Director James Gunn Talks GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, the Film’s Theme, Why Rocket Is the Heart of Picture, Casting Decisions, and More

     May 16, 2014

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Earlier today, Marvel released a cool new poster for Guardians of the Galaxy, and now a new interview with director James Gunn has landed online.  I was a big fan of Marvel’s decision to hire him, and in the interview, he says it probably helped that he wrote a 20-page document after meeting with the studio, and he could see the picture so clearly.  “There were about eight guys in the beginning, and then there were five guys, and then two guys, and then there was just me. Which was pretty great,” says Gunn.  And if you’re worried that Gunn’s irreverent, twisted tone might get watered down for a summer blockbuster, you can rest easy.  “When I turned in my first draft to Marvel, they were really happy with the screenplay, which of course I was overjoyed with,” says Gunn. “The only comment that they had is that they just wanted it to be ‘more James Gunn’, and that’s what I did. I said ‘It’s your funeral!'”

Hit the jump for more, and click on the respective links for the film’s new poster, character descriptions, Steve’s interview with star Chris Pratt, and behind-the-scenes imagesGuardians of the Galaxy opens in 3D on August 1st.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-movie-posterGunn has said in the past that Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) “is the heart of the movie,” and Digital Spy asked him to elaborate on that:

It really means that this is a movie that has a talking raccoon in it, and it’s very important that it is not the Avengers with Bugs Bunny in the center of it. It’s really important that Rocket is a real creature, and I love him, and he is the heart of the movie. He’s the most representative of the Guardians in that he is this mangled beast that was taken and experimented on and torn apart and put back together, and we have to feel that character’s soul. If we feel that character’s soul and we know him and we love him, we see his plight and see why he is such an angry little guy, then the movie will work.

This being “put back together” also ties into the movie’s theme as Gunn explains:

I think this movie is just about family – they’re a bunch of people who don’t have a family and they learn to love each other. Some of them are heroes and some of them aren’t at the end of this movie. And I think this is a movie about giving a s**t. We live in a world where not giving a s**t is the coolest thing, and that’s what kids are taught, and this is a movie that shows it is really okay to give a s**t.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-chris-prattRegarding the unlikely choice of Chris Pratt as the movie’s main hero, Gunn reveals that he wasn’t sold at first, but there was no question once he saw the actor’s audition:

I was really looking for somebody who was like Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man, somebody who could come along and inhabit this character and add something to what was already there. I didn’t want to see Chris because I didn’t think he was right for the role – I knew him a little bit from Moneyball and I knew him as the chunky guy in Parks and Rec. it seemed ridiculous to see Chris Pratt…but he read and about 20 seconds into it I knew he was the guy.

As for casting Karen Gillan as the villainous Nebula, Gunn was effusive in his praise for the actress:

When Doctor Who people auditioned for the movie I would be sure to watch those auditions right away, and I saw Karen’s name come up, and I watched it and kind of flipped out, frankly. I liked her on that show, but she is a really amazing actress. I’ve got to say – Chris’s reading and Dave’s reading were amazing in terms of those characters meeting those personalities, but in terms of the very, very best reading of anybody throughout this entire process, it was Karen reading for Nebula…Karen was the person I fought the hardest for.

Guardians of the Galaxy will be the last Phase Two film before Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Here’s how Gunn compares the two groups:

We fit in, we are Marvel-cosmic, just the outer space wing of Marvel and it is pretty fun. I think of the Avengers as The Beatles and the Guardians are the Rolling Stones. That is really how I feel about the groups.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-zoe-saldana-bradley-cooper-chris-pratt-vin-diesel-dave-bautista

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