Any true comic fan-boy knows that Lex Luthor is the true king of all bad guys, but in the world of television and ‘Smallville,” the only person that could take such a standard depiction of evil and turn him into a leveled, complex, and multi-layered anti-villain is the always incredible Michael Rosenbaum- a man who easily helped to redefine the superhero genre as a whole, making it safe to say that the former CW star is easily one of the best actors out there when it comes to live-action work. However, extraordinarily multitalented, the worshiped star is not just an actor, but also a singer, musician, podcaster and entrepreneur, consistently producing mountains of his own quality content across every outlet of media as he builds his own brand. Whether Rosenbaum is in front of the camera, on stage, or in a voice over booth, his influential voice and abilities shine through, and it’s easy to see why he’s had such a knack when it comes to dominating entertainment, always keeping one step ahead with the rapid changes that have come as technology and social media alter the scope of the industry.
A voiceover king whether it be for his podcast, video games, or cartoons, the hard-working star can do more with the spoken word than many actors can do on while being seen hours on screen. Wanting to throw himself into the work and make it the absolute best that it could be, Rosenbaum keeps his vocal chords primed, keeping his skills fresh by doing impressions of some of the great voices of this century, and with Christopher Walken, Keanu Reeves, and other amazing impersonations up his sleeve, it’s easy to see why the clever talent is such a pro at keeping the attention of audiences everywhere- and truthfully, utilizing his Walken impression for the role of Ghoul on “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” was nothing short of a stroke of genius.
No stranger or newbie to loaning his pipes to the cartoon world, Rosenbaum has been doing it for most of his career, using the medium to only further perfect his acting skills. Knowing what a role will call for and what tone is needed is what the versatile actor is known for, and it’s no different for voice-overs. As the lead of the video game “Yakuza” may require the celebrated actor to be more serious, games like “Batman: Arkham Knight,” and “Lego DC Super-Villains” call for a more comedic performance, and the skilled performer always understands the complex balance between the two, easily making him one of the most sought after talents when it comes to booking the voices behind our favorite toons.
And with shows like “Smallville” making its rounds on the streaming services and coming up on its 20th anniversary of when it began, Lex Luthor himself and his co-star Tom Welling are taking time at comic conventions to celebrate the notoriety they have received from the show, charitably giving back to the fans that made them. With no press, no cameras, and no filming, the highly revered stars are doing events at night after the conventions are over inviting small groups of fans out for what they call “Smallville Nights.” During one of these events, the actors impressively make fun games for the attendees- like a private reading of a script while they invite some of the crowd onto the stage to perform other roles, showing that the dedication and love of his character is not wasted on Rosenbaum. Constantly putting the fans first, the benevolent star seems to have no intentions of forgetting the show that made him a superstar, or the people that idolized him for it.
But while it may seem that the busy artist already has a ton on his plate between acting on screen, lending his voice to games and toons, and giving back to the fans, those endeavors barely scratch the surface of all Rosenbaum has his hand in. Recording two podcasts that air weekly and bi-weekly, “Inside of You” and “In Love with Michael Rosenbaum and Chris Sullivan” have already proven that the intuitive star knows how to cultivate a hit, with the personable host constantly aware of who might make a fantastic guest. Not just wanting his friends on his show, finding actors and celebs with interesting stories to tell has been yet another specialty for the savvy talent, with Rosenbaum utilizing his time with them as he skillfully gets them to open up for some of the best interviews out there. And again, true to form in putting fans first, what inspires the actor to continuously come back to the format is the letters he receives from listeners to tell him that his shows and interviews have made an impact on their lives.
And even with two podcasts under his belt, the “Sorority Boys” star still manages to take on even more. Growing up in Oceanside, NY one of the greatest things about the beloved performer’s childhood was to be able to synchronize a song to a moment in his life, and remember where he was and who he was with when he first heard it. When the incredibly talented podcaster hears the song “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago, he can pinpoint an exact moment in time when he went to his grandmother’s house on as a child- and clearly, that love for music has paid off and paved the way for the multitalented Long Island native to dabble in harmonies himself. With his band Left on Laurel, Rosenbaum and his fellow musicians have released a new album in October, and having already had a few great concerts overseas, the singer/actor is learning that music is an integral part of who he is as an artist and performer, with everything he listened to in the car while growing up serving as a precursor for the music he would go on to make as an adult.
An actor, podcaster, voice-over expert, musician, philanthropist, and all around bad-ass, it’s easy to see why Rosenbaum is conquering every facet of entertainment, and it’s also safe to say that even though he might have played the villain of the Superman story, we were right to idolize him for all those years as our personal superhero. With plenty on the way and even more in development from toons, to music, to live-action roles, WINGMAN sat down with the energized star and learned all about what he is currently working on, and what else he would love to do.
