.
That scene for me will always be how I think of Michael Rooker, all of his characters have the same qualities. Never afraid of a fight, and always willing to help a fellow fighter out (even if he is a snot nosed brat from California that had only seen NASCAR on TV before).
You can meet the man that brought Yondu (Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol I & II), Merle Dixon (The Walking Dead), the mighty Rowdy Burns (Days of Thunder), and so many other incredible characters to life this weekend at Geek'd Con. If you don't have tickets, you better get them now. Click the button below to find out more and to grab your weekend passes! Then watch the scene chewing, speedway greatness below.