Escape from New York Prequel

You talk about connecting the dots from some of the earlier characters you’ve played.

Kurt Russell: They’re performances. The characters could’ve been played many different ways. The fact that I played them the way I played them, that’s what I’m talking about. You could’ve played Jack Burton a thousand ways, but I chose to play him that way. That was what I saw.

Is that informing what you’re doing here, in some sense?

Kurt Russell: It informed why they wanted me to be here. Yeah, that’s very fair to say. And we do things, we get to work all day long, and instead of the director going, [Laughs] “Okay, now let’s…..” I actually think that’s the way to do it. I think that’s actually funny, and also kind of pathetic and kind of real and blah, blah, blah. Well, yeah, Quentin Tarantino, John Carpenter, Ron Howard, Bob Zemeckis. Those are those great guys, and Mike Nichols, they always made me feel verified in the way I was going about things, you know?

But, and other things, when especially critics at the time would look at the movie or not understand why something’s cool or that’s funny, don’t you get that? So you know, sometimes it was hard to keep my own course and be criticized for it. And some of those people that work with you, to watch them kind of – I’m talking about agents and things like that – watch them and kind of go, “You know, we could go down this other road, where you play this same character four or five times and the studio knows how to sell you.” Yeah, I got that. I don’t want to do that. I can’t breathe, if I do that.

So now? It’s fun. I’m just in a period of time where I’m getting to play characters that are really fun. And yeah, it’s a bit of an opportunity to take advantage of the way I created some guys in the past that you guys, the people your age are more in tune with. You understood it. I mean, I sat there and listened to studio heads after watching a performance and go, “I don’t get it. He’s not that good at what he does. Kurt is not really that good at what he does.” And I’d look at John [Carpenter] and like, “Well, you’ve got it.” But you know, I have no animosity. It’s not bad. It’s just like, I guess sometimes it takes a while for it to be seen or something. I don’t know. It feels good, though.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 - Kurt Russell as Ego the Living Planet

What do you think is the most fun about playing this character?

Kurt Russell: He’s 360 degrees of a human being. We all are capable of many different emotions and behaviors and thoughts and abilities and the way we sometimes respond to something is just very, it could be very, very different. You can one day feel this way, and the next day, feel that way. The fun part is that you have a director who really knows what he wants in terms of the storytelling and he’s obviously not afraid to play around. He’s encouraging that and he’s encouraged these people to do that. I mean, look at the broad characters they play. And then, along comes this character, who they’re all going to be dealing with, especially Peter. And he invites that into the room, too. And so, when you’re the actor who’s being invited to play in that sandbox, yeah, I’m your guy. Let’s go have fun. Let’s go put a lot of different possibilities in there for you to play with when you get in the editing room.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 trailer breakdown

Is there a character that you don’t cross paths with in the movie, that you wish you got to work with?

Kurt Russell: Well, I get to work with everybody. There are some that it would be fun to be able to work more with. But I was talking with Chris the other day, and I was saying, “You know, the really fun part about this is that you and I really get to work together on this movie.” You know, a lot of times you’ll be looking forward to the opportunity to work with somebody, an actor, an actress. And sure enough, you get that opportunity and you’re not in the same scenes, and you’re kind of like, the audience I think sometimes thinks, “Oh, this is going to be an opportunity for these two people. Yeah, I want to see them.” And you never really see them together. That could be disappointing.

That’s not the case here, and the case especially with Chris. We really work a lot together and we did many different scenes together. And that gives you the opportunity to play them many different ways. And because they both know their universe so well, it was fun for me to be able to sort of come in and go, “Okay, well, here’s where I’m going on this one,” and then be able to just turn it around on another take. And never could they go, never would they go, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, how does that work?” That didn’t happen because I understood it and I understood what James was—what he’s going for. He’s a really good writer and really astute audience and director. And he doesn’t shy away from all different kinds of true emotions, you know, heavy loading it in terms of real emotions, then coming off of that. And in different scenes, we do a lot of that. And so, hopefully it’ll be as entertaining as it is fun to do.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 trailer breakdown

When we meet your character, where is he in his life? Is he fighting?

Kurt Russell: I’m looking for Peter.

So you’re on a quest to find him when we meet him?

Kurt Russell: Looking for him.

Is Peter his only kid?

Kurt Russell: I can’t answer that. You know, there may be some Marvel answer to that, that I don’t—you’ve got to understand, you’re talking to someone who’s not—I’m not, I never was. I just like movies and stories and stuff, so I don’t happen to be an aficionado.

Does the movie explore a little bit about what brought this character to earth in the first place, the father, or what he’s been doing the last couple of decades?

Kurt Russell: I’m not going to [answer that]…

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 trailer breakdown

When you enter the film, you’re with Pom, with Mantis. Could you talk about the relationship between your character and Mantis, and can you?

Kurt Russell: Yeah, what she is to me? That’s not good, actually. No. It’s so hard. It really is. It’s really weird, and it’s great fun to talk about. That’s what’s tough about it. I don’t think I should. I don’t think I should. I mean, she’s an important player, and her relationship to me and to the movie is an important one, so they’re all important. He knows the rocks he’s lifting, and put that back underneath there and we’ll get to that in the third act. He’s got a very full painter’s palette. It’s very intricate. It’s pretty intricate. You’re going to kind of go, “Wait a minute. That means if that person’s that and that person’s over there, that means too late.” It’s like, whoops. Shit. So he makes you watch and think and points to the future a little bit and says, “There’s a lot to this story and to these relationships.” And unfortunately, I can’t answer your question, really.

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