WINGMAN: You have two podcasts that come out weekly; “Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum,” and “In Love with Michael Rosenbaum and Chris Sullivan.” I know how much time it can take to edit one, so please tell me you have an editor of some sort.
MICHAEL ROSENBAUM: It’s kind of a machine, believe it or not. I wouldn’t be able to do it all myself, I would fall apart pretty quickly, so I surrounded myself with great people. I have a great editor, whose name is Mia, and she edits both “Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum,” and “In Love with Michael Rosenbaum and Chris Sullivan,” and is the engineer for “In Love.” We also have a guy named Ryan, who is my engineer- and you hear me talking to him during the show while we are doing the podcast. I also have a guy named Bryce who does a lot of my social media, and tries to get us out there for more visibility. So we have a whole team out there to get people to listen to it and discover it more, and it’s hard.
WINGMAN: What made you want to start one podcast, never mind two?
ROSENBAUM: I never thought that I would have a podcast. A friend told me that I should do it, and that he would take care of everything. So I started doing it, and it’s been tough, and it didn’t get easier for a while. As grateful and happy that I am to be doing the podcast, and how much I want to keep doing it, it’s not like I can sit back and do nothing. I have to get guests that I think would be interesting, or guests that I am capable of getting- guests that I really have to beg and plead in order to get bigger names on the podcast. It’s about building relationships, building trust, talking to their publicists, and having their client listen to a specific episode podcast, and then have them tell me they don’t want to do the podcast. It’s almost like an actor telling someone to watch a scene that they are did in a film to show their ability. My buddy Dax [Shepard] came on the podcast, and he loved it so much that he wanted to do it. Now he has one of the biggest podcasts in the world. People ask if I am pissed that he started a podcast, and of course I’m not upset. I wish some of his listeners would stay with me, sure, but I am happy for him. He asked if he could use my producer, and I said absolutely- because at that point we were just getting going and weren’t making money, and I told my producer that since he is supporting a family to go over to his podcast. Well, his podcast blew up and took off, so I told my producer to go with Dax, and that I would find someone new. It was a bit of a shitshow, but at times your ego is thinking “Fuck man, I have a great show, why aren’t as many people tuning in?” Then you have to reel yourself back in about your success, that your show is affecting people, and that’s it! Success isn’t based on how much money you make or how many downloads there are. It’s based on if you got any purpose out of it.
WINGMAN: One of my favorite guests that you have had was Kristin Kreuk- it was so insightful, and since you have known her since she was so young, it was fantastic fodder. What was your favorite part about that interview, and who has been your favorite guest so far?
ROSENBAUM: I have had some great guests. Some guests that were even greater, and for me, I like when I am surprised by a guest. And what I mean by that is; if I don’t know much about them, or they don’t know much about me, or don’t have much in common, and they are able to open up and give a piece of themselves, so much as to just be vulnerable or be open about something, at which they don’t realize the impact that they have on the people around the world that are listening. I get emails all the time, as well as tweets, and letters from people, and they tell me about their mental health issues, that they have lost someone in their family, or that they suffer from anxiety or depression, and it’s just a way to relate. We all have something, and that’s what makes us human. Everyone will say “Look at that guy, he’s got his shit together,” and he doesn’t. I just emailed with a friend that we thought had the perfect life , had everything going on, and I thought “I bet he is stressed out of his mind, doesn’t stop working,” and I just asked him if he wanted to be on the podcast [chuckles.] He told me that it was the third time I had asked him, and that he was too busy, and a little short with me. I had asked him three months ago to be on, but that’s fine. If you get short with someone so small, then you are stressed out about a lot of things. It’s relatability, like when people come up to me at conventions or on the street and remember me from my television and film projects. When they come up to me and say that my interview really helped them get through something- it makes my day. For Kristen’s interview, it was one of the first interviews that I did over the phone because she was up in Toronto or Montreal. It was a true test for me, because I am Facetiming, but at the same time, there isn’t that warm, right there sort of connection. We know each other, and we’re friends. I have always loved Kristen, and think she is an amazing human being. It was very dynamic, and she opened up about trying to enjoy “Smallville,” and her notoriety. She was very forthcoming and open about things which helps me as an interviewer, because the true test is when someone doesn’t want to talk about anything, so they keep changing the subject, and you are trying to get them back on track. People can see right through the bullshit when they are listening. If you listen to my conversation with Zachary Levi, Rainn Wilson, or Jenna Fischer- they all bring things that are very personal, and they are fantastic. Stephen Amell talks about his divorce, which he never talks about. We are actually doing another wine together for his company; Nocking Point Wine. Last year, Tom Welling and I had our own subscription wine called PureEvil, and it looks like we are going to be working with them again.
