Chatting With The Cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2!

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Hey All!

Last month I attended the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Press Junket and got some behind the scenes details on the making of the film, fun stories from the cast, and some intriguing details about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe from Kevin Feige. The junket was broken up into two panels. The first panel was comprised of Director James Gunn, Kurt Russell (Ego), Chris Pratt (Starlord), Michael Rooker (Yondu), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha), and the architect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Kevin Feige.

James Gunn begins by talking about his approach to following up the surprise 2014 hit:

“I wanted to continue the film from the first movie, you know. It was, so many sequels are not good. The primary reason in studying them seemed to be that so many of them just kind of do the same thing the first movie did with different template, and so they say, oh people liked the dance-off in the first movie, so what’s our version of the dance-off? People liked “we are Groot” in the first movie, what’s our version of “we are Groot”? And instead of doing that, we really tried to let these characters grow and change. We want to watch them become new people and different people in every film that we come up with. And I think allowing them to be themselves and do their thing, I know that sounds strange because I’m writing what they say, but sometimes I’m just letting I happen inside my own imagination and letting the characters go where they wanted to go. I think the thing that I didn’t want to mess up was just trying to be a rehash of the first movie. I think people were surprised by the first movie, people have been surprised by the second film, and to give people something new and something different from what they already had.”

Kurt Russell discusses how he became a part of the film:

“No, I was, listen, you know, the truth is that when I read the script I wanted to make sure I was kind of understanding it correctly and I hadn’t seen the first movie. I’m not much of a moviegoer, so. I knew that everybody loved it, though. And I also knew that everybody all of a sudden, one day I was doing Hateful Eight stuff like this, and all of a sudden…my phone and the people around me are saying, are you gonna do…are you gonna be Star Lord’s dad? Are you gonna be Peter Quill’s father and are you gonna do Guardians of the Galaxy and I, I just was like, guys, I don’t really know what they’re talking about. And I saw the movie and when I saw the movie, I immediately started getting it. I also immediately started wanting to do it. That was immediately followed by, everybody loved the first movie. What you don’t want to do is do something that’s gonna make them not like the second one, right? So I, you do that pressure. I don’t know about you, but I said yeah. I told James that. I said, I don’t want to mess this thing up, so I need your help. Hello. Like that.”

The topic of male shirtless scenes in Marvel movies was brought up, to which Chris Pratt actually mentions how Michael Rooker’s (Yondu) first scene in the film is his favorite:

“I will say the greatest shirtless scene in this film by far, though, goes to Mr. Michael Rooker. It’s, it’s no joke…when you do see the movie, be sure to pay attention to the moment we see Yondu for the first time. It’s, in my opinion, a series of (shots) that truly that moment to me is when this film transcends the genre. I’m not joking, it sounds like I’m doing a bit and I’m really not. We were just talking about this”

“It’s so beautiful, because…Yondu is shirtless. He’s essentially naked, and really vulnerable.”

“And there’s this look on his face, he never says a word, but you feel his pain. You know that he’s hurting inside, you know that he’s lonely and you know that he’s vulnerable, and then immediately you cut to him walking, in, fully clothed with his Ravagers behind him and this sense of power, but because you saw him naked you know what’s going on inside of his, of his mind, and that, that pathos carries the entire arc for Yondu through the whole movie, and I was just talking to James. It’s beautiful, man. It’s so good. And he doesn’t even say a word.”

We inquired about a few cameos that only true fans of either the original Guardians of the Galaxy or the of the famous Abnett and Lanning run from 2008 will recognize and received confirmation from Kevin Feige himself:

“Yeah, they’re definitely the original Guardians. That was the fun of it, and when James had the idea to do more with the Yondu character who was also an original Guardian, the notion that he had a team once like Peter does now, that it’d be fun to see them. And (Ving Rhames) definitely Charlie 27. Where we see them in the future, time will tell.”

James Gunn furthers this confirmation by name dropping the other cameos:

“Ving Rhames is Charlie 27. Michelle Yeoh, who I’m an enormous fan of from, I’m a big fan of old ‘90s Hong Kong films, and she is a very wonderful person. And she is Aleta Ogord, who is the other Star Hawk, the female Star Hawk. And, and then – – ”

We also had to know about about a red alien appearing in a post-credit sequence which lead to James Gunn and Kevin Feige sharing an exchange:

JAMES GUNN

“That’s, he’s not in the credits. Should I say him? That’s Krugar. And then Mainframe is the last one, who, you know. That’s…”

KEVIN FEIGE

Have you told people who Mainframe is?”

