Back in 2016, I got to take a super top secret trip to the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It was an experience that I will never forget. While there, Producer Jonathan Schwartz told me the story line in the art room, I got to check out the wardrobe trailer, the props department, and so much more – including interviewing most of the cast (those interviews are coming THIS WEEK!). I don’t think it actually hit me until I had to sign the non-disclosure (and basically my life away) as I entered Marvel Studios. All of a sudden I thought – wow, I am actually at Marvel Studios and am going to see so many behind the scenes stuff for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2! I could put 1,000 exclamation points after that and it still wouldn’t be enough to describe how I was feeling at that moment.
I think I was in total shock. I probably walked around like a zombie most of the day because I just could not process it. But inside, I was jumping up and down and running around like a little girl on Christmas morning, like someone going to Disney World for the first time. As you all know, I am a huge Marvel fan – so this was a pretty amazing experience for me – it is something I will never forget. I am so thrilled to FINALLY be able to share everything that I experienced with you guys – so read on, and keep coming back all week!
Art Room With Jonathan Schwartz
First up was the art room and chat with the Producer Jonathan Schwartz. All over the walls was the concept art for the film. All I can say is WOW guys. I was blown away. It was arranged in the order of the flow of the movie (with the final chunk filled with the ending and massive spoilers removed of course) – not many people get to see that, and I feel so blessed to have been there. Jonathan then turned out the lights and showed us a sizzle reel of what is to come in the movie – and that is where I fell in love with Baby Groot! He is so cute, I just want him for a pet! I even got to hold him – more on that coming in the props section – and it took all that I have to not smuggle him away from the set. After we watched the short video (and we were all completely blown away), Jonathan ran through the story line with us while showing us the art work.
I am not going to give away too much, but he let us know that the movie starts off a couple months after the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1. The crew has been “taking mercenary jobs around the galaxy to try to pay the bills“. They are trying to be the good guys (and I love that!). “When we first see them they are on a mission trying to protect a planet from this horrible, tentacle beast, which we’re gonna see a lot of. This a planet who’s led by Ayesha, a new character who we’re introducing in this movie. Unfortunately, along the course of that mission, some of the Guardians, I’m not gonna say who, refer to their old bad habits – sort of telling us a little bit about the difference of a little good, a little bad. This is definitely a little bad.” We learned that the fame of the Guardians is starting to go to their heads – which is making it difficult to live with each other.
We know that Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)’s father (Kurt Russell) is introduced in this film and we were told a little bit about how that is done. “The team is [eventually] stranded on this forest planet and it’s there that they meet up with the Kurt Russell character, [who] we’re calling Jayson. He’s [an] intergalactic adventurer who’s been going from planet to planet having his own outer space adventures. And he’s been looking for his long-lost son and takes Quill with him to his own planet. And that’s kind of the beginning of the split in the Guardians. Some of the Guardians stay behind, some go off with Quill and Jayson.” I really don’t want to say too much more because I want you to be totally surprised when you see the movie. But I will add that we were told that there is at least one love connection in the film. We were not given any details, however we all analyzed the storyboards before we left to see if we could figure anything out. I was taking in every word watching Jonathan go around the room pointing to art as he told the story and I felt like I was watching the movie already (which is going to be incredible!). The costumes and the scenery are just amazing – and the detail in the art boards really blew me away.
While on set for the day we also got to check out the wardrobe trailer. Yes, the trailer filled with the actual costumes for the film. There were some really cool pieces in there and I loved learning all about it. One of my favorite things was seeing the costumes progress. For example, there were coats or clothing that were normal and then the next set of them would have rips, tears, or stains – to help progress the story line and events. They do this so that they can film scenes out of sequence or go back and add something from earlier if needed. You don’t want to ruin the coat and then need a new one to film something. My FAVORITE thing in the wardrobe trailer was Yondu (Michael Rooker)’s jacket. It was so heavy! I couldn’t believe it! I cannot imagine wearing that for long periods of time, especially in the Georgia heat. Yondu is one of my favorite characters from the Guardians of the Galaxy comic books, so it was really amazing to be able to touch one of the actual jackets from the movie and feel how heavy it was. I wanted to badly to put it on and run out of the trailer. Being able to touch, see, smell all of these wardrobe pieces was really a fan girl moment for me. OK, being on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a total fan girl moment for me – but something about being surrounded by the actual costumes used in the film was pretty darn amazing.
