Djimon Hounsou Talks GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, Working With James Gunn, and Being Part of the Marvel Universe

     August 18, 2013


At this weekend’s press junket for the romantic comedy Baggage Claim, Collider got the opportunity to chat with actor Djimon Hounsou about his role as the wealthy and exotic businessman, Quinton Jamison, who is one of the exes that flight attendant Montana Moore (Paula Patton) decides to track down and reconnect with.  While we will run the full interview and what he had to say about working on the film closer to its September 27th release date, we did what to share what he had to say about what he’s currently shooting – the latest Marvel action-adventure epic Guardians of the Galaxy, in which he plays Korath the Pursuer.

During the interview, Hounsou talked about how important it was for him to show some diversity in a superhero movie, how fun and entertaining Marvel movies are to watch, how alive the creative process is with the film, how he feels like he’s in a different part of the galaxy when he’s on set, working on a combination of both soundstages and outdoor sets, and why he wanted to voice Black Panther for an animated series.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Djimon-HounsouCollider:  At Comic-Con, you talked about how important it was for you to be a part of Guardians of the Galaxy because of your son’s recognition of the lack of diversity in superhero movies.  Does that make it extra exciting to be a part of the film and to be working on that now?

DJIMON HOUNSOU:  The lack of diversity, specifically in genre films and the superheroes our kids grow up watching and emulating, they can’t really identify with.  When you see the same thing, over and over again, and it seems not to speak of you and your heritage and your culture, it leaves you out of this world, a little bit.  It gives a certain social distance with your world.  So, it was very shocking when my son said that.  It shocked me, but at the same time, it was not a surprise.  It’s one of those things that even I have been looking for.  I’m looking for a hero of my kind, and I’m looking for a shero of my kind.  Now, we have Zoe Saldana, who is a shero for minorities, and that’s kind of nice. 

What’s it like to be a part of the Marvel universe?

HOUNSOU:  We like to make the Marvel comics films because they’re fun.  Families can go see them together.  They’re entertaining.  They aspire to inspire, and that is cool.  At the same time, not all of us can identify and connect, necessarily.  But, Marvel movies are so much fun.  Those guys are creating fun stuff. 

guardians-of-the-galaxy-concept-art-finalDoes James Gunn change the script much on set, or do you not have that kind of creative freedom on such a big movie?

HOUNSOU:  I don’t really think, because it’s that expensive, it’s necessarily less free, as far as the creative freedom.  The creative freedom is still very much alive and existing, especially with genre films, because you can do that interpretation however you see fit.  It comes from a world that we are completely creating, from the ground up, and conceptualizing, from the group up.  So, it can go any kind of way.  Guardians of the Galaxy is a completely different world.  It has no place in this world.  Even for us, coming to set and looking at it, you go, “Wow!”  Every other day, you feel like you’re in a different part of the galaxy.  You don’t feel like you’re on planet earth.

Because you’re creating so much of it, are you mostly on a soundstage, or have you also been shooting out on location?

HOUNSOU:  We’re mostly on a soundstage, but some sets were built on the outside.  We’re in a space world.  It’s pretty cool.  It’s really fun.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-imageDid your son also inspire you to do a voice for How to Train Your Dragon 2?

HOUNSOU:  Yes, definitely.  Also, I so desperately wanted to do Black Panther (for Marvel animation and BET) because I felt like it was time for it.  If you look at the world of comic books, Black Panther is one of the characters whose continent and country was always being invaded and he was always trying to defend it.  He’s kicked everybody’s ass, really.  All those superheroes who have come, at one point in time, to try to invade his country in Africa for minerals, he’s kicked most of their asses.  But, that’s part of the story we don’t want to tell yet.  I thought it was fun, and that it would be great for my son to see that.  He did see it and he said, “Papa, that sounds like you!  That’s your voice!”  It’s fun.

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