Posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 by Peter Sciretta
The Stars Behind The CG
James Gunn’s brother Sean Gunn played both Rocket Raccoon and Thanos on set, providing “the movements and behavior” of the characters during the filming. He wasn’t just a stand-in, but also provided improv during the scenes. James says his favorite line of the movie is probably “A bunch of jackasses standing in a circle” spoken by Rocket, an improv contributed during filming by his brother.
Josh Brolin plays Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy, and is expected to make more appearances in future Marvel Studios films. The character first appeared on screen in the end credits stinger for The Avengers, but at that time unknown actor Damion Poitier played the infamous part. If you’re interested about that history, read BlackFilm’s interview with Poitier.
While Sean Gunn played the character on set, Bradley Cooper voiced Rocket Raccoon during post production. When I talked to director James Gunn on set, he explained why Cooper was chosen for the role:
They tried to meet with Nathan Fillion, they tried to meet with a lot of different people. I think that you can see that in Bradley Cooper as much as anyone in the world. When we were looking for Rocket, it was hard because Rocket to me is really the heart of the movie. He’s this tortured little beast who’s completely alone in the world and has been torn apart and put back together and turned into this little thing—yet he’s still really funny. You need somebody who can do both sides of that, and it was really very, very difficult to find. I think Rocket’s voice is a little bit like mine in some way. He speaks very quickly, he’s got a little city in him and that’s something that Bradley Cooper has. To be completely frank, we auditioned a lot of actors for the role and we auditioned a lot of voice actors for the role, and we were completely 100% willing to go with somebody that was a no-name. A no-name’s a rude term, but somebody who was not a famous person. The truth is, the voice actors usually seem too cartoony and seemed like somebody out of a Pixar movie. The actors, it was hard to get just the voice right. Bradley is really the guy. He is the guy, he’s Rocket. There is a great feeling as I’ve been making this movie, with myself.
Director James Gunn has also revealed that he is the person behind the dancing Groot tree seen in the pre-credits sequence.
“Little spoiler for the audience, that tree dancing is me. I’m not motion-captured, but I’m motion-referenced and that is 100% me dancing… Honestly, that [scene] was supposed to be either mid-credits or end-credits, but when we showed it to the test audience, they loved it so much! We were like ‘We don’t want people walking out and missing this this,’ so we put it right there after the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Will Return’ thing.”
Peter Quill is abducted in the later 1980’s and the character surrounds himself with relics from that era of Terran popculture. But some of the references are less obvious than the stickers and figures he uses to decorate his spaceship, seen above.
For instance, director James Gunn has confirmed that Star-Lord’s spaceship is named the Milano after his childhood crush on television star Alyssa Milano (Who’s The Boss).
Sony TPS-L2 Walkman
Peter Quill’s Sony TPS-L2Walkman was introduced in the 1980s childhood-set Earth opening of the film. The piece of 1980’s technology set off a revolution in music much the same way as the introduction of the iPod decades later. The prop department had a hard time finding good quality Sony TPS-L2Walkmans for the film. The production bought the only 16 of this specific Sony Walkman that were listed on eBay over a 6 month period, and only 3 of the 16 actually worked. (Gunn told us they are now in the Marvel archives waiting for part two).
Quill refers to Kevin Bacon as a great hero on his planet, telling Gamora the story of the 1984 film Footloose:
Really? Well, on my planet, there’s a legend about people like you. It’s called Footloose. And in it, a great hero, named Kevin Bacon, teaches an entire city full of people with sticks up their butts that dancing, well, it’s the greatest thing there is.
The parody art above is the cover of Backstory Magazine this month. After seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, Kevin Bacon tweeted the following:
— Kevin Bacon (@kevinbacon) August 2, 2014
Peter Quill mentions that John Stamos was a legendary outlaw from where he’s from. The year before Quill was abducted, a show began airing on television called Full House wich featured John Stamos as “Uncle Jesse”, the Tanner’s cool Rock & Roll uncle who drove a motorcycle and played guitar. After seeing the film, John Stamos tweeted:
You don't wanna get mixed up with a guy like me. I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel. So long, Dott. #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy
— John Stamos (@JohnStamos) August 2, 2014
Our friends at Screenrant noticed the following two references to books:
- Peter Quill refers to Groot as “Giving Tree,” alluding to the classic 1964 children’s book by Shel Silverstein.
- Later Quill calls Rocket Raccoon “Ranger Rick”, a reference to the children’s nature magazine which featured illustrated short stories of an anthropomorphized raccoon ranger named Rick.
Near the end of the credits, a line on screen reads “No raccoons or tree creatures were harmed in the making of this film.”