WINGMAN: Cartoons have been part of your work for quite some time, whether it be superheroes, “Jackie Chan Adventures” or “The Wild Thornberrys.” What is most exciting for you to be part of; a cartoon or video game?
ROSENBAUM: One of the most stressful things for an actor is to look good, put on makeup, know all of your lines, and with voice over you don’t have to do any of that. You just have to know the script, look the scenes over, and then you give a couple different versions of the role. If you have a good enough director like Andrea Romano who directed me in “Justice League,” then that’s really good. I like it because it’s very laid back, there isn’t as much pressure, and you can have fun. It’s like you are a kid in the candy store, doing voices that your mom hated! It’s just as hard as acting. Getting voiceover work is harder than getting work in acting. I must have gone in on five different animated Netflix series, and video games, and thought I kicked ass on them all! I think to myself, “Are they even listening to these tapes, because I thought I nailed that shit!?” It’s frustrating no matter what, and you have to learn to let it go. That is one thing that I have learned to do no matter if it’s a movie or a show, I throw my papers away and leave the audition there. I love voiceover work whether it be shows, movies, or games. Just to play these characters is like being a kid all over again.
WINGMAN: You’ve done So many different voices in a lot of projects. What has been your favorite, and why?
ROSENBAUM: There was this game “Yakuza,” where I was the lead voice in that- and I loved that. Being the voice of The Flash was pretty awesome, because he was the fun character and definitely the comedic relief. Doing “Jackie Chan’s Adventures” was so much fun, and we did eight episodes in one afternoon. I do some narration and was the narrator for a “Lord of the Rings” special a few years back, which was incredible. I loved doing characters in “Batman Beyond,” and when Bruce Timm who was a writer and producer on the show would tell me to do my Christopher Walken impression for a character.
WINGMAN: One project we loved was “Sorority Boys” with Barry Watson and Harland Williams. Was there ever any talk of a second one, like “Sorority Boys 2: House Moms”?
ROSENBAUM: Harland Williams, who played Roberta on the film, and I had an idea for a film, and since we aren’t doing it anymore, I can just tell you. Barry’s [Watson] character has a kid that’s in college now, and she is being harassed, and our characters start to get worried about if she would meet guys like us, so we go undercover at the college as sorority ladies to be their protectors. We sat down with the producer Jason and the writer Greg Coolidge- who wrote the first one. We thought that we would have a chance to do it, even if it was low budget- and if anyone is out there listening, all we need is a million bucks and we can make this movie [laughs.] There are times when you are beginning your career and think that things are beneath you and will only do certain projects. Now, I just want to have fun! What could be better than shooting “Sorority Boys 2” with Barry Watson, Harland Williams, and my friend Greg Coolidge? That is absolute fun, and I would totally do that for a month or two.
WINGMAN: From what I’ve read, you also like to sing and play music. What is your favorite style of music to play, and who were your inspirations?
ROSENBAUM: You can tell when you listen to my music that I am trapped in the 70’s. I love the 80’s, I love The Wallflowers, The Eagles, I love a little country, I am from southern Indiana. The lyrics and music that I write are about lost love and trying to get by, the good times, the good feelings. Songs like “Right Side of the Canyon” that I wrote is about two people that come out to California that can’t quite get it together, but are pretending that they do. That’s what people do; they pretend that they have their shit together and that we are in this continuous repeat stage. The right side of the canyon is where everyone wants to be on, and everybody always seems to be on the wrong side of the wrong things. It’s where I live, and I sing about The Canyon Country Store and buying spirits at The Canyon Country Store. Are the spirits the “American Spirits” cigarettes, or the spirits of Jim Morrison? When I think of songs and music, right away I have a vision. When you hear your favorite song, you think of whatever that song is. If you put on Chicago and I hear “If You Leave Me Now,” I remember getting off the Thirteen South freeway at the Southern State Parkway on Long Island Expressway and going to my grandma’s house. I close my eyes and see the black and white railing that takes you off the exit ramp, and I remember that song playing. If you think of a song, you can probably remember where you were, and who you were with. What inspires me is a song that has a melody, has a meaning, that you can listen to, and I think there is definitely some songs on this album that the band Left On Laurel made that people will feel good and just drive. I say it’s driving music because it’s a little bit beach rock with some Eagles, and Wallflowers all mixed in. People are really responding to it, and I am really proud of it. The guys in the band are Kent, Carl, Danson, Tom, and I – and we all worked really hard on this album. I can listen to mostly anything, except for most of today’s shit!
WINGMAN: One thing we love about you is your generosity and willingness to work with charities. Talk about the ones you work with most.
