He plays a tree. In fact, he only voices a tree. A tree with only 3 words repeated over and over again in the movie, “I am Groot.” How do you interview an actor with that as the background plot?
Well, first of all, it is Vin Diesel. This guy blew it out of the water. He comes in to the “Mommy Blogger” interview room dancing and singing and we practically cheer. So what does he do? He leaves and comes back again to get the accolades a second time. I love when us parent bloggers loosen up the celebs so they are comfortable hanging out with us, it seems that Vin did that for us as well!
Vin shared how excited and relieved he was to be chatting about being a tree. He shared that the press trips for his Riddick roles are far more intense. He was clearly relaxed and looking to chat away without any pressure, and ready to have fun!
Vin Diesel shocked me when he shared that it was his Facebook fan base that pushed Marvel to cast him as Groot. I don’t know how they figured out that was a perfect cast choice, but they were right. The clincher for Vin was, after he met with with Kevin Feige of Marvel, conceptual art was sent to his home, and Vin asked his kids for their opinion. They immediately and unanimously thought their dad should be Groot, and he took that as a good omen. And don’t be fooled, there was real acting here, this was not just any old tree!
Now for the single best, favorite, most awesome comment of the interview: “When my kids are in the back seat, when we’re driving, whenever they see trees they say, “Look, Dad. It’s your brothers and sisters.” Those are some smart kids! That remark was too good, you can see me tweeting it out immediately!
Vin mentioned “acting” trees were first seen in The Wizard of Oz: “This, I feel, has gone to the next level. And I never thought I’d be so proud of it. But you know, in some ways, Groot is nature’s ambassador, and there’s something beautiful about that. And just the idea of talking about that movies should promote or provoke conversation is great.” Groot in the movie teaches us a few things but I apologize, I cannot share here as that would be a major spoiler, you have to see the movie asap!
Again, he is just a tree, but Vin says, “So, it’s been really special, and I know, I do movies that are not necessarily for kids. So, to do this and to be able to share this with the little ones, and for them to be so excited about it and so proud of it, and to think of trees differently, is important. They will never look at a tree the same way. No one will, after this.”
Vin Diesel did the voice of Groot so he never actually met anyone in the cast, or went on set. I am always amazed every time I talk to the talent about their animated or CGI role. They are basically alone in a booth, mostly by themselves. And they all do something to get into character to make this process work really well. Vin stood on stilts so he could be 7 1/2 feet tall, like his character. When he chanted, “I am Groot” he held his hands out like he was a tree. Also, directors have the actor’s movements taped to try to capture their nuances as they voice their character to add to the movements of their CGI’d character. Folks were a little surprised at how serious Vin Diesel was taking his role as Groot but he felt that the innocence of this big character had to be captured properly.
Did you know that Vin Diesel started out in the 80’s as a break dancer in the streets of NYC trying to make some money? And I completely missed that he was the voice of the Iron Giant, I have seen that movie with my son dozens of times!
Vin Diesel’s last two comments to us were also wonderful. “I love the mommy bloggers. You know mommies are the first super heroes you guys.” And “Let’s give one for the dads! You guys made me feel so good!”
Personally, there is nothing more enjoyable, than when an actor opens up and feels as comfortable as Vin Diesel did with us. We are not hard core journalists, we are parent bloggers trying to get information for our readership across the country, to try to bring them closer to the stars of the movies. I am happy we made Vin feel so good, he also did that for us!
Disclosure: Disney invited me on this press trip and paid all of my expenses. No other compensation was received. All opinions are always 100% my own and honest.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Opens 8/1/14!