By Nur Hussein, staff writer
Most of the primary cast of Guardians of the Galaxy — along with director James Gunn and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige — stopped by the Yahoo! campus in Sunnyvale, California on Tuesday night to have a Q&A about the new film. Questions were forwarded from Tumblr, and from the audience of Yahoo! staff in attendance.
James Gunn was asked about the audition process. Gunn said he had a list of actors: Zoe Saldana was his #1 choice for Gamora. Dave Batista blew him away as Drax, and Gunn joked he had considered Pee Wee Herman and Pauly Shore for Star Lord and all he ended up with was Chris Pratt. He later admitted that his casting director pushed for Pratt to get an audition with him, and she snuck him into a session and Pratt got chosen within “20 seconds.”
When asked about reading the Guardians comics, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Dave Batista said they hadn’t actually read any of it, but Pratt was familiar with the comic from a friend, and he loved the artwork. Saldana’s 12-year-old nephew educated her on the comics lore. Bautista did not read any comics, but he does love superheroes in cartoons, tv, and movies. Even when he got pitched for the movie, he had not heard of Guardians of the Galaxy before.
Gunn said he sat down with Saldana and talked about her character, Gamora, and made sure she was an interesting, fully fleshed-out female character. Bautista is nothing like Drax; he’s quiet and soft-spoken. Kevin Feige was asked how it was making a movie from a largely unknown comic, so he said he had a lot of freedom to work with the material since it was relatively obscure property.
Chris Pratt was asked about his mask, and he explained that he had a lot of trouble with it; it was clamped onto his head so the wind machines wouldn’t blow it off. It was uncomfortable and tough to film, and Saldana commented how Pratt lost his peripheral vision with the mask on and it made for a few funny moments during filming. Saldana calls them “mask moments.”
Saldana was asked her makeup routine, and said she took four to five hours a day to put the makeup on. It was okay because Bautista and Karen Gillen needed more time for their makeup, and despite being grumpy in the mornings she had to behave.
Gunn said he never thought of this movie as a “superhero film,” but more of a space epic, like The Empire Strikes Back, even though the characters are “kind of like” superheroes.
Someone commented that Chris Pratt’s transformation from a chubby guy to the buff Star Lord was inspiring, and asked for some tips. Pratt said all you need to do is “cut the crap from your diet” and spend an hour a day doing something physical, and you’ll make substantial progress (and perhaps ask the help of a trainer or a nutritionist). There was also a comment from a fan saying Pratt’s abs might be an attraction for some folks to come see the movie, which he laughed off.
James Gunn was asked why Rocket Raccoon had been given Bradley Cooper’s voice instead of someone British, and Gunn replied it was because he imagined Rocket to sound a lot like him. Also, Gunn said Cooper has comedy chops (Rocket says a lot of funny things), and has the ability to give the character emotional depth and not sound “like Bradley Cooper.”
Bautista was asked if his character was like his WWE persona, and he replied that he’s trying to be a serious actor and move away from the WWE image that people associate him with.
Feige was asked about the tone of the movie, whether or not it was an irreverent comedy, and Feige replied that while it is certainly one of the funniest movies Marvel has done, it also has a lot of emotional depth. Gunn then criticizes modern tentpole movies of containing too much empty brooding or just explosions without any meaning or depth.
Chris Pratt was asked how his Parks and Rec co-stars think about his newfound movie stardom, and he replied, quite emotionally, that he has gotten nothing but love and support from them.
Then, a Tumblr user named “Butt Doctor” (for real) asked the cast how they felt about seeing their own action figures. Bautista replied it made him feel like a little kid, and Pratt said, “I’m going to have to see Butt Doctor later to remove mine, I love it so much.” Well played, Chris Pratt.
James Gunn said making a Marvel movie had less pressure behind it than his other works, just because he knows audiences already know the brand. Kevin Feige was asked how closely he works with his directors, and he replied that it’s a collaborative process but he couldn’t be on set most of the time because they make more than one movie at a time.
A Tumblr user asked via video what the cast’s most memorable moments were, and Saldana said lunchtime (she was on the set for a long time due to makeup), Bautista just enjoyed watching the other cast members interact, and Pratt enjoyed an impromptu dance-off on camera (it will be on Blu-Ray).
There were two separate questions on the soundtrack of the movie, on whether or not it influenced the production and why they chose such ear-worms. Gunn replied that he’s been listening to it in the editing room for a year over and over, and it’s a bit hellish. Also, he likes paying attention to the music and sound of a film because of the movies he loved as a kid like Star Wars or Jaws had such awesome soundtracks. Gunn worked with his composer Tyler Bates and recorded huge portions of the score before filming and played it back on-set as they were filming, to get everyone in the right kind of mood.
A guy who had seen an advance screening of the film asked whether some of the references were just easter eggs or were they planning to go somewhere with them in future movies. Gunn was coy about this and just said there were “possibilities.”
The cast was asked how it was like acting with CG characters, and Pratt replied that for interaction shots, there were actors in green jumpsuits standing in for the CG characters, and helping them interact. Saldana lamented that it was hard to look in the right place sometimes, and VFX guys had to tell her where to look. Gunn thought some of the green-jumpsuit filming sequences were hilarious.
After a brief question on whether or not they used any Yahoo! products (Gunn has a Yahoo! app on his phone), the session ended.
We’re super-excited for the opening! Is it August 1, yet?
Nur is a tinkerer of programmable things, an apprentice in an ancient order of technomages. He enjoys fantasy, sci-fi, comic books, and Lego in his spare time. His favourite authors are Asimov and Tolkien. He also loves Celtic and American folk music. You can follow him on twitter: @nurhussein