ROSENBAUM: I am really hands on with a couple of them, especially as of late after I had a life change. It’s one thing when you Venmo somebody $100 for a charity. But, it’s a big difference when you see firsthand the people that you are helping and it is more hands on. I joined this non-profit organization called Food on Foot which is one of the best nonprofits out there. It has an 85-90% success rate of getting homeless people food, a job, and an apartment. There is nothing better than helping the homeless, especially the ones that want a second chance at life. For me to go on a Sunday for three hours and meet these people, and see them making an effort to make it work, it makes a difference when you see people that want to have a second chance, a job, and a place to live. It’s really hard, so we really help them. Another charity is the Ronald McDonald House, which is all across the country, but it’s an unbelievable organization that houses children that are going to surgery, or are sick. Every Tuesday night I go over there and have a movie night. I brought over the movie “Casper,” some juice boxes, and my own popcorn popper, and I make fresh popcorn. These kids and their parents have become my friends, and I spend a couple of hours with them, making them laugh. As Billy Joel says, “To forget about life for a while.” Just being present, enjoying these kids, and listening to them has changed me a lot. The other charity I work with is ARM, which is the Animal Rescue Mission- they takes care of animals, especially with all of the wildfires and abused animals. They will go into the bad part of town if they hear that a dog has been hit by a car or something. There is also one called Echoes of Hope, and we work for foster youths, and it was started by Luc Robitaille, who is a Hall of Fame hockey player. We do a lot of events to give these kids a shot, especially when some kid is motivated, and to give them a support group like a family.
WINGMAN: “Smallville” has been over for 8 years, and it’s still at the forefront of everyone’s minds- as it should be. Talk about your “Smallville” nights that you and your friend an castmate Tom Welling have at comic cons.
ROSENBAUM: It’s funny, because Tom and I were always really cool. The closest friend I had on the show was Tom, even though we didn’t hang out all the time. People don’t understand that when you are working with someone for 14 hours a day, that the last person you want to see is that person. I spent more time on that set with that crew than with my family, which is true if you add up all of the hours. I went to Tom and told him that he needs to come and do these conventions because selfishly I thought we would have fun, and I would have more fun with him. I only do about eight conventions a year, and I finally got him to do it, and he could really see the impact on these fans of the show. At first, people will think that we are taking money from fans, and it’s completely not what it’s about. I am a fan, and go to these conventions on my own. I go to horror movie conventions to get autographs! When people go to these conventions, it is a vacation for them! They will save their money up so they can buy toys, go to panels, meet their favorite actors, get autographs. This is what they want to do! By going to these conventions, giving them your time, and paying attention and thanking them, it’s a gift for them, and for you. I went to Tom and said, “We do these panels, and they are fun and all, but what if we did something at night, like 7PM or 8PM, after the convention with a small group, and we do something with no cameras or filming, and do things that no one will ever see us do.” We did a few small cities just to try it out, and now we saw that it’s easy, it’s fun, and we see people loving it. Smallville Nights are a really special thing. I think we are really doing it because it is the 20th anniversary of when we started filming is next year.
A great actor, charitable, AND he gives back to the fans? That’s why Rosenbaum is the Baum!
You probably know Michael Rosenbaum from his days playing Lex Luthor on the TV show, Smallville. A role he played for nearly the entire run of the series. The Castle High School and Western Kentucky graduate has also worked on several other TV shows and movies both in front of and behind the camera. These days he’s hosting not one, but two podcasts, Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum and In Love which he co-hosts with Chris Sullivan, who plays Toby on NBC’s This is Us.
I’m a big fan of Inside of You, not only because of the guests Michael speaks to, which has included some of his former Smallville cast mates, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Jon Cryer, Macauley Caulkin, and more over its 85 episodes (and counting), but because of the discussions they have. It’s not all about their next project, or what they’re doing now, it’s about life. The home life they had growing up, both good and bad, and the mental struggles they deal with including anxiety, depression, and inadequacy just to name a few. Michael himself is also very open about his struggles during each episode and has said in many episodes the podcast has become like therapy for him. An opportunity to talk things out with others who have dealt with similar issues.
It’s real conversations about things everyone can relate to in some way, myself included. I rarely talk openly about this, but I often wrestle with many of the same issues as these celebrities. I watch as co-workers come up with really great ideas and wonder why I can’t do the same which quickly spirals into me thinking I suck at my job. I’ll sometimes wake up sweating in the middle of the night because my mind has created some wild, worrisome, work-related scenario that I have convinced myself will happen even though the chances of it playing out are slim to none. Through listening to the podcast, I’ve found comfort in the fact other people who, on the outside, give the appearance that they have it all together because they’re big Hollywood stars, are really no different than you and I, and it’s helped me deal with my own issues tremendously.
In our 30-plus minute conversation, Michael and I also talked about his new band, Left on Laurel, in which he serves as rhythm guitarist and lead singer. They recently released their debut album, Saved by the Ground, featuring 10 tracks whose sound I can best describe as mostly rock with a hint of country, not only in the style, but the stories each song tells.
