It’s here!!! Marvel Studios’ biggest, brashest and most audacious comic strip blockbuster, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, opens in UK cinemas today! Last Friday the film’s director James Gunn joined stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, David Bautista and Karen Gillan on stage at the Corinthia Hotel in Whitehall in London (Vin Diesel was “running late” - so late he never showed up) for the movie’s European Press Launch. STARBURST was on hand as the Guardians came down to Earth for a rambunctious, lively and entirely random chat about their feature film debut. Here are some highlights…
Karen Gillan on being cast as Nebula: “I got a call from my agent who said ‘Are you willing to shave your head for a role in a Marvel film?’ I said ‘absolutely’ and then just auditioned and met James in the studio at Shepperton which was really exciting and then I did a screen test and got the role. Sorry that was a really boring story!”
James Gunn on Karen Gillan: “Karen’s screen test was my favourite audition of anybody in the entire process. She was so good, she took this character that was a pretty simple character; it was a pretty long sequence and it was actually very moving, this character that she created, this bald cyber-jerk! Her character is very much like the Boba Fett of the movie and she has these little moments where you can see that there’s a lot more to this character than just being a villainess.”
Chris Pratt on being cast as Peter Quill/Starlord: “I figured that if I could just get them to believe me physically as this character then it would be mine! I really felt that James and I gelled in a nice way and I knew if I could convince them that they could take a chance on me and, given enough time I’d be able to create the change that was required to look like the character, I knew I would get the part. I also had an ‘inside in’ because my friend who was essentially reading the role of Drax when we did the screen tests - and he’s one of my very best friends - was like ‘Pratt, you can’t tell anyone but it’s totally yours, no-one has come in and did what you did, you’re gonna get it.’
James Gunn on casting the Guardians: “The interesting thing for me with all four of these actors here is that if they think back along the journey, each one of them, the moment we met there was something very sincere between each of us. The first time I met Dave in the audition room I just really got Dave. Chris and I had common friends who we knew, Karen had been hanging out in my office and were laughing our asses off and Zoe was on the phone talking at like a thousand miles a minute. We all just totally got along really well, it was just one of those cool things and the coolest thing was we all still loved each other as much at the end of this movie.”
On ‘who steals the show’…
Zoe Saldana: I would have to say, for me, it’s Groot! When we started working I just had a soft spot for that big tree! He unconditionally loved us all and even though I’m mature and pretty sane and I knew it was make-believe and he’s a fictional character he moved me in such a way that I wanted to believe he was real because of the way he was making me feel.
Chris Pratt: For me when the movie really takes off is when we zoom in on the Xander Mall and see Rocket and Groot together and we see Groot drinking out of the fountain and you see Rocket looking through his vid-screen for potential bounties. That to me is the moment that this synergy happens; you take all the parts, Peter Quill, Gamora but you see somehow that the sum is greater than the whole and it’s when Rocket is talking and sees a little kid and he’s like ‘who’s this little guy?’ and it becomes really fun and you see that this journey is really good. He steals the show in that moment for me.”
James Gunn: One of the comments I got the most on Twitter and Facebook from people who’ve seen the movie is that everybody kind of steals the movie in turn because it really is an ensemble piece and I think that’s what makes it so good, there isn’t that one character where everybody says ’oh it’s about this one guy’, it’s the dynamism between the characters together that works more so than any individual character.”
James Gunn on a potential Guardians/Avengers crossover: “I’d like to see them kill Thor! Chris and I were driving somewhere the other day and we were having one of our ridiculous conversations and we’re talking about all the crazy things that can happen in the Guardians Universe - which we do endlessly, we talk about it constantly! - and he was saying ‘Seriously, I think that Starlord should kill Iron Man. It’d be so awesome if he came down and shot Tony Stark in the face in the first even minutes! People would be so surprised!”
James Gunn on the appeal of making Guardians of the Galaxy: “For me the whole appeal of the project in the first place was to create this world and many other worlds. I think I’d have a very hard time doing a sequel to another Marvel movie or even setting up another character to be in The Avengers but I felt a lot of freedom in creating this movie. I’m very grateful to Marvel because every time I came up with some crazy idea like, you know, let’s have a seven-page scene where the characters just argue about stupid stuff at the beginning of the third act, they were like ‘Yeah, great, we love it’ and I said ‘Let’s have all these bright colours like 1950s and 1960s movies’ and they were like ‘Yep, we love it!” Then I wanted to cast Michael Rooker who’s totally insane and they were like ‘We love it!’ For some reason I was allowed to go wild! It’s been an amazing experience for all of us; this has felt like a very special movie to all of us from the very beginning. The flavour of it was very special and we just felt we were doing something very new, very unique and also harking back to the films we all loved as kids. So many films these days are dark and brooding and it was nice to create something that’s a little more fun yet still has the emotional weight and the heart.”
James Gunn on deleted scenes and marketing the movie: “There’s a few deleted scenes that we have that are in the trailer but aren’t in the movie and there are also out-takes where we goofed around a lot! We went out and tested the original trailers we did. We had the mainstream one that made it look all serious and one which made it look like a normal space movie and then we did the trailer with ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ on the soundtrack. We took them out to show people and they were saying ‘I don’t like any of these!’ So we thought that if they hate them all we might as well go with the one that’s most honest and true to the film which was the ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ one which gave you a flavour of what the movie was. But that shows you what bullshit it is because people loved the trailer, we beat every other movie, we had three times the amount of hits that Man of Steel had on the first day and nobody knows who Guardians of the Galaxy are! We were true to the movie and that’s been our philosophy every step of the way. It’s a tribute to the Disney marketing team who decided to sell this movie as it is and not try to make it into something else which is more palatable to what they think is middle America and that’s been a pretty cool experience.”
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is in UK cinemas now, and you can read our review of the film HERE.
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