The level of excitement at the Guardians of the Galaxy press conference was palpable, yet the chemistry between the new kids of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe was evident from the get-go. Directed by Slither’s James Gunn, an unlikely group of criminals, led by thief Peter ‘Starlord’ Quill (Chris Pratt), go up against Ronan (Lee Pace), who wants to take over the galaxy.
A notably absent Vin Diesel aside, nothing dampened the enthusiasm and the lively banter between the director and his cast during the Guardians of the Galaxy global press conference, as they talk about confrontational crew members, being green and killing Iron Man.
The cast and director on how they got involved with the film:
Karen Gillian: Well, I got a call from my agent and they asked ‘are you willing to shave your head for three months’ and I said ‘absolutely’.
James Gunn: I actually told her the other day, in person, that her [Karen]’s screen test is my favourite audition from the entire process. We think of her character [Nebula] as the Boba Fett of the film and she has these little moments in the movie; you can see that there is a lot more to this character than this villainess.
Chris Pratt: With me, I figured that if I could get them to believe me physically as this character, then it would be mine. My spirit was right for this character and I sounded like him but I didn’t look the part, I wasn’t walking around in the right vehicle yet. I knew if I could convince them to take a chance on me and give me enough time, I could create the change that was required to look like the right character for the part. Also, my friend Ben, who was reading the role for Drax during the screen tests and is one of my very best friends, said to me: “Dude, you can’t say anything but it is totally yours. No-one else did what you did; you’re going to get it”, and I was like: ‘Oh, that’s good!’
JG: I told Ben that I was trying to tick the boxes to get Pratt into the role so that he can be hired by Marvel. The interesting thing for me is that with all these actors, I think back along the journey and from the moment we met, there was something very sincere between each of them. I think the coolest thing about this movie, for me, is when you get on so well with someone at the start of the project and you still love them at the end.
Gunn on the film’s eventful wrap party:
JG: There was a crew member who was bothering a group of people, and then he grabbed Artie, who played Rocket on set, and he grabbed Abby, one of the stand-ins, by her butt. My brother Sean, who plays Kraglin in the film, confronted this guy, who was really tall, and someone grabbed me and said ‘your brother is gonna get into a fight!’. I walked over and told him to leave and Artie came up to me and said: ‘James, he grabbed me by the tits!’.
Dave [Bautista] comes by and asked what’s wrong and this tall guy marches over and is about to get into Dave’s face, but Dave ‘taps’ the guy with his hand and he goes flying! It was awesome, Dave has actual superpowers! (laughs)
Saldana’s thoughts on being green:
Zoe Saldana: When you think of things that are sexy, they are normally in pink, black, white or red; never green. So we started out in a really tough position and I’ve never approached a character at such a superficial level, like ‘can you make my tits bigger?’ and things like that. I was really concerned because my character has to bring in all the fanboys and find me appealing; we like things that are aesthetically beautiful, especially if it comes in a form of a woman so we were adamant in finding that right shade of green.
JG: Considering that she is a different colour in the comic book, changing the colour was so hard! It took us so long to find a green that worked. We have other characters in the film that are blue, yellow and pink and we found that all of those colours are natural to human beings in a strange sort of way. Green, however, was really hard but it is a testament to Zoe’s facial features that it ends up looking as good as it does.
Thoughts on what would happen if the Guardians and the Avengers were to meet:
JG: I would like to see them kill Thor! (laughs) Chris [Pratt] and I were driving somewhere the other day and we were having one of our ridiculous conversations and we were talking about all the different things that could happen to the Guardians – we talk about it endlessly. He was saying “dude, seriously, I really think that Starlord should kill Iron Man…the audience would be so awesome if he came down and shoots Tony Stark in the face! People would be so surprised!” (laughing)
CP: I know from the comic that Gamora and Iron Man get it on and so, how does Peter Quill feel about that? Maybe he doesn’t like it or perhaps Rocket hears this and shoots Tony Stark, just blows a hole in his face! People would be super mad, it would be amazing!
The cast and director on possible tracks for Awesome Mix Vol. 2:
JG: I haven’t figured out the second volume yet…the truth is that the songs that were used in the movie were specifically chosen for those scenes, so it wasn’t so much about the songs that I liked the most but more about which songs speak in that scene. I wrote those songs into the script and so, they were baked into the story, which is why they work so well.
ZS: We need some Abba, some Hall & Oates and Air Supply.
CP: I wouldn’t mind seeing Peter Quill trying to seduce a femalien to Lionel Ritchie. (sings) “Hello…is it me you’re looking for?”
Pratt on his ‘devastating’ dance movies:
CP: I thought of those moves myself. It was like everything about Peter Quill had to be 1988 or earlier so I borrowed some Michael Jackson moves from the disco era, some early hip-hop and stuff like that. I remember a time in my life when my brother and I had dance-offs in our basement, so there was some spirit in them. But yes, they were all my moves and oddly, I was not paid as a choreographer…at least, not yet.
Gunn on the film’s marketing strategy:
JG: The marketing is amazing. We went out and tested a load of trailers that we did for the movie and we had a mainstream one that was all serious and made the film look like a really normal space movie and then we had the trailer with Blue Swede’s ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ and we showed it in malls and stuff. People were like, “I don’t like any of these…” so we thought we should stick to the one that is the most honest and true to the film, which is the ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ one, as it really gave you a flavour of what the film was.
In the end, it just shows you that that stuff is all bullshit because people then loved the trailer. In our time slot, we had three times the amount of hits that Man of Steel had and this is really a testament to the Disney marketing team, who decided to have a ball to sell the movie as what it is and not try to make it something more palatable.
Guardians of the Galaxy is out in UK cinemas on 31st July.