Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3: Pom Klementieff And Karen Gillan On The Stunts & Songs [Exclusive Interview]

It's the end of an era. "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is the final James Gunn film at Marvel Studios as he's moved on to head up the DCU with producer Peter Safran. The last outing of the Guardians team we know and love is going to be emotional for a lot of fans, and the team itself is in pretty rough shape when we find them. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) is still pining for the other version of Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), who died in "Avengers: Endgame," and this version doesn't have the same memories or interest in him. Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is having nightmares about his past, and everyone is still trying to come to terms with what they've been through over the past few years. 

As for Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff), they're starting to act more like sisters in terms of bickering than actual sisters Nebula and Gamora. I recently spoke to Gillan and Klementieff about their work in the film and saying goodbye to the franchise. They talked about the weird doll of Pratt that Gillan carries in a scene in the trailer and bringing in new cast members Will Poulter, who plays Adam Warlock; Chukwudi Iwuji, who plays the High Evolutionary; and Maria Bakalova, who reprises the role of sentient space dog Cosmo (in both voice and motion capture). They also spoke about their sibling-like relationship, and Gillan reveals a song she wishes made it onto the soundtrack.

Note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

'I remember lying down and closing my eyes and imagining that I was on a different planet'

Your characters have sort of developed a sibling relationship over the years. What has that been like to develop through these films?

Gillan: Oh, our relationship with each other on the screen?

On the screen, off the screen. Whatever you want to talk about. 

Klementieff: On-screen, the dynamic between Nebula and Mantis is, uh ...

Gillan: Turbulent.

Klementieff: Sucks. A little friction.

Gillan: Yeah, she gives you a hard time. I'm sorry.

Klementieff: But in real life, it's the opposite. 

Gillan: Yeah, she gives me a really hard time [laughs] ... No, we're friends. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding. 

That's so lovely! There's this one set in the film that, without spoiling anything, it seems ... I think "squishy" is the right word. I'd love to know what it was like to shoot on this sort of organic, squishy, gooey material.

Klementieff: Oh, when we were ... [mimes placing a hand on something soft] when you used your arms. Yeah. 

Gillan: [laughs] Yeah, that scene, yeah, it's kind of interesting. It felt like you were in the inside of something. Something's insides. But that doesn't sound very nice, does it? 

Klementieff: I remember lying down and closing my eyes and imagining that I was on a different planet. It was fun.

Ooh, yeah, it seemed sticky.

Klementieff: Took a nap in my spacesuit. 

Gillan: Yeah, and sometimes it felt quite nice on the walls when we got inside. You kept touching it, didn't you? One of the really squishy ones?

Klementieff: That was a different set. It was when you put your hand [on the squishy thing] and it's supposed to open a door ... it's so nice.

Gillan: They're like, "Will you stop touching the set?"

'Everyone involved has to be on their A game'

So you have a lot of fight scenes. Obviously, the fight scenes in this particular film are amazing. Do you have a shorthand now after all these films, in the choreography and how you work together?

Klementieff: We have an amazing stunt team. They're so good. And we spend time rehearsing the choreography, and then we need to get it right, and it's like so technical. So everyone involved has to be on their A game.

Gillan: The stunt coordinator was incredible, and we had this big fight sequence in this movie that all looks like one take. So we couldn't hide behind all the edits. We really needed to know it and be able to do it all the way through. So that was a challenge, actually. But it is an epic fight sequence.

Klementieff: It's so good!

So good! And there are obviously some new cast members, and you guys are like a family. So what was that like bringing in two new people that were part of the core?

Gillan: It's always nice to bring in new people.

Klementieff: But you also worked with Maria [Bakalova] before. 

Gillan: Oh, I worked with Maria in a movie called "The Bubble." So we were reuniting. 

Klementieff: We were in London together at the same time.

Gillan: Yeah, all three of us. We all stayed in the same building, actually. 

Klementieff: It was crazy! We got to shoot "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" together. And then Will [Poulter] ...

Gillan: He was great. It's nice to have another Brit in the building. 

Klementieff: And then Chuk [Chukwudi Iwuji] is incredible, too.

Gillan: Oh my god, what an actor. 

'I watched the movie twice, and it just gets better each viewing'

I don't always ask about set stories, but this is a James Gunn set, and I've been on a James Gunn set before. Were there any crazy stories you're allowed to tell us?

Gillan: That we're allowed to tell you?

Klementieff: Was there anything crazy?

Gillan: No. It's just us laughing at each other and ourselves, thinking we're hilarious. 

Can you guys look at this objectively now? Now that the shooting's done, now that the premier's happened, or is it still too soon?

Gillan: Look at the movie objectively?

Your whole experience.

Gillan: I think we'll definitely achieve more clarity the more distance we gain from it. Right now, we still feel like we're in it, and it hasn't totally ended because we're talking about the film every day. We're around each other every day. It's going to be quite sad when we're not, actually.

Klementieff: I watched the movie twice, and it just gets better each viewing. I would love to watch it again, actually. It's very rare because usually when I'm in a movie, I just want to watch it once, or twice, max. But this one is really, really, really special.

Music is such a huge part of this movie. I know at the press conference you both spoke about musical guilty pleasures, but was there a song that either of you would've liked to see in one of the soundtracks that didn't make it in? Or just something you think it would be really cool to have?

Gillan: "Killing in The Name Of," by Rage Against the Machine is my favorite song of all time.

I love that!

Klementieff: It's a good song.

Gillan: It's just so good to just release the rage.

Klementieff: It's a good workout song. I love to do sprints on that song. 

Gillan: Do you listen to it while you're working out? 

Klementieff: Yeah!

Is that a consensus, or Pom, do you have another one? 

Klementieff: I trust James with his taste in music. He knows more than me about music, so I just let him choose.

'Who's got it in their bedroom? Fess up!'

There's a great scene in the trailer where Peter's being carried, and I'd love to hear about shooting that.

Gillan: Yes. Well, obviously, I was not carrying him for real, because I looked pretty effortless in it, which I thought was a cool effect. But yeah, they had to create a doll of Chris Pratt for me to be able to carry.

Klementieff: It was incredibly realistic. It was actually scary. The first time we saw it, I could barely look at it because it looked like he was actually dead. Really dead.

Gillan: This thing had pores; it had tiny fuzz that a person has on their face.

Klementieff: It was incredible.

Gillan: The level of detail — I thought it was him! It was crazy.

Klementieff: And we wanted to film creepy or weird videos of it, and it was like, "You know what, it's so real that we can't even do that. It feels wrong."

I feel like someone must have, though. Someone must have posed it or something.

Gillan: Well, now we don't know where it is. That's a little alarming. 

Klementieff: That's weird!

Gillan: Who's got it in their bedroom? Fess up!

"Guardians of the Galaxy" will hit theaters on May 5, 2023.