Posted on Monday, February 6th, 2017 by Peter Sciretta
While on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we talked with star Chris Pratt about the making of the galactic sequel.
During our sit down roundtable interview, Pratt talks about growing up loving Kurt Russell to acting alongside him in this film, asking him to be his dad in real life, the complicated relationship between Peter Quill and his father Ego, the evolution of Peter Quill, the result of having held an infinity stone, the music in the Awesome Mix volume 2, his relationship with Yondu, acting alongside the music which is played on set, making a more emotional film, Peter and Gamora’s will-they-won’t-they relationship, his new relationship with Mantis, the meaning behind the words on his t-shirt in the film, and much more. Read our entire Chris Pratt Guardians 2 interview now after the jump.
How cool is it that Kurt Russell is your dad?
Chris Pratt: It’s so cool. It’s so cool. It’s perfect.
What’s it like working with him?
For me, there are actors that I loved growing up – there’s a handful of them – and he is absolutely right at the top of that list, and has not once done anything to disappoint the inner child in me who was so excited when he got cast. He’s really cool. He’s absolutely an artist. Even though he’s kind of the ‘everyman’ kind of a character, he’s really an artist and he really cares deeply about all of the details of his character. We’re really kindred spirits I think. Me and Anna [Faris], and Kurt and Goldie [Hawn], I feel like we are the same in some parallel universe, you know what I mean? Anna’s often times been compared to Goldie Hawn, like in the House Bunny and things like that, and one of our favorite movies is Overboard. And I guess some people have made that comparison with me and Kurt, just kind of like a blue-collar type of dude, American actor. He loves to hunt and be outdoors and he’s, I don’t know, I just really, really love him. I’m in love with Kurt Russell. [Laughs]
You’ve said you’ve asked him to be …
… my dad in real life. Yup. I’m still waiting to hear on that. ‘Cause he’s got other children so I think that he’s gonna have to check with them to see if they want a brother, but I’m hoping they all say yes. [Laughs] No, I have a feeling that it’s one of those relationships that you meet somebody and you know that the relationship – although some relationships you meet someone, it’s fine when you’re on set, you’re gonna have a great working relationship with them, but you know that when the movie wraps there’s a likelihood that you probably won’t see one another unless you work together again. But I think it’s not that way with Kurt. I’m sure we’ll go hang out and do things together because we’ll talk for an hour and not have once mentioned anything about work, you know what I mean? It’s pretty cool.
Obviously, your character had ideas about who your father is. Can you talk about those ideas versus who he actually is?
I think all the evidence that Quill has to who his father is, he learns it the same time the audience does from the first movie, do you know what I mean? He realizes there’s something special about him that they can’t quite identify, and that’s pretty much all he knows. So, as he learns with the audience during the course of this second journey who that is – so I’m not sure he necessarily had expectations that aren’t comedically Quill, which we play on in the movie. You get to find out who he hopes his father is and who he wishes his father is, and you get to find out whether or not that is the reality.
Do your characters’ interactions match up with how you and Kurt bonded in your life? Do they meet each other and hit it off immediately?
I’m really gonna be delicate with this because it’s so good and I know it starts bordering on spoiler territory. There was a moment in rehearsal where Kurt – the rehearsal process was so awesome with him. So fun and cool and surreal. But there was a moment [when] he said, listen, there’s never been as many people in his life, both professionally and personally, pushing him towards doing something. He’s gotten emails, people coming out of the woodwork in his personal life and his business life like, ‘You gotta go do this movie! You gotta go do this thing!’ And he said that to me, and I’m sure he would mention that all to you. And then he said something that was interesting, which was, ‘What does …’ and this was his words – he said, ‘In the first movie, no one knew who you were. They didn’t really know who Chris Pratt was.’ And this is one of the very few times I’m ever gonna refer to myself as Chris Pratt. [Laughs] Like a new thing I do nowadays! But he said, people know who he is. People know who Kurt Russell is, and now have a better idea of who I am. So when they come into a movie like this, they’re kind of waiting to see, what is Kurt Russell going to say to Chris Pratt? And he was like, ‘If there’s not an honesty here and if we can’t determine something that I really would say to you, if we can’t root that in some kind of reality for ourselves, it might not work that well.’ So in rehearsal, we found a really great way to come from a place of absolute truth in the way we deal with one another in this movie. So, it’s not exactly the same, and I don’t wanna spoil too much about the nature of their relationship because that’s so much of the journey of this movie, but it’s definitely honest.