Check out the full conversation in the player on the website link below. And be sure to check out Michael’s podcasts pretty much anywhere podcasts are available, including the Inside of You website. AND, don’t forget to give Saved by the Ground a listen wherever you stream music, or download it through the Inside of You store.Source: wkdq.com – Castle Grad Actor Michael Rosenbaum Talks Podcasts and New Band
Exclusive Interview: Michael Rosenbaum Talks Left on Laurel: New Album, Touring, Musical Inspirations and More!
With the exciting release of Left on Laurel‘s album Saved by the Ground today, we have a new interview with Michael Rosenbaum to bring to you! Left on Laurel, which consists of Michael Rosenbaum, Tom Lally, Rob Danson, Carl McDowell and Kent Irwin, describe themselves as having music that has “Beach rock/Americana/California vibes.” They’re ready to rock with their new album full of melodic, catchy tunes.
We asked Michael about the new album, touring, and working with producer Jason Manns … as well as asking him about his favorite dad joke. Read the interview with Michael below!
Nerds and Beyond: Let’s talk about the new album, Saved by the Ground which will be released on October 4. Where will we be able to buy it?
Michael Rosenbaum: You can order it now on iTunes. Available on all platforms October 4, with 10 songs on the debut album. This is all very exciting. Most of us in the group have never really recorded music before so it’s been a challenging and an incredibly fulfilling process. We are also doing a limited release on Vinyl. [check out the merch store here.] I think we want to do a hundred numbered albums autographed. We will see. But follow us online for more details. @leftonlaurel. And we’re all on the social. I think you sort of have to be, no?
Nerds and Beyond: How did you and Tom, Carl, Rob and Kent meet?
Rosenbaum: Tom and I grew up a few houses away from each other in the small town of Newburgh, Indiana. He was popular. I wasn’t. But we became close, mostly after high school. I’ve known him thirty-five years and we roomed together all through college. Kent and I met twenty years ago through our friend Jay Ferguson (Mad Men). Jay and I did a failed pilot together. Pete Segal (Tommy Boy) directed it. He promised to put me in a movie if I did the role. I still haven’t heard from him. 🙂 Anyway, Kent, Jay and I used play Bond on Nintendo at my house with Leonardo DiCaprio. Yeah. I just name dropped. Had to make this article more interesting. Carl and I met playing flag football. I was playing with some friends, he wandered over and we’ve been tiggity tight ever since. Danson was dating a girl who used to hang out with a group of us. He was a talented musician and such a nice guy that I was drawn to him. He eventually scored three projects I worked on. Ghild, a short that we created that went to some festivals; Fade Into You, a horror short I directed; and Back in the Day, a feature I directed and starred in with Morena Baccarin and Nick Swardson.
Nerds and Beyond: What fan-favorite songs will appear on the album?
Rosenbaum: Well, most folks haven’t heard of us but we are hoping we get a few more after the album is released. I think “Beautiful Mess”, “Let’s go for a Ride” and “My Everything” are really solid tunes, but I’m proud of the entire album.
They boys and I put a lot of heart into this. We aren’t making any money from this whole process but with the help of fans and doing Stage-its (live acoustic shows) we’ve been able to maybe break even on paying for the album.
Nerds and Beyond: What was it like working with Jason Manns?
Rosenbaum: The most chill, down to earth, talented and best looking dude I know. Haha. He’s a mensch. Such a consummate professional and so patient with us. We were all nervous and still are about playing, but Jason has a way of calming us and making us feel like we are here for a reason. He also really believes in us and actually loves our music. He’s a fan and that’s just an amazing feeling. I love him and owe him a lot. This was just a bucket list sort of thing and now it’s become a little more than that.
Nerds and Beyond: Who are your musical inspirations?
Rosenbaum: I love Chicago, The Eagles, The Wallflowers, Yacht Rock and pretty much everything in the 70s and 80s. Even a touch of the 90s. Like Gin Blossums shit. Kent loves Phish and jam band stuff. Carl loves him some Pearl Jam and The Doors. Lally loves the 70s and 80s as well and Danson loves Nick Cave, the Pixies and a bunch of other stuff I’ve never heard of. I mean I like everything these guys like except the jam band stuff. I always kid around with them that to be a jam band, they actually have to know what chords the other guys in the band are playing. But Phish is unreal. No denying that. I just can’t see them 100 times.
Nerds and Beyond: What has been your favorite venue to perform at/what is your dream venue?