Props & Chatting With Russell Bobbit
We spent quite a bit of time in the props department and chatting with Russell Bobbit, the property master, and it flew by! I probably could have spent an entire day listening to his stories and checking out everything that there was to look at. When I walked in, there was a rack of clothing that the extras in the film wore to my right and a table filled with prop weapons to my left – I am talking about Quad Blasters, Laser Cannons, and Necroblasters! Talk about amazing! I even got to hold a Laser Cannon that was actually used in the movie – oh AND I also got to hold Baby Groot! Eeek! That was probably the highlight of my whole trip. I am working on a Guardians of the Galaxy sleeve tattoo and when deciding which Groot to use for it, it was easy – Baby Groot!
Russell is an amazing guy! He has been with Marvel for quite some time. He did the props for Iron Man (1, 2, & 3), Thor, Captain America, etc. and I could tell right away why they keep him around. He is incredibly talented. He explained that they give him a script and he has to figure out what kind of props the actors need and where they fit in the universe that they are in. “I’ll go over the script and make a big list of everything I think should be in the movie. Then I think outside the box and I’ll do the background stuff. [For example] the background alien person walks by, what’s he gonna have in his hand? We design, manufacture and engineer everything basically from scratch on a movie like this because we’re in outer space and there is no outer space prop rental house or an outer space store that I can go to and say I’d like 800 outer space [weapons].”
Speaking of weapons, we all were able to check out Drax’s and boy was it heavy! There was a “real” one, so to speak, that was made out of metal, and then a lighter rubber version for Dave Bautista to hold in the scenes where we don’t need to see moving parts and shots are not as close to it. The lighter version was still pretty heavy if you ask me! There were so many amazing stories that Russell told us, but my favorite was about carpeting. Russell held up this gorgeous fabric that was all rolled up as he explained the story top us.
“We have a high priestess in our film and she had to visit the ravager world and her thing was that she didn’t wanna walk on their ground. So she had a couple of chamber maids rolling out a carpet for her, very much like a red carpet. So I went to the drawing board and I drew about 18,000 of these in different versions and so on and so forth. We ended up with this design that two chamber maids hold this [wheel]. it’s pretty heavy, and they roll out about 25 feet of carpet. We went out and got a bunch of fabric samples that were fairly reasonable and the production designer came in – who is in charge of the overall look of the film – and he said I’ve got this swatch in my office of this fabric that I’d for you to use for the carpet. I said, great, that takes a big load off of my mind. Perfect, let’s do it. I got the swatch, got the phone number, called the company and I said, send me 75 yards. The reason I do that and the reason you see four of these is because we were shooting in the snow so every time I rolled this out, it got dirty, it got trampled on and it got snowy and so I take the used one, I throw it to my guys, they go off and they vacuum it and they brush it and they reroll it. And in the meantime I’ve got two or three backups so we can keep shooting and I don’t hold anyone up. So 75 yards of the fabric come and then the bill came. I didn’t even ask how much because the production designer wanted it, the director had approved it – $180 dollars per foot, $20,000 bill.”
We all gasped when we heard the number. Russell let us know that it was made up in the budget by some careful planning but that was not the amount he was planning on spending on the carpet. I will say, the carpet looks great and I am sure it looks even better in the film. So as you watch it and you see that carpet, know just how much it cost.
Injured Baby Groot
I also heard about how poor Baby Groot broke a hip – and that James Gunn was extremely concerned about him. I even got to see his little scar, the poor guy! Russell told us that everyone loves Baby Groot – which doesn’t surprise me one bit! “Moms go crazy, dads go crazy. I have guys come up to me, with tool belts on, pull me aside and whisper in my ear, do you think it’s possible before we’re done that I could just get a picture with Baby Groot for my son? I’m like, of course you can. Last day of shooting, I’m gonna be quite busy with Baby Groot.” I for one cannot wait for Baby Groot toys! My daughters already love him. I will let them get them – but I am totally going to get one for myself too that they are not allowed to touch. I need one on my desk, that is for sure.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Extravaganza
I interviewed a lot of the cast – plus James Gunn, the Director, while on set. Here are all of my interview posts:
- Chris Pratt, Star-Lord
- Zoe Saldana, Gamora
- Karen Gillan, Nebula
- Dave Bautista, Drax
- Michael Rooker, Yondu
- James Gunn, Director
Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is in theaters May 5th!
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