Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Nearly two months into production, Fast and Furious 9 has cast Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy) as a new character named Buddy. Rooker is best known for playing Yondu Udonta, the blue-skinned leader of the Ravagers and a paternal figure to Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy. Rooker joins fellow franchise newcomers John Cena, Finn Cole, Anna Sawai, Vinnie Bennett, and Francis Ngannou — all in undisclosed roles — and the existing Fast and Furious 9 cast of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Charlize Theron, and Helen Mirren.
Deadline first brought word of Rooker's casting as Buddy in Fast and Furious 9, terming it “a last-minute addition” to the next entry in the long-running franchise, which will do without Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, who starred in their own spin-off, Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw, released earlier in August. With franchise veteran Justin Lin as director, working off a script by newcomer Daniel Casey (Kin), Fast and Furious 9 has been filming in London, with production also expected to spend time in Los Angeles in the US, Krabi, Ko Pha-ngan, and Phuket in Thailand, and capital city of Tbilisi in Georgia over the coming months.
In addition to the two Guardians of the Galaxy films, Rooker is known for starring as Merle Dixon for three seasons in AMC's long-running zombie horror TV series The Walking Dead. His credits include the 1986 psychological horror Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, the 1989 neo-noir thriller Sea of Love, the 1990 sports action drama Days of Thunder, the 1991 political thriller JFK, the 1993 action adventure Cliffhanger, and the 1995 buddy rom-com Mallrats. In 2020, apart from Fast and Furious 9, Rooker will also be seen in the supernatural horror Fantasy Island, and the post-apocalyptic comedy Monster Problems.
Fast and Furious 9 drives into theatres May 22, 2020 in India and across the world.