JAMES GUNN

“I haven’t told, do you want to? Yeah. Should we?”

KEVIN FEIGE

No.”

JAMES GUNN

Oh, I think I did. I actually did, I blew it. I told one person.”

KEVIN FEIGE

Look it up.”

The next panel included Sean Gunn (Kraglin), Sylvester Stallone (Startak), Dave Bautista (Drax), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Karen Gillan (Nebula), and a return from Kevin Feige.

Dave Bautista reveals the origin of the infectious Drax laugh:

“Like everybody knows, everybody knows that I’m like a very understated person; I’m a little soft-spoken. But James is very big on you know, Drax being just larger than life and projecting, he’s constantly telling me project. Also like my eyes, it really irritates the hell out of James, you know, I get nervous, I have this nervous energy so my eyes wander constantly. And he’ll go, “Stop doing that! Stop doing that! Just pick something and focus on it,” [LAUGHTER] so I’ll just try to stare at something else, start delivering and he’ll say, “Project. Project louder,” well that’s just, you know, that’s, he helps me create that character. You know, and the laugh we came about just by complete accident. It just happened.”

“I was laughing and he said, “Can you do it louder?” and the louder, I started laughing; the louder I could hear him laughing. So he just was doing it to amuse himself and he just wanted, the bigger it got the louder he laughed, so I just kept, you know, bigger and bigger until I lost my voice and so that’s why, yeah…”

The sister dynamic of Gamora and Nebula really seems built on the respect that the two actors (Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillan respectively) have for each other as shown in their dialogue talking about their scenes:

KAREN GILLAN

“But (Zoe is) an amazing fighter. Zoe literally teaches me how to fight while we’re doing it. She’ll be like, “Turn your head like that and you strangle someone like that, you’ll going to look cool,” and I’m like, “Yes, thank you.”

ZOE SALDANA

“I’m like, “Karen, come on run, run, Karen, run, run, run, keep up…” okay. And Karen, Karen teaches me like, to just bring it. As soon as like James says, “Action,” she goes from like Euuuu… hey. And she’s like this Nebula and every time I would try to do that for Gamora, James is like, “Don’t do that.” I’m like, oh, okay, I was trying to alter my voice and sound like someone cool, no… don’t do that, yeah. But she just like changes everything from the look, the walk and we’re all like behind her going… like, that’s Karen? No way. And she brings it.”

Both the Tyler Bates Score and the selected pop songs play integral parts in the movie and even while filming scenes as Sean Gunn shares:

“It’s so, that’s, it’s so cool to be able to do that. To be able to, to hear the score. There are times and there’s actions sequences where part of the score is playing or also the soundtrack, like the, you know, when we’re, you know, at the end of the movie, father and son, those, we’re hearing that in ear buds in our ears. That’s really awesome. Like I’ve… to be able to do that for a movie is very cool.”

Getting lots of love from the cast and the audience, Sean Gunn talks about how he handled playing both the Ravager Kraglin and the on-set reference for Rocket:

“Well, it’s interesting, you know, I mean… I played two roles in the movie. From my… you know… when you act there’s both the input and the output. The input is the work you put into it and what you do on set and then the output is what you see onscreen, so for me the input is very similar for both characters, but the output is, is totally different because it takes a whole team of people to make Rocket. So, you know, I’m just a member of that team. But yeah, it’s interesting in this movie because Rocket and Kraglin have a few scenes that they’re in together, so… so doing you know, like juggling the two things was a very strange and challenging experience for me. But I love it. I love both characters and I, you know, I’m just really grateful to be a part of it.”

Zoe Saldana mentions what an asset is was to have Sean Gunn on set:

“I don’t think that, that people really understand that what Sean does just for the movie, like the references, like the intonation; he’s so limber as well, so he manages to get like to shrink and curl up and be this big, so he’s always like Rocket-size and he gives us all the passion and all the dynamic that we need to have from Rocket because Rocket is the sassiest character of the Guardians and I don’t think that we would be able to respond to Rocket and more, like more like Drax and Quill and you know, Nebula, too. Like nobody would be able to respond to Rocket the same way if Sean wasn’t playing him. And I know that Sean serves as the perfect reference for Bradley, because in post, I know for a fact that the, you know, whatever you leave there behind for Bradley, it’s just what he needs to sort of catch up on everything that he’s missed when we’ve spent those four months shooting and James Gunn and I were talking about that last night that it’s just how like the Rocket of, the voice of Rocket in this second movie, it’s not that it’s been improved because it was wonderful in the beginning because you just, you leave it there for everybody to sort of pick up and it’s, I’m not saying that Bradley picks it up, but Bradley really has the perfect reference and then he paints over it, you know, as an actor and he adds his nuances and everything but still, it’s just Rocket is really composed of two very important people and Sean is the mainest ingredient and I just made that up, so…you guys can look it up, it’s a word.”

