We all know the story by now about Marvel taking a punt on Guardians of the Galaxy compounded by their bold decision to hire the cult-ish idiosyncratic director James Gunn to helm the movie (which turned out to be an absolute stroke of genius). The film opened huge (one of the biggest films of 2014) and a talking Raccoon with a big ass gun became a household name. Sometimes you just can’t predict how the public are going to take to a film, and it almost makes tracking techniques seem irrelevant (anyways, that is another topic for another time). Gunn has recently opened up about the development process of Guardians of the Galaxy, revealing how it all came together. In the wide-ranging interview, Gunn talks about the state of the script when he came onboard the tightly-cogged, well-oiled Marvel machine, and it all makes for a rather interesting read.
Among Gunn‘s main concerns was the fact he would have to leave his dog for a year, and according to the old adage that, dog is man’s best friend, that was out of the question – so he got to bring his dog along with him (there are loads of cute pics online, which you have all probably seen by now). So, canine issues aside, it turns out that one of Gunn’s biggest worries was not only finishing the script in time, but also polishing it to a standard – which was no doubt pretty high as Gunn seems pretty anal when it comes to the film-making process – that he felt he was comfortable directing it from. One would presume that when jumping on board a Marvel project of this magnitude, there would be some sort of finished treatment or script – that was not the case! Gunn explains that the third act wasn’t anywhere near complete, meaning that he had to retool the third act to introduce Rocket Raccoon and Groot, explaining that it wasn’t an easy process:
“Number one, I was afraid of the script, because there wasn’t a finished script at that time. As a director, I can think my way around problems; it’s a logical part of myself. As a screenwriter, I really feel at the mercy of the muse at times. And so sometimes I’m a good writer, sometimes I’m not that great a writer — and that’s something I was very afraid of. At that point, I wasn’t even hired as a writer. Somebody else was writing a draft of the script, so I was very afraid of how that draft was going to turn out and whether the screenplay was going to be good by the time we got to filming.
And I was also scared of bringing my dog to England! That was the other thing, because I had heard there was a quarantine, and I think Victoria liked me because I started to get teary-eyed at the thought of leaving my dog for a year. And she told me, “Oh, you don’t have to leave your dog — there’re new rules. You can bring your dog.” And I said, “Oh, thank God.”
So I think that early screenwriting stuff was the most daunting, and then of course, along the road, there became other things that were very difficult in screenwriting. Before I added Yondu, there was a different third act. That was very difficult. I would say in the editing phase — getting the first act could be a nightmare — was a very difficult process because I had to introduce so many characters in such a short amount of time and not have people completely bored by the time we got to Rocket and Groot at the mall. So that was a very difficult and daunting task. But for the most part, it was pretty smooth. I mean, listen, it was easier than other movies I’ve made — just longer.”
These revelation bring up a few interesting points! What if Gunn had came on board to tackle the project and the script was already finished and polished? Ultimately, if there was less input from Gunn, the film might not have turned out as good as it did, which is a pretty depressing thought. Guardians of the Galaxy has Gunn-isms all over it; it’s more of a James gunn movie than it is a Marvel movie. So thinking about it that way; the best Marvel movie is the one that is furthest away from the Marvel Cinematic Universe…(hmmm, perhaps Edgar Wright was the perfect director for Ant-Man afterall… food for thought I guess).
Obviously people are wanting to hear a rough idea of what Gunn has planned for the second part of the franchise. But, unfortunately, that ain’t gonna happen, as Gunn wouldn’t elaborate on much at all. What he did confirm was that the “whole story is written,” and he feels that the concept is “pretty strong” to carry the sequel (pretty strong? …that sounds slightly ominous coming from the man himself). Gunn also revealed that he isn’t planning on retreading familiar ground, and one of the essential ingredients in the film is that it will focus on taking the team forward:
“Really, it’s just about walking forward in an elegant manner. When you go forward with a group of characters, that means you have to go forward. And going forward means you’re understanding these characters in a new way, you’re developing a new kind of story about their lives and who they are and where they’re going. And if you’re doing that, if you’re walking forward, then you can’t just repeat what you did before. That’s going backwards. That’s not understanding the character.
I mean, no knock against James Bond — I love James Bond movies, and the Sam Mendes one [‘Skyfall’] is slightly outside of this, and “Casino Royale” is slightly outside of this — but basically, James Bond is a James Bond movie over and over and over again. The character never learns anything, and the character never does anything new. And that’s not a knock. It’s a really fun series. But that’s not what the Guardians are. The Guardians are going to continuously change. I think that some of the characters are probably worse than what we think they are, and other characters are better than what we think they are. It’s going to be interesting to learn a little bit about that as time goes on.”
What’s that you say? A director that actually wants to advance the plot and lives of his characters in meaningful ways instead of rehasing what has happened before? Blasphemy! It seems like Marvel’s head honcho Kevin Feige is giving Gunn a lot of creative freedom on the sequel, having already done so on the first movie, and they both seem to have developed a nice working relationship with each other. Overall things are shaping up nicely.
Do you like the sound of the way things are going in the sequel? Do you have faith that Gunn will deliver again on the second installment?
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is set to open May 5, 2017.
Via – Blastr