Rosenbaum: Again, it’s all very new to us. I loved the Troubadour. That was our first show. Can you freaking believe it? It’s just so legendary. We couldn’t believe we were actually playing there. Do you know who played there? Elton, The Eagles, Rondstadt, Carol King, James Taylor, etc, etc, etc. Also touring in Germany has been life changing. This will be our third year in a row there and we’ve actually become friends with a lot of our fans. I think that’s just the style of the band and maybe part of the reason folks are liking us. For the most part, we’re just a few dudes having fun and making the music we love and I think that can be a little contagious.
Nerds and Beyond: What was the best/most challenging part of recording?
Rosenbaum: Everyone has an opinion and an ego. And sometimes it’s not fun and very stressful. But we manage to come together in the end. Put it this way… I’ve never raised my voice with Kent, our drummer, in the twenty years I’ve known him. Not once. But when we starting working together in the band… I definitely lost my shit a hand full of times. But we always work it out. Right away. That’s what’s amazing. I do love the guy.
Nerds and Beyond: Any plans for a tour?
Rosenbaum: If the album is received well and we feel that people really want to hear us and come out to see us play, I will certainly consider it. And If Danson can get out of work.
Nerds and Beyond: As a fun conclusion, what is your favorite dad joke?
Rosenbaum: What did one ocean say to the other ocean? Nothing, he just waved. I mean … you wanted a dad joke.
Make sure to check out Left on Laurel’s album Saved by the Ground which is out now! They also have some exciting merch like vinyl, shirts, hats and more that you can see here. You can listen to the album on Spotify, Amazon, and Apple Music.
(Special thanks to our previous staff member, Finn!)
The ‘Smallville’ alum opens up about auditioning to play Star-Lord and the rather crass autograph the ‘Star Wars’ star once gave him.
After cementing himself as DC comic book royalty on the small screen, Michael Rosenbaum has shifted to Marvel with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
The Indiana-raised actor played Lex Luthor for seven seasons on TV’s Smallville and has earned fan acclaim for voicing The Flash in DC animated properties. This month, he returns to his comic roots as Martinex, an associate of Sylvester Stallone’s Ravager character Stakar. It’s a homecoming of sorts, as Rosenbaum — whose podcast Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum launches in June — auditioned for friend and director James Gunn for the role of Star-Lord in the original Guardians.
In a conversation with Heat Vision, Rosenbaum opens up about reading for the role that ultimately went to Chris Pratt, his Smallville years and his surprising friendship with the late Carrie Fisher.
Marvel and Disney are known for their secrecy. When you landed the role of Martinex, how much of the script did they share?
I got the whole script. It was watermarked with my name. I knew Yondu [Michael Rooker] died before we shot it … I was sitting at the premiere with Michael Rooker and I could tell he was choking up at the end … it really says something when a man can get emotional about his own work.
You’ve written and sold several projects. If you could write something for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, what would it be?
I’d love to write Power Pack. It came out in the ’80s … these young siblings get powers from an alien race right as their dad builds this planet-destroying weapon, which another alien race wants. It’s got that Spielberg/Stranger Things vibe. I could really take that concept and make it fresh.
You worked with Sylvester Stallone on Guardians 2. What was your favorite moment with him?
I love James’ [Gunn] taste in music, but he hates a lot of the ’80s shit that I like. I remember belting out this really obscure ’80s song and suddenly Stallone joins in … I look over at James and he’s just staring at me with this “f— you” look on his face.
You auditioned for the role of Peter Quill in the first Guardians. Can you talk about the screen test? Was it strange being in front of Gunn, who is a friend?
Yes, I was nervous as shit (laughs). You’re sitting there with one of your best friends who’s directing a huge movie, who knows your ability and said, “I wanna see your take on Peter Quill.” Now the pressure’s on. I just had to shut it off … I remember coming up with my own dance for the Star-Lord dance scene. I had a great partner, it felt really organic right from the start.
Were you disappointed when you didn’t get the part?
You know, I didn’t really care about getting the part. I didn’t know anything about the Guardians comics. I just wanted to do a good job for James.
Did you know Chris Pratt was cast before that became public?
Yeah, I’d heard. Chris is amazing in that role.
Were things weird between you and Gunn after that?
No, not at all. The way I look at it … I was privileged to be one of the few people that got to screen test. I was so honored and grateful that James had me audition.
How do you draw the line between friendship and business?
Friendship comes first 100 percent of the time. You don’t question it. I want to see my friends succeed … if they have the ability to cast me in something, that’s great. If not, I don’t think twice.
Talk about your relationship with Carrie Fisher. How did you two meet?
Carrie’s assistant reached out because Carrie’s daughter wanted a signed photo of Lex. I said, “Tell her I want a signed picture from Return of the Jedi!” Carrie actually sent the photo, which I keep in my office. It says, “Blow me — Carrie.”
At the time I was filming the first season of Smallville and living in a hotel. She said, “Why are you living in a hotel? I have these little bungalows at my house, Meryl Streep stays there, Richard Dreyfuss stays there, you could, too … it’s got its own kitchen, you’d never have to see me.”
