While on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 last May, I was completely blindsided with a Kurt Russell interview! We thought he would have already been wrapped from filming, but as we were finishing up lunch we were whisked away quickly with no idea what was going on. We were told to follow and that is what we did. We ended up in a blue room where filming was clearly going on – and then were told “you are going to be interviewing Kurt Russell in about three minutes.” What, did I hear that right? KURT RUSSELL? My fellow bloggers and I gasped and took about 5 seconds to freak out before we started wracking our brains for questions to ask a legend in the film industry.
Joining the MCU
The first thing we asked him about was his role as Peter Quill’s father and what made him want to take it on. “I was doing a publicity trip for Hateful Eight and suddenly, everybody was saying so are you gonna do Guardians of the Galaxy? I’d never heard of Guardians of the Galaxy. Are you gonna be Peter Quill’s father? Sam [Jackson] who’s done [Nick] Fury, he said that’s different stuff – he said this is big audiences. I said is it fun? He said oh, yeah, it’s fun. I started learning about [Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy] from people. I never had been asked about a character before I’d done it as much as that and I suddenly realized that this movie must have been very popular and for some reason the audience cared about who his father was gonna be.”
“So I said well, gee I don’t know I’ll see what it’s like. I read the script and I said I need to see the [first] movie. I watched it for about eight or nine minutes – I was watching it with Goldie – and as soon as he kicked one of those things I [knew I would like to be in it]. I watched the movie and I got the feeling of what the Guardians of the Galaxy world is like. I get very much why I’d be a good person to play the dad with the script that I had so that was why I [took the role]. This is gonna be fun to do and it’s turned out to be a blast – really fun.”
“I’m [Peter’s] father and he’s a man of adventure – it’s a very full role. We get to explore a lot of Peter Quill’s past. You’ll learn a lot about where he comes from and why he is what he is. He’s coming from a position of having wondered about who his father was all his life. Chris [Pratt] is great and the whole cast is great. It’s fun to work with someone (meaning James Gunn, the director) who really knows what they want to do and what they want to pull off and try to create.” He mentioned Goldie y’all! I LOVE Goldie Hawn – and them together as a couple – so that was really cool!
How He Got The Role
Kurt explained that he, of course, doesn’t need to go in and audition anymore. He said the director will look at what he has done in past movies and see if there is something that makes him a good fit for the role he is looking to fill. Kurt found out in January 2016 that he was going to play Peter’s father and then started filming in March 2016 – meaning he had about two months to prepare. We asked him if he went back and watched all the movies, but he let us know that he did not. “I knew from talking to James what was important. We have rehearsal time which is really important but no, I knew what it was really. I knew why they wanted to do this.”
Music in the Film
In Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1, music played a huge part – and from what we learned on set, music will be even more important in the sequel. The soundtrack to the first movie is set to the mix tape that Peter’s mother made for him. At the end of that movie, he unwraps a second mix tape – which will be the soundtrack of the second film. We asked Kurt if his character has any connection with music and his response was yes and that “it will be quite important. There’s a strong connection to music, particular songs. It’s a big part of this world and [James] continues that theme very, very strongly. ”
Not Too Fond of CGI
As I mentioned earlier, the room we were in was all blue. We asked Kurt what it was like to be in a room like this – and his response was great!
“You know, it’s funny. I was doing [what we call] wire gags and this [room] is where we were. You can see some of the wires that are left. Wire gags have always been the same ever since the 30s and 40s but the technology around the wire gag itself has improved so much and the wires have improved. They’re on computers now so you work out what you are going to do and they dial it in. You get much better precision. It used to be that you get a line around you and if you moved too much you would get a rippling effect – it wasn’t very good. I started doing those in the early 60s with Disney and they haven’t changed that much but having said that we’re getting further and further into this world where this will look completely different [in the movie]. It’s difficult. I’ve always been an actor – like many actors – who respond to their surroundings.”
“If you and I are playing the scene together and I see you have this [badge] and I’m talking to you and I kind of want to play with that. If you don’t have that on, I’m not kicked off to do that so the spontaneity is different. When we did Tombstone there was a scene where I was walking with Dana Delany. The wind was blowing that day a little bit and it was blowing some of the cottonwood around. One was going to blow on her face so I just picked it [out of the air] and it was part of the scene and it was very organic. That won’t happen [with this new technology]. So you have to invent that.”
“Chris and I did some stuff when we first got together and he really knows that he’s my son and that I’m his father and I know that he’s my son and we’re doing this really cool thing and there’s nothing there. He and I looked at each other and we were imagining things – but we were imagining the same things so that was fun to play with – so it will be fun for us to see that physicalized. That was fun because only he and I were knowing what was happening and it’ will be fun to see that brought to life. You’re just doing a scene and something happens. You might not even be right or wrong but it happens and you go with it. A tree falls down. Play the tree fell down and continue on or it stops and gives the scene a whole different feeling and meaning. I worry about that being lost. [But] in a movie like this you have to have [that technology] because it’s just so chalk full of things that don’t exist.”
What Should the Audience Get Out of His Character
I have a feeling that Kurt’s character is going to be a major player in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. We wanted to know what he wanted the audience to get out of his character.
“Good question actually. Number one, when you’re planning a character, you try to find things that’ll be entertaining and do