How does Starlord evolve in this film? How is he different from the first film?
Well, I mean, we’re picking up a couple of months after the first movie so there was a certain evolution that happened with him in the first movie and it was important to all of us that we don’t move backwards and all of a sudden start where he was at the beginning of the first movie and just tell that story over again. So, he definitely feels a responsibility, feels like he’s a leader, but it’s still a group of misfits. He still has to deal with Rocket, and he still has to deal with Drax and Gamora, and the way that it is. There’s still a lot of fun to be had there. He certainly doesn’t have a mastery on how to be a leader of this group. But I think he feels like the leader of this group at the beginning of this.
Has messing with the Power Stone done anything at all to him?
It plays a certain role. His interaction with the Infinity Stone in the first movie becomes – there’s a thread there that gets pulled in the second movie, like you get to know a little bit more. But yeah, that wasn’t an unimportant aspect of who he is.
We’ve heard a couple tracks from the Awesome Mix Volume 2. How does it compare to the first one and what does it say about where Peter’s at in this movie?
Oh, man. I mean, it’s totally different but also the same, you know? It’s a collection of really great songs. James is a fantastic curator for that kind of music. Also, it’s probably better because we have more money. [Laughs] You know, we get cooler songs! We didn’t have to search through as much obscure stuff. Although there is some pretty obscure stuff. There’s some really powerful, amazing songs that we’re really excited to have. Definitely still very honest and as a narrative tool, there’s never a moment that the music isn’t justified and isn’t a part of the storytelling process. It’s not just an accompaniment or a score. It’s like the songs more so in this movie, it really helped tell the story.
Do you feel empowered due to how the audience responded to the first movie? Coming into this as a creative team do you feel like, hey, people really liked what we were trying so we can push it further?
Totally. It’s a different type of pressure that we’re under now. Before the pressure was, ‘No one knows you. What’s it gonna be like to be the first Marvel movie that fails?’ You know? [Laughs] I can’t even tell you how many times I answered that question. I was like, ‘Oh, god! This is not looking good!’ So that pressure is off because it’s like, ‘Hey, we’ve got a built-in audience. People really liked it!’ But I think the pressure we’re feeling now is, how do we do the same thing in terms of wowing an audience, getting people to come in and have their expectations defied, and to come in expecting one thing, not knowing what they want but getting what they want, you know? Come in thinking they know what they want, but they leave having got what they want, but it wasn’t what they wanted to begin with, do you know what I mean? So we are doing that in this movie. The pressure is on now to do the same thing, which is surprise you, and do something different. So in a way, there’s a pressure because a lot of times people when they make a sequel, they just play the hits. They’re like, ‘Let’s tell the exact same story, strip it down, replace the jokes with new jokes, replace the bad guy with a new bad guy, tell the same exact story, but just in a different way.’ And that totally works fine, but that’s not what we’re doing at all with this movie. So, it hopefully will – you know what, I’m gonna go ahead and shut up so that I can be a proactive part in defying your expectations. [Laughs]
Going back to the music, you talked about the music being really important to the movie and having an emotional impact. We heard music playing as you guys were performing on set. Is James doing that in a lot of scenes?
That’s an example of looking at what really worked in the first movie, just creatively for us, and we did that from time to time. I love it and James is really open to it, and so we’ve been doing that more this time than we did the first time around. But they definitely were playing – in the first movie we were listening to “Cherry Bomb” when we were walking down that hallway. Those songs were really playing and a lot of the score was playing. Like the scene where Groot is protecting us in his cocoon before we crashed into Xandar, they were playing the score there so we understood the sacrifice Groot was making, we’re feeling the power of that emotional song and that score, and so that stuff really worked. And so creatively, there’s things that we can look back on and think, ‘Wow, that really worked!’ We have those tools in our bag and we’re using them as often as we can, or as often as we want.