James Gunn Talks GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Rumors; Confirms THE AVENGERS 2 Connection

James Gunn Talks GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Rumors; Confirms THE AVENGERS 2 Connection

Playing coy about recent casting reports, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn discusses Rocket Raccoon, Star Wars comparisons, Robert Downey Jr.’s rumored involvement and more.

Taking a break from pre-production over at Shepperton Studios, James Gunn, helmer of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy space epic, was pressed by HeyUGuys about the 2014 adaptation, at the UK premiere of Iron Man 3. Addressing the rumored involvement of Robert Downey Jr. and Star Wars comparisons, the director explains, and plays coy about, recent cast additions while also confirming a late-June start date and notable connection to Joss Whedon’s anticipated The Avengers sequel.

On the recent casting of Michael Rooker as Yondu:
Well, I didn’t say that. Michael Rooker is my very good friend, he was here visiting me in England and we were hanging out. He was here playing with my dog and having a good time. He’s got a new, little Mohawk that looks ridiculous on him, but yeah, he’s here and hopefully we’ll get something going. Michael’s been in two of my movies, we’ve done two movies together, two reality shows, a short film, so I don’t think it would be crazy to think he would be involved in Guardians in some way.


On what actor would be good for Rocket Raccoon:
I think there’s – here’s the thing: there are a lot of people who have a lot of ideas of who is right for Rocket Racoon. Rocket Racoon has been slightly different over the years, in the comic books, and within my scripts he is a very, very specific guy, and I think people are going to have to wait for a few weeks before they see [who will be cast]. We’ll get our dream guy, because a lot of people want to do it, so we’ll get the person who’s perfect for the role.


On recent concept art begetting Star Wars comparisons:
I do think we’re very, very different from Star Wars. Some of the concept art that came out is under my tutelage, and some of it is before my tutelage. The concept art that came out is only stuff that was on the big Marvel collected disc set, talking about phase two and it had some stuff from Guardians. Some of the art by Charlie Wen and the guys.
The Rocket that was by itself was an early version of my Rocket that I dealt with Charlie when developing. He doesn’t look so much like that anymore, but there’s a lot of similarities in that he’s more of a grounded, real little creature as opposed to a cartoonish thing.


On previous talk of filming with actual racoons for Rocket:
We did. I’ve done a lot of studying with real racoons, and we had real racoons come in. We’ve done photography with them, I’ve played with racoons, and fed racoons, and dealt a lot with real racoons to get some of the behaviour down, because it’s really, really important to me that Rocket Racoon, who is the heart of the movie, is not a cartoon character, it’s not Bugs Bunny in the middle of The Avengers, it’s a real, little, somewhat mangled beast that’s alone. There’s no one else in the universe quite like him, he’s been created by these guys to be a mean-ass fighting machine.


On Guardians being different from other Phase 2 films:
In some ways yes, but in some ways no. In terms of a lot of stuff we’re very much like The Avengers, where it’s a very big, huge movie. It’s different because it’s cosmic, it’s in outer space, it’s very colourful. We have a whole history of science fiction behind us that we’re dealing with, and borrowing from, and also fighting with to create something unique. But at the same time there’s a lot of stuff it has in common with The Avengers. How you define a superhero movie is very difficult. To say that Drax or Gamora aren’t super heroes, it’s difficult. Even Quill. They are superheroes in a way. I think it is a superhero movie.


On Zoe Saldana and what he can confirm cast-wise:
[smiling] Maybe. [laughs]. Everybody knows Chris Pratt is in the movie, and I saw maybe 80 to 100 guys read for Peter Quill. I was very specific that I wanted it to be somebody really extraordinary. I really had Robert Downey Jr in mind a lot. You had this guy who came in and he inhabited Tony Stark, when you first saw Tony Stark he blew your mind, you couldn’t believe what you were seeing. I knew that I needed somebody to blow my mind like that.
We saw a lot of very famous guys for the role, a lot of very well-known people, and very, very good actors. We saw a lot of good performances, but it wasn’t until Chris came in and he read and I was like, ‘oh my God’, this guy has his own, very particular, amazing take on the character that blew my mind, blew me away. Then I thought, this is the first guy I could see sharing the screen with Robert Downey Jr and giving him a run for his money.


On casting Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer:
We haven’t really come out with our cast, people have gotten hold of some things, but I will say one thing: Dave Bautista is one of the most naturally gifted actors I have ever seen in my life. The guy has access to his emotions in a way that I have seen very few people able to do, and if he did get the role of Drax – I’ll tell you, nobody else was ever offered that role, at all; anything you heard about that is bullshit, and if he did get the role, it’s 100% because of his ability to access his emotions, more so than anything else. And it just so happens that the guy was created in the cast of Drax when he was born, he looks just like Drax.


On whether mentions of Robert Downey Jr. indicate that he’s involved:
No. That just means that all our movies are connected, we’re created in a way that we’re very connected to the movies that came before us, we’re even more connected to The Avengers 2, that comes after us, and so in that respect, what we would hope is that these characters would continue, and that at some point in time they’ll all meet up with different characters throughout the galaxy.



Marvel Studios presents “Guardians of the Galaxy”—A big space epic featuring an unlikely cast of Marvel characters, including Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Groot and Rocket Raccoon, who must team up in order to defeat a cosmic force of epic proportions. Starring Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana and directed by James Gunn from a screenplay by James Gunn, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is based on the Marvel comic book series “Guardians of the Galaxy,” first published in 1969 and relaunched in 2008. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures will distribute “Guardians of the Galaxy” on August 1, 2014. In addition to “Guardians of the Galaxy”, Marvel Studios will release “Iron Man 3” on May 3, 2013; “Thor: The Dark World ” on November 8, 2013; “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” on April 4, 2014; the sequel to “Marvel's The Avengers” on May 1, 2015; and “Ant-Man” on November 6, 2015!
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