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Did James tell you Jack Burton was an inspiration for Peter Quill?

Kurt Russell: Well, the thing is, when I saw the first movie, I watched it and I sat down with Goldie [Hawn] and I said, “Hey honey, I’ve got to watch this movie to see what this is they’re talking about.” And I told her, I said, “You know, a lot of people are calling me saying, ‘Are you going to play this guy?’ They’re all excited about it.” And she said, “Yeah, what’s that about?” And I said, “I haven’t any idea. I don’t know.” And so, she said, “Well, did you read the script yet?” I said, “I don’t really want to read it until I see this movie. And so, I want to see this first.”

And I don’t remember if I actually got to do it that way. I think maybe I ended up reading the script first and then saw the movie. But so, I sat down with Goldie, and yeah, I did read it first. And I thought, “Well, if I read this correctly, just the music choices alone tell me something, that he writes.” And so, we sat down, and within about three minutes of watching Chris, as soon as he kicked one of those lemmings, I went, [Laughs] “Okay. That’s cool. That’s my kinda guy. I know where that kind of goof comes from.”

And then I watched a lot of it, and I was like, “Okay, well, that’s three or four references to different things.” And I went, “Yeah, okay, I’m getting this correctly. I’m reading between the lines right.” And I thought, “Yeah, this is really fun.” When you read this script, there’s a lot, as an actor, to not understand what it’s going to look like. So it’s also a lot of fun to come here and get in the room with James, and then you walk in the room and you’ve got stuff on the wall and you go, “Ah okay. There we go, there, there, there, there. Oh, that’s what that is. Okay, I wondered about that. Oh there we go. There’s the spaceship, there’s the thing, there’s the planet. Okay.”

And that’s where the—okay, I’ve got it. And once I could do that, then I really started being able to look at what I was thinking, because you’ve got to get all that out of the way. You’ve got to get all that stuff out of the way so that you can just, on the day, just go into the room and literally throw everything away and just talk to the person you’re in the scene with, as you should, as the person you are. You’re no longer playing a character. You’re now that person.

Audiences are never going to see, the character I’m playing, they’re never going to see another version of it. They’re never going to see the takes that he chose not to use, let alone the actors he chose not to use. So the audience just sees what they see. You know, they see that. And that’s why it’s important, I think, to give him as many opportunities as he can to pick from things that’ll work for him. You have to have a lot of trust to do that, because you get burned a lot as an actor. You give somebody, you give some guy real free reign and he just doesn’t know how to edit it properly. It just comes out messed up.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - Mantis

We saw the concept art you were talking about for J’son’s ship.

Kurt Russell: The concept art?

Yeah. Was there a physical set for that? Is that fun for you?

Kurt Russell: There’s some of it, yeah, there’s some of it. It’s definitely more fun when you’re able to be there than in a room filled with a blue or a green screen, with orange dots on it. You know what it is, and throughout the years, like when we did The Thing, we had a lot of puppets on that. So there was a lot of live action stuff that you could rely on and you could see. But a lot of it was gobos with X’s, you know?

I used to say to John, “So this is when he’s like, really looking bad?” “Yeah, he’s really looking bad. Give me that again. Ah, he’s got big teeth and he’s got”—he’s, okay, he’s really bad, okay. And where is he? He’s about there. That’s about his mouth. There’s about his mouth and his eyes are up there. Okay. So you’re dealing with a lot of unknowns in that regard, but when you see some of the drawings here, it’s very helpful. And you know where you are. You know where you are in the room.


Is this your first space opera, spaceships, laser guns, all that?

Kurt Russell: You know, it’s funny, I’ve gotten to the point now where my character at one point, it all kind of goes together. I guess. I don’t remember doing one. Well, wait a minute. Hold on. Whoa, no. No. One time, I was in a movie that was really kind of reinventing all the sci-fi stuff, Stargate. That was a long, long space, when there was no sci-fi out there as a movie, and Stargate was a real surprise to the audience. It was really something that was real science fiction-y.

Is your character a fighter? Do you have weapons?

Kurt Russell: He’s a fighter, yeah.

Do you use your fists a lot or have a physical role?

Kurt Russell: He’s probably used just about every weapon you could conceive. Yeah, he’s an adventurous sort, yeah.

We get this great sketch of who his father is in the first movie, do you think that’s an accurate representation of who he is, based on what we know?

Kurt Russell: I do, yeah. Yeah.

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