So I stayed there for three months and I wrote like crazy. She really showed me the way when it came to writing, and she never asked for anything, she just said, “Buy me a gift when you’re done.” So I bought her a skylight for her living room.
She was just an amazing person, she embraced mental illness like no one had ever done and she was just so giving. Her house was always open to everybody, and she was so smart. I remember listening to her and saying to her, “I don’t understand a f—ing word you just said.” She said, “Oh, f— you, why don’t you try reading, Rosenbaum?!”
Carrie was always there for her friends. If I said, “Man, I feel like shit,” she’d say, “Why? Do you wanna talk?”
What’s one of the strangest things that happened with Fisher?
I remember lying on her giant bed with Michael Keaton, Tracey Ullman, Nicole Kidman and Carrie … just lying on her bed … laughing and talking. I thought, “Where am I?” Then she tried hooking me up with Nicole Kidman. Nicole is so out of my league … Carrie took me over to Nicole, said one sentence, and just left me with her. It was never gonna happen, but I’ll always remember that.
We’d have parties at her place with my friends and her friends. It was like Meg Ryan with my stoner friend Roger. It was a great relationship. She was just a powerful human being.
Michael Rosenbaum can also be seen performing stand-up comedy at places around Los Angeles such as the Laugh Factory and the Comedy Store, and will be touring with his band The Sandwich this summer in Germany. More information can be found here.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is just a few weeks away, and there are still some things we don’t know. Although we found out the identity of Sylvester Stallone’s character earlier this week, it remains a mystery as to who Michael Rosenbaum is playing. However, the actor himself has given a few clues as to his role during the red carpet premiere of the film last night.
“Well, I’m in the movie, and I can’t really say the role I’m playing because James Gunn swore me to secrecy,” said Rosenbaum. “But it’s with Stallone, and it’s an important role. I’m not allowed to say anything other than that. I can’t wait to see it, I haven’t seen it, and I’ve been waiting a year to be able to say something. So it’s really exciting, I’m really excited. The fans are awesome. This is incredible. So I’m going to see it for the first time, too. I’m not going to tell you what I look like, either. You’re just going to have to see the movie. I don’t have to shave my head again, so that’s good.”
While still not much to go on, there are a few things here. We know that he is with Stallone in the movie, and that it seems that this is a role that James Gunn really wants to keep secret. Which means that the character in question will likely be an exciting reveal. The mind continues to go wild. Who do you think he’s playing? Let us know!
Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is scheduled for release on April 28th 2017 in the UK and on May 5th in the States, with director James Gunn reuniting with returning cast members Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Bradley Cooper (Rocket), Vin Diesel (Groot), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Michael Rooker (Yondu), Glenn Close (Nova Prime), Sean Gunn (Kraglin) and Laura Haddock (Meredith Quill) alongside new additions Pom Klementieff (Oldboy) as Mantis, Elizabeth Debicki (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) as Ayesha, Kurt Russell (The Hateful Eight) as Ego the Living Planet, Chris Sullivan (The Drop) as Taserface, Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy) as Tulik, Sylvester Stallone (Creed) as Stakar and Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) in an as-yet-unrevealed role.
It has been years since Michael Rosenbaum portrayed Lex Luthor on “Smallville,” but fans still recognize the actor from his portrayal of the diabolical villain. He has the starring role in TV Land’s “Impastor,” where he portrays a low-life gambler hiding from loan sharks by pretending to be a small-town gay pastor. Born in New York and raised in Indiana, Rosenbaum, 44, resides in Southern California. Fans may follow him on Twitter (https://twitter.com/mrosenbaum711) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheRealMichaelRosenbaum/).
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Disney World. Stay at the Animal Kingdom and get a view of all the awesome animals in the park. You can get your own private animal tour and it doesn’t cost much. Also, have lunch at the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater. And don’t stop riding on Tower of Terror and Space Mountain ’til you puke.
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. Vancouver, British Columbia, is pretty incredible. If you go at the right time of the year, it’s just absolutely perfect. I’ve never been to a cleaner place in my life. I’m sure God is proud of Canadians for keeping it so beautiful.
Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?
A. Always bring a Xanax and an Imodium and you’re good to go.
Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much you thought you could live there?
A. I absolutely loved Australia. I was there three years in a row and it’s the only place I’ve loved enough to consider moving to. The people are amazing and there are a million things to see and do. I couldn’t stop doing an Australian accent. I’m not sure anyone really liked it.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Living in Los Angeles, I’m pretty close to Vegas, so it’s nice to have the option of getting a little dirty for the weekend. I just took a bunch of friends there to see Lionel Richie and Hall and Oates, actually. I also enjoy taking a quick flight to San Jose to spend a nice weekend with my pal Brent Burns, who plays (hockey) for the San Jose Sharks. He and his wife, Susan, are awesome and I’m like their third child. I love going up to Big Bear during Christmas, as well. Two hours away from L.A. and you can play in the snow and get a great steak and a nice crispy salad at the Captains Anchorage (http://captainsanchorage.com/).
