EXCLUSIVE: Hot off his turn as the bounty hunter Yondu in Marvel’s hit Guardians Of The Galaxy, Michael Rooker is returning to Bolden. After starting production seven years ago and doing reshoots in 2009, the film’s writer, director, and financier Dan Pritzker lost key stars to scheduling including lead Anthony Mackie, who went on to superhero heights in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Now filming is set to start again this fall with Downton Abbey‘s Gary Carr in the title role as New Orleans cornet player Buddy Bolden. Rooker will resume the role of Pat McMurphy, sidekick to Bolden’s nemesis Judge Perry, when production kicks off in North Carolina.
The third time’s the charm for Pritzker’s passion project about the ragtime musician many consider to be the father of jazz. Rooker had filmed scenes before Bolden reset, so he’ll now have to reshoot a large chunk of his scenes with Ian McShane, who replaced Haley in the Judge Perry role. True Blood‘s Nelsan Ellis also recently joined the cast as Bartley, the wily entrepreneur who manages the Bolden Band.
Luckily for Pritzker, the timing has worked out for Rooker, the second original Bolden cast member to hit it big after joining a Marvel blockbuster franchise. The actor’s Guardians Of The Galaxy gig coincided with his departure from AMC’s The Walking Dead, but the sequel was only just announced at Comic-Con. James Gunn, who has cast Rooker in all his films since 2006’s Slither, is back at the helm.
Bolden is produced by Jon Cornick and Michele Tayler, while Leonard Loventhal, Ed Arrendell and Grammy winner Wynton Marsalis are executive producers. Marsalis orchestrated and performed music for Pritzker’s 2010 silent Louis Armstrong biopic Louis and will also perform music for Bolden. Rooker is repped by LINK Entertainment.