Kevin Feige then sings Sean’s praise as well, but also drops a bit of information about Rocket in the MCU:

“I mean it really, I’m happy to talk about how great Sean Gunn is, all day long. And in this movie Kraglin obviously does a lot more and there are a few moments where Kraglin brings the emotion and really sort of puts it over the top for me as I watch it. And although nobody else in this cast is allowed to talk about it, Rocket has encountered other Marvel characters and I will tell you all of the actors have had an amazing time with Sean, as he brings Rocket to life and they can start acting off of him.”

Sylvester Stallone talks about his take about the Marvel films:

“Well, you know… early on in my career I just always became fascinated with mythology and Joseph Campbell and you know, Man of a Thousand Faces and so on and so forth. So when I started doing Rambo, whatever, there was an evolution that takes place and each generation has to define itself and find its own heroes and find its own mythology and this is the new, this is this generation, and maybe even the next generation’s mythology and when Kevin invited me onboard I said, “This is interesting because I haven’t gone here,” so I mean, I’m kind of earthbound, I’m terrestrial. You know what I mean? This is something that takes place in a whole other sphere where James and the Marvel people have created their own world, their own reality. So I said, yeah, let me visit. Let me drop in here and see what’s up, where the future’s going, you know, and it was great. And it got me out of the house from my three daughters, which is really…Thank you. That’s why I gave you my salary back.”

Stallone also jokes about what he would like to do to people dressing up like characters he has portrayed:

“I really want to punch them out. I mean, seriously. I mean probably…It’s copyright infringement, right?”

Zoe Saldana has played numerous sci-fi roles and she was asked if there is another one should would do and Zoe’s reply revealed the inner geek:

“Dune. I was Lady Jessica like every other Halloween. And when I wasn’t Lady, when I wasn’t a Bene Gesserit, I was a ninja. So I would, I would love to be in Dune. And I heard that Denis Villeneuve is thinking, he’s revisiting and I hope, I hope he, he decides to do it, because I’m one of those people that I don’t, I think that David Lynch did a great job, but I was six when I saw Dune, so…so it would be Dune.”

Kevin Feige is then asked about another scene in the film, a scene that revealed another long time staple of the Marvel Comics, Uatu and the Watchers:

“Well, I wouldn’t say you saw Uatu, I would say you saw some Watchers.”

“You just saw some Watchers. And yes, we always thought it would be fun. Stan Lee clearly exists, you know, above and apart from the reality of all the films. So the notion that he could be sitting there on a cosmic pit stop during the jump gate sequence in Guardians was something very fun and James had that idea and we shot that, shot that cameo and loved it so much, you know, you see it a couple of times in the… in the movie and it wasn’t in for a long time and we put it back in towards the end of the process where he references that time he was a Federal Express agent and we thought it would be fun to put that and keep that in there because that really says, so wait a minute, he’s this same character who’s popped up in all these films, has the same, is the same person.”

Finally, we asked what family means to them and Dave Bautista’s answer really sums up the Guardian’s approach:

“I think, I think you know, for myself I think family is just, it’s people you care about and people who care about you and just love you regardless, that don’t judge you and you don’t have to feel awkward and self-conscious about, around… and they don’t necessarily have to be your blood family. You’re not tied down to the people you’re born with and grow up with. I think anybody can be your family member, you make them your family members. You invite them into your lives and love them and care for them and even if, to me, like my dogs, my dogs are my children now. I love them more than, you know, most people in the world. But I think, that’s it. It just doesn’t have to be one definition to family. I think just the people you love in your lives, like these people up here are like, we’re a family, you know. I think that’s what it is and I think that’s the message of our film, that you know, even though families may be dysfunctional, it’s still at the end of the day, do you love this person? Do you care for this person? Would you do anything for this person? And if that answer is yes, then they are your family.”

It was such an amazing to get to sit down with this amazing cast for this incredible movie! I can’t tell you how much I love the film just yet. Stay tuned for my review of the film coming Friday!

In the meantime, get those tickets to the movie now! You don’t want to miss it for the Baby Groot alone!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is in theaters May 5th!

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