Q. If you’ve ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?
A. I always remember going to New York for the holidays with the family. It was always hell, but there were a lot of good times. Just waking up at my grandmother Ruthy’s house in Long Island on Christmas morning and driving into a rarely empty Manhattan was pretty memorable. There’s nothing like New York during Christmastime — ice-skating, Central Park, hot chocolate, Macy’s, FAO Schwarz. I bought a fake Rolex on the street. It didn’t work then and it doesn’t now.
Q. What are your favorite cities?
A. Melbourne, Perth, Los Angeles, Munich, New York and Evansville, Indiana. I had to say since I grew up there.
Q. What would be your fantasy trip?
A. An all paid for trip through all of Italy, staying at great hotels, having a driver and just living it up. You said fantasy trip, right?
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. I love this little Italian restaurant near where I live in Los Angeles. It’s called Pace (http://www.pacerestaurant.com/). You must go. I’m there every week. The food is out of this world and the ambience is very warm and relaxing. Great place to bring your girlfriend or family. The owner lets me bring my own wine. Don’t tell anyone. Get the cedar wood grilled salmon or the chicken and mashed potatoes, and if you can’t afford it, always hit the Olive Garden.
Q. When you’re on the road, what is your guilty pleasure?
A. Fast food. When I’m on the road, I don’t care. Don’t judge me. I’ll eat everything.
Michael Rosenbaum is an actor probably best known for portraying Lex Luthor on Smallville. Currently he stars in TV Land’s Impastor, which recently kicked off its second season, where he portrays a man who steals another man’s identity and ends up posing as a gay pastor in a small town. Michael was nice enough to take a few minutes from his busy schedule to answer a few questions from us.
1. You walk into a bar. What do you order from the bartender?
Probably a Jack and Diet. I’m from Indiana, that’s what we drink, but I live in L.A., so hence the diet.
2. Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
I love Bruce Campbell. I worked with him, he’s hilarious and comments on everything. Carrie Fisher is ridiculous and brilliant, so she’s fun. And Michael Ian Black kills me.
3. What’s currently waiting for you on your DVR?
Dateline, of course.
4. It’s your last meal — what are you going out with?
Olive Garden, baby!
5. What websites do you visit on a regular basis?
RedTube.com. Don’t go to that… it’s a porn site.
6. What’s the most frequently played song on your mobile device?
“Sailing” by Christopher Cross. “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago.
7. If you could go back and give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t worry. Once you grow pubic hair, fix your grill and grow nine inches… you’ll eventually get laid.
8. What’s the last thing you Googled?
Halloween onesies for adults.
9. Dogs or cats?
I love all animals, especially my dog Irv. He’s named after my grandfather Irv… who’s still alive.
10. Best concert of your life was…?
I go to so many ’80s concerts, so this is a really difficult question. Chicago, I’ve seen them so many times, love them. Guns N’ Roses at the Hard Rock in Vegas. Def Leppard at the Hard Rock in Vegas. ELO at the Hollywood Bowl. Human League at the Microsoft Theatre.
11. What book are you most likely to give as a gift?
It would be a book about farts. I have many fart books.
12. What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
There are a lot of great people out there, a lot of nice things have been done for me. A fan once sent me an Impastor version of the game Clue, and the thing was unbelievable. I mean it was so elaborate, really lovely gift.
13. South Park or Family Guy?
14. You have an entire day to do whatever you want. What would you do?
Probably nap… or go to Disney World… or go to Universal Horror Nights.
15. What movie can you not resist watching if it’s on?
Tommy Boy, Empire Strikes Back, Alien, The Shining, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Slapshot. Arthur (Dudley Moore version).
16. The sports team or teams you’re most passionate about?
I love the New York Giants. Anything New York — New York Giants, New York Knicks, New York Rangers and New York Mets. I hate the Yankees.
17. Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
Gibbys in Montreal. Holy shit, what a steak.
18. The last movie you saw in a theater?
The Blair Witch 2016. Just saw it and I love horror movies. Not a great flick, but the last 15 minutes almost made me piss myself.
19. Who was your first celebrity crush?
Probably Goldie Hawn. I think I saw a vagina in the movie Private Benjamin. I don’t think it was her vagina, but I still have a crush on her. Met Goldie and Kurt Russell a few months ago and they were wonderful.
20. What would you cook if Nic Cage was coming to your house for dinner?
Olive Garden. Or Sonic. My sister works at Sonic, so I’d get Nic some free shit.