Earlier tonight, director James Gunn and star Chris Pratt joined Marvel’s Kevin Feige in a half-hour Q&A on all things Guardians of the Galaxy. While you didn’t miss any new footage or surprise guests, the trio was surprisingly open in their answers to questions from both fans and AMC’s John Campea who moderated the event. Gunn described the film as being in “The Marvel flavor, but [having] a lot of old-school space opera about it.” He also shared a story about how Pratt almost missed on the audition for Star-Lord completely. The charismatic Pratt shared an anecdote of his own, and Feige teased a possible Easter egg in the films for fans of the comics. Hit the jump for the highlights.
Gunn, Pratt, and Feige all stressed the fun and originality of Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as the core of the story being all about the characters’ relationships and, at the end of the day, whether you really cared about the rag-tag bunch of anti-heroes.
Feige: “All of us at the studio wanted to do something new, wanted to do something original … Excited about doing something, frankly, that most people had never heard of.”
Gunn: “I do think that it is a completely original movie, and I do think that it is a character piece at the core of it … Finding actors that were specifically suited to doing each of those roles is what we needed to do … That’s what the Guardians are, an eclectic band of characters who come together for a single purpose.”
Feige, who said that all of the Marvel films have been a risk at the time they were made and Guardians is no different, also teased the film’s connection to the MCU at large:
Feige: “Couldn’t be more distant in geography to the other films. 99% of this movie takes place on the other side of the galaxy. Nevermind the themes and character interaction… there are a handful of characters you’ll see in this movie who will carry through to other films as threats to Earth.”
Gunn shared a story about auditioning people for the role of Peter Quill, revealing that he had no intention of seeing Pratt, but that his casting director set it up:
Gunn: “You know the story about how you came about, right? I didn’t want to see him audition. We went through a lot of people, and we saw a lot of really good actors. I was looking for somebody who inhabited the role, but really went beyond it, like Robert Downey Jr. for Iron Man. … I kept saying, ‘No, no, no.’ … He was maybe reading for 20 seconds, and I went, ‘Holy God.’ He was the one, I just knew it.”
Pratt: “It seemed fast, but it wasn’t, it was about 7 months. It’s fast considering how much weight I lost. But I grew up as a wrestler and did a lot of sports growing up. There’s a certain mindlessness to it that I like, you don’t have to think. And I’m great at that. … I literally worked my ass off. … It works because the guy’s a guy from a comic book. Look at those guys.”
Gunn also revealed an interesting factoid about himself:
Gunn: “I generally hate making movies. I feel driven to make films. I kind of like pre-production, and I kind of like post-production, but the actual making of the movie is kind of Hellish for me, but I actually enjoyed this film more than most movies.”
He went on to share some love with the production designers, the VFX team, and of course the folks at Marvel.
As for the characters in Guardians, the question of fan-favorite Cosmo was brought up:
Feige: “Rocket was always going to be the focus. But, fans of Cosmo will have to wait and see the movie.”*
Why “Hooked on a Feeling” for the trailer?
Gunn: “There’s a lot of things that people will find out when they see the movie. The song’s in the movie. We know about the Walkman. Quill has a Sony Walkman and that song’s on his mixtape.”
There are, obviously, more songs used in the film to make the story feel more grounded.
Feige: “It was less about them being smaller budgeted films, it was more about them being awesome, and very, very cool, and very, very clever … Slither is arguably a delicate tone; it’s a horror-comedy movie which is not easy to do.”
Gunn: “Tone is tone is tone. This is about the characters. … You have to fall in love with a talking raccoon and believe that he exists … Take these outlandish concepts, make it fun, but making it as believable as possible.”
Any difficult/challenging characters?
Feige: “It was every character, but at no point did we think there was an option to not do that. It was the reason to do the movie.”
Gunn: “Adding Yondu was a big deal. He has a more delicate superpower … If you believe who they are as characters and what their intentions are, then it works.”
Is there a character you didn’t have room for?
Gunn: “There’s a lot of them. There’s so many great characters. … There are some great original Guardians; I love Star-Hawk.”
Feige: “You don’t want to overload it, as we learned early on. Luckily, if the audiences decide they want more stories, we have a lot of characters to choose from.”
Gunn: “Bug was in early drafts, but never a main Guardian. Tantalus was in for a while … If we’re fortunate enough to make another film in the future, there’s plenty of characters to bring in. There are nods or teases to them in the film.”
Pratt: He’d try to choke slam Quill and then he would get shot. But he’d have a really great FBI memorial.
Will Star-Lord wear his mask and/or suit in Guardians?
Gunn: “Well, yeah. You can go online and see a lot of pictures.”
Pratt: “There’s a really cool practical mask that I wore. It was really badass. There are the most amazing props on this thing. It’s like the most amazing toy but it’s real.”
*They had some technical difficulties during the first day of shooting, in which Pratt’s lenses kept fogging up and the in-helmet mic kept cutting out, leading Pratt to go running around and smashing into things. Still seems like he had a lot of fun doing it.
How much did the Dan Abnett-Andy Lanning Guardians comic series inspire the film?
Feige: “Much of the line-up was inspired by that.”
Gunn: “Definitely, a lot of the movie, the humor, was inspired by Abnett-Lanning.”
On the trailer:
Gunn: “I shot the line-up stuff in pre-shoot so we’d have those VFX shots ready for a trailer and Comic-Con. When I first saw the trailer, I was blown away because it was so early. It captured the tone of the movie exceptionally well.”
Feige: “Some markets want to hide what the movie is, and we said, ‘Don’t do that.’”
*Only 12 days of shooting before the Comic-Con trailer aired.
Feige: “We don’t look at those post-credits scene as mandatory in any way. If we have something fun, we’ll add it. That’s part of the fun for sitting through the credits.”
Feige: “We build that in from the very beginning on the actor’s schedules, in the actual budget. … We always build in additional time for when a cool idea comes up. James has had some cool ideas so we’re going to get after that.”
*Marvel calls this “plussing”, like the extra scenes shot for Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World. There’s every possibility that not only will Gunn’s new ideas make it into an additional shoot, but that a rough cut shown to Joss Whedon might conjure up some connective tissue as well.
Why will audiences love Guardians of the Galaxy?
Pratt: “It’s fun, and it is exciting. It’s truly different than anything you’ve ever seen. It’s gonna knock your socks off. I think you’re gonna love it because you’re smart.”
Gunn: “Guardians of the Galaxy in the future is going to be used as psychological testing for schools.”
Feige: “With every movie that we make, we want them to be very unique and very different experiences. … With this one, we really set out to say, ‘We want to do something original.” I do think in a year when there’s lots of things seeming to pop up again and again, I think people are ready for something new and something fun.”
Approaching Guardians, did you want to see where it would go if the audience goes for it?
Feige: “We look at every movie like, ‘This is the last movie anybody will let us make ever.” … So that’s all we’ve been talking about, ‘What’s the best idea for this movie?’”
Gunn: “If there’s ever talk about doing more, it’s always from the excitement. We have so much cool stuff to do.” “The thing that I think people are going to love about it is, it’s a completely honest movie. There’s no BS about it … We’re totally sincere about this, we’re totally real; we’re the fans.”
Check out the full event below: