Director James Gunn has been on a roll with the pre-production of Guardians of the Galaxy in recent weeks, most recently casting former Walking Dead star Michael Rooker. There are still some more shoes to be filled, but there isn’t too much time left to round out the cast seeing as how shooting starts in June. In a way he’s literally under the “Gunn” on this one.
All bad puns aside, the director of Marvel‘s “standalone film” took a breather and attended the UK premier of another Marvel franchise, Iron Man 3, in London, England, which is, coincidentally, the same location of Shepperton Studios where James is currently preparing to film. While there between the red carpet and the theater, Gunn took time to have a chat with HeyUGuys. He addressed comparisons to Star Wars, casting choices and how Guardians is different than the other Marvel films. As usual, James answers everything in his own special little way.
Read on after the jump for more.
When Gunn was asked about the casting of Michael Rooker as Yondu he plays it off as an afterthought, even poking a little fun at the actor and friend saying:
“Michael Rooker is my very good friend, he was here visiting me in England and we were hanging out. He was here playing with my dog and having a good time. He’s got a new, little Mohawk that looks ridiculous on him, but yeah, he’s here and hopefully we’ll get something going. Michael’s been in two of my movies, we’ve done two movies together, two reality shows, a short film, so I don’t think it would be crazy to think he would be involved in Guardians in some way.”
One of the roles left to be filled is Gamora, last of her species and the “deadliest woman in the whole galaxy”. The role is in talks to be filled by Zoe Saldana, though Gunn would only answer that one as a “maybe”, teasing what could already be her involvement. However, he did go on to praise lead Chris Pratt quite a bit.
“Everybody knows Chris Pratt is in the movie, and I saw maybe 80 to 100 guys read for Peter Quill. I was very specific that I wanted it to be somebody really extraordinary. I really had Robert Downey Jr in mind a lot. You had this guy who came in and he inhabited Tony Stark, when you first saw Tony Stark he blew your mind, you couldn’t believe what you were seeing. I knew that I needed somebody to blow my mind like that. We saw a lot of very famous guys for the role, a lot of very well-known people, and very, very good actors. We saw a lot of good performances, but it wasn’t until Chris came in and he read and I was like, ‘oh my God’, this guy has his own, very particular, amazing take on the character that blew my mind, blew me away. Then I thought, this is the first guy I could see sharing the screen with Robert Downey Jr and giving him a run for his money.”
One casting choice that relies heavily fan approval to work is Rocket Raccoon, a character that James is invested in. And by the sound of things it has become the most sought after role.
“I think there’s – here’s the thing: there are a lot of people who have a lot of ideas of who is right for Rocket Raccoon. Rocket Racoon has been slightly different over the years, in the comic books, and within my scripts he is a very, very specific guy, and I think people are going to have to wait for a few weeks before they see [who will be cast]. We’ll get our dream guy, because a lot of people want to do it, so we’ll get the person who’s perfect for the role.”
Speaking of perfect for a role, another guy that James has been pleasantly impressed with is Dave Bautista, the former WWE wrestler turned MMA fighter turned actor. As far as him taking on the role of Drax the Destroyer, Gunn had this to say:
“We haven’t really come out with our cast, people have gotten hold of some things, but I will say one thing: Dave Bautista is one of the most naturally gifted actors I have ever seen in my life. The guy has access to his emotions in a way that I have seen very few people able to do, and if he did get the role of Drax – I’ll tell you, nobody else was ever offered that role, at all; anything you heard about that is bullshit, and if he did got the role it’s 100% because of his ability to access his emotions, more so than anything else. And it just so happens that the guy was created in the cast of Drax when he was born, he looks just like Drax.”
People have been pointing out the similarities in the promotional artwork to that of what we’ve seen done with Star Wars. Like most things though, at least to James, it’s coincidence and he doesn’t see it the same way that others do.
I do think we’re very, very different from Star Wars. Some of the concept art that came out is under my tutelage, and some of it is before my tutelage. The concept art that came out is only stuff that was on the big Marvel collected disc set, talking about phase two and it had some stuff from Guardians. Some of the art by Charlie Wen and the guys. The Rocket [Raccoon] that was by itself was an early version of my Rocket that I dealt with Charlie when developing. He doesn’t look so much like that anymore, but there’s a lot of similarities in that he’s more of a grounded, real little creature as opposed to a cartoonish thing.
Unlike other films in the line-up of the Marvel cinematic universe, Guardians of the Galaxy has the unique feature of being almost entirely set in space. So how does this compare to other films in the second phase of Marvel’s plan?
“In terms of a lot of stuff we’re very much like The Avengers, where it’s a very big, huge movie. It’s different because it’s cosmic, it’s in outer space, it’s very colourful. We have a whole history of science fiction behind us that we’re dealing with, and borrowing from, and also fighting with to create something unique. But at the same time there’s a lot of stuff it has in common with The Avengers.”
A connecting factor in Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers and other Marvel films though is Robert Downey Jr., or at least Tony Stark. The Marvel hero has been known to work alongside both teams in the comic book canon, does this mean we’ll see Downey suit up in some way before Avengers 2? Not exactly according to Gunn.
No. That just means that all our movies are connected, we’re created in a way that we’re very connected to the movies that came before us, we’re even more connected to The Avengers 2, that comes after us, and so in that respect, what we would hope is that these characters would continue, and that at some point in time they’ll all meet up with different characters throughout the galaxy.
Sounds a bit like Gunn wants to make the film stand out from everything we’ve already seen and are going to see in the future. As long as everyone stands their ground and all the right decisions continue to be made, Guardians of the Galaxy could be the type of standalone feature that Marvel excels at. Guardians of the Galaxy is slated to be in theaters everywhere August 1st, 2014.
Source: Comic Book Movie