Director James Gunn has the toughest job among Marvel’s Phase Two films. That’s not to diminish the work happening on Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy has the most outlandish cast, and will require a ridiculous amount of effects work considering the team includes two green people (Drax the Destroyer and Gamora), a giant-tree man (Groot), and a talking, gun-toting Raccoon (Rocket Raccoon). The film has already cast Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, a character who was born of a human mother and alien father.
Bringing the completely alien characters to life is going to be a tall order, but executive producer Victoria Alonso recently talked about how they’ll handle Groot and Rocket Raccoon. Hit the jump for more. Guardians of the Galaxy opens in 3D on August 1, 2014.
Speaking to Cinema Blend, Alonso says that they’re already working on the visual effects, and filming is set to begin in June. Here’s what Alonso had to say on how they’re handling Rocket Racoon and Groot:
You can’t do any motion capture with a raccoon – they won’t let you put the suit on [laughs]. But we will do rotomation, probably, for some of the behavior. Rocket will have his own personality, of course, and clearly we can’t do mocap on a tree, per say, but we definitely will have performers to emulate what James Gunn will lead to be the behavior and the performance. He’s very clear on where he wants to take the characters.
First off, you can do motion capture with a raccoon. You’re just not trying hard enough. For those of you who are unfamiliar with rotomation, it’s a method of tracing the performer rather than a from-scratch animation. I’m not sure what they’re planning to rotomate (the character’s movements, perhaps?), but bringing Rocket Raccoon to life will probably be one of Industrial Light and Magic’s greatest challenges.
As for Groot, it doesn’t sound like the actor who gets cast will be the one doing the motion capture since Alonso mentions “performers”. We’ve kind of seen tree-people before with the ents in Lord of the Rings, but I’m sure Gunn will be taking his tree-man in a different direction, and I’m eager to see what that will be.