The bloggers interviewed Mr. Gunn about two weeks ago. A lot has happened since. Guardians of the Galaxy opened to great reviews, and then went on to become the highest grossing opening for an August release. What a great birthday present for Mr. Gunn, his birthday was yesterday!
To be fair, we all suspected this movie was going to be big, we had just previewed it the night before we chatted with Mr. Gunn, so the energy was quite high in the room! Mr. Gunn acknowledged all the tweets and attention and was very gracious and thankful.
The first question was about dance! Clearly James’s interest in dance was apparent in the movie as you will see because first, he has Chris Pratt do some nice moves, and then he mentions the movie Footloose and references Kevin Bacon’s dancing, this is done as a throw back to Peter Quill’s childhood in the 1980’s, and absolutely hysterical to the audience!
And the big question, was what drew hm to the franchise: “I think the main thing that drew me to GUARDIANS was the ability to create a whole new wing of the Marvel universe. I would find it to be a very difficult time making a sequel to another Marvel movie. Or even making another earthbound Marvel movie that’s leading into, directly into The Avengers, because you’re working so much within the world that’s already been created. And with GUARDIANS, I was able to create, not just a new world, but new worlds.” He said he grew up experimenting with the solar system and what species he might find on different planets. This early science fiction interest clearly helped with this movie!
James Gunn has acted, produced and directed. He said this experience was hugely helpful in casting this movie with the right people.
Zoe Saldana was cast quite early in the process and director James Gunn credits her with influencing the role significantly while working with him on the character through several drafts. Says Gunn: “Zoe has brought a lot to the role of Gamora working with me to create a strong female character who is also very flawed. She is fearless in the role because she doesn’t aspire to be liked all the time.” We had also spoken to Zoe so we knew theirs was a collaborative effort, something not all Director’s and their egos will allow. In this case this helped to create a very well written character!
We also asked what Guardian he was most connected to I was surprised by his answer, it was Rocket! “Because I feel, the outcast in Rocket. And although I think that Rocket is the meanest Guardian, I think he’s the most selfish Guardian. I think he’s probably the Guardian that learns the least at the end of the movie. He’s just this little mangled guy that is completely alone in this world. There’s nothing else like him, he’s been torn apart and put back together again. He was originally an innocent little animal, I love animals to begin with. I’ve come to love him. And, I probably had the greatest time in creating Rocket over any of the other Guardians. Rocket and Groot both.” He mentioned that with Chris, they worked on the Peter Quill character a little bit more collaboratively. With Rocket, it was more of a full creation by James. And since Rocket was a CGI creation, it was Jame’s brother who played him on the set when they needed to get a feel for how the character would fit in physically!
James said he worked on this movie for two years and it was weird to be finished. He said he was literally working on the special effects and went from Disney to the airport for a press trip. Then he just finished the 3D when he returned, literally a few days earlier. It was very intense at the end, and then it’s over. “letting go has not been the easiest part of it. Because your brain gets used to doing one thing for two years.”
James shared that he would love to do everybody’s back story, he did not want to let the Guardians go. And of course there were chats with Joss Whedon of Avenger fame, because all of the Marvel Universe’s are connected, in this case, “I didn’t want to do anything that was gonna contradict, future plans. And really the one piece of connective tissue is Thanos, he’s the guy who’s at the end of The Avengers. He’s the guy who’s the character in our movie, and he will likely show up in future Marvel movies. So that was something that all along, I would have conversations with Joss about all the Thanos aspects of things. And even down to the casting, I would talk to Joss.”
And of course James confirmed that he was behind the scene near the end of the movie where there was supposed to be a dance off and they tricked the huge Dave Bautista into dancing! I cannot wait to see that on the DVD extras!
Additionally, James shared that working with Bradley Cooper was terrific, that he did not bring any ego into the work, he listened to direction and as you can see in the movie, his voice over work is amazing. I came to love Rocket! And I hope Bradley is on the interview list the next time!
And then there was Michael Rooker! “Michael Rooker is my friend who plays Yondu. He’s unfortunately my friend, I’m stuck with him. I thought that I really wanted the chance to write a character for Michael. Because he’s always playing these tough guys, these hard guys. And these sort of humorless guys. I wanted to get that part of Michael that is that big laughing, like sort of insane maniac that he is. And you know, have that be a part of a character. And I felt like with Yondu I was able to do that.”
And that concludes my five interviews with the cast and Director of Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie is open now and getting rave reviews everywhere. This is the must see movie of the Summer for all, not just for the science fiction fan, but for the moms and everyone. It has something for all of us and I cannot wait to see it again when I take my son as soon as he returns from sleep away camp next week!
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Is Open Now!!
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.