Posted on Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 by Peter Sciretta
Casting and Research
Karen Gillan was told even before she auditioned to be Nebula in the film that the actress who got the role would have to shave her head. She never thought she’d get the role so didn’t worry about it. Gillan performed her first audition using her native Scottish accent, but in the film she employs an American accent. James Gunn describes Karren as “Clint Eastwood on screen, Hello Kitty off”.
NBC and Marvel worked out Chris Pratt’s schedule before he inked his deal. NBC let him out for 6 episodes of Parks and Recreation so that he could do the film. Parks also came out to London and he did a couple episodes with them in the UK on his time off.
Chris Pratt says the prop department sent him a version of his gun because they wanted to see how the gun looked against his hand in a photo test. The whole time he was worried they would see the photo and fire him because he might not look good with the prop.
They auditioned a lot of actors and non-big-name voice actors for the role of Rocket Racoon. Gunn says he felt the voice actors generally turned out to be too cartoony, and most of the bigger name actors just didn’t get the voice right. But Cooper nailed it. Gunn is attracted to actors who can do both heavy drama and big comedy — that’s what attracted him to Bradley Cooper.
Bautista went up against Academy Award-nominated actors and won the role.
Chris Pratt read some of the newest Brian Bendis comics prior to meeting with James Gunn. The director told Chris to stop reading and ordered him not to read any more of the comics because he they are not recreating the comics.
Karen Gillan read the Infinity Gauntlet before she got her hands on the script.
Zoe Saldana didn’t read any of the comics before or after getting hired for the project. She also didn’t research Star Trek when she got hired for that film. Saldana didn’t want to imitate anything or feel restricted. She feels that her role is conceiving and finding the character is her job. For the role, Saldana studied bullfighters because she was fascinated with the dance of convincing a bull to run into its own death. She also thinks it’s important to have grace as a woman.
Dave Bautista went through a lot of fight choreography before they began filming. He rehearsed for two and a half months on a fight which also involves Star Lord because Gunn planned to shoot it in one single take. For some reason, that original choreography was completely changed and Bautista and Pratt had only one weekend to learn the new staging. That fight scene took 22 takes to nail. This is one of four major fight sequences Bautista is in.
For two months Karen Gillan had to train for an hour a day, every day, even when she wasn’t filming, for one specific fight sequence.
Kevin Feige has described Peter Quill/Star Lord as Han Solo meets Marty Mcfly.
Gunn didn’t want to explain too much in terms of the characters’ origins, so while we get glimpses of some of their backstories, there is also room to hopefully explore those stories in greater depth in future movies.
Peter Quill was taken from Earth at 9 years old. Star Lord is more informed by who he was on Earth and what was taken from him as a kid. What he’s missing and lacks, he needs to find over the course of the movie. We find Peter Quill on a quest to escape, the same way a lot of people are on Earth. But he has a lot of hope in him, the same kind of hope you get when you buy a lottery ticket. He learns through the course of the movie that that’s not where you’ll find happiness.
When we meet the lethal alien assassin Gamora in this story, she is part of a family of bad guys. What saves her is that she always tries to do the right thing. Gamora finds Quill interesting but thinks he’s a douche. She thinks Drax is a drama queen and can’t shut up.
Saldana likes that the story starts off with all the members of the Guardians as “lost kids”. Rocket had a lot of alterations done to his body, Quill lost his mom and was abducted at a young age. Drax lives only to avenge the death of his wife and daughter. That is his only motivation. Bautista describes the main characters as “such a jaded band of misfits, except for Groot.” But they eventually find a reason to live that’s bigger than them. James says that the story is “about a group of people who realize they aren’t the pieces of shit that they thought they were.”
James Gunn gave Rocket a lot of heart and made him more than just a cartoon. He has an inner pain which the audience should sympathize with. Gunn’s brother Shawn Gunn played Rocket on set, and Bradley Cooper was hired later to voice the character in post production. Dave Bautista said its a shame Shawn won’t be able to voice the role as he’s putting so much into it. Shawn Gunn also plays Michael Rooker’s sidekick in the film.
Groot is able to grow and use his limbs in this movie. Gunn describes him as “a threatening and powerful dude, but also a puppy, and he’s more threatening than Rocket is.” As we knew, Groot doesn’t have much dialogue in the movie; he says “I am Grot,” and that’s it. In the movie Groot is the only friend Rocket has, but Rocket doesn’t treat him well in return.
Nebula is a lieutenant of Ronan the Accuser, and daughter of Thanos. She is brainwashed by these people since birth but it’s her goal to be as strong as possible. She is fighting to not have any emotions, it’s an eternal struggle to be as strong as she can be. The character takes herself way too seriously. Nebula is so jealous as a person and there is a lot of sibling rivalry with Gamora.
Ronan The Accuser sports a hood and a cloak. Lee pace’s costume could be described as a medieval samurai alien. He weilds a hammer staff with a glowing icon at the top. We saw concept art of Ronan bowing to a screen featuring a communication with Thanos. Many of the people we talked to on set claimed they don’t know how much of Thanos we’ll see in the film even though we saw concept art and maquettes of him around the stages.
A ton of the characters from the comics appear in this movie in little tiny roles. Everything needed to be run by legal. Gunn is certain that this film features the most Marvel characters in a Marvel live action movie, times four. Some of the character names are far stretches from what they were in the comics, but there are a lot of small roles fans know from the comics.
Benicio Del Toro plays the Collector, first seen in the Thor: The Dark World end credits scene. The Collector has an amazing lab that the fans of the comics will certainly dig as its filled with tons of fun easter eggs. One thing we will see in the Collector’s vault is Cosmo the space dog, a dog in a space suit — a former test animal of the Soviet Space Program. We will see pieces of the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe pop up in this movie.
James Gunn’s dog will be in the movie somewhere. He has taken photos of the dog on every set and with almost all the cast, some of which he has posted online.
Some of the concept art on the walls showed Badoon troops, which are hired to work for Ronan. The Badoon are a reptilian alien species from the comics, but unfortunately 20th Century Fox owns the rights to the characters. So the Badoon troops have been replaced with the Sakaarans, another alien race from Marvel comics.
The species is split into two ethnic groups such as the red skin Sakaaran Imperials and the grey skin Shadow People. The red skins are the ruling class whilst the grey skins live as nomadic warriors or in small villages around the planet.
The Sakaaran troops wear creepy faceless masks made of an organic-looking shell material, which is also used to create their weapons and ships. Without a mask, the Sakaaran look like men, if the front of a man’s face was ripped off from the roof of his nose to his chin. We saw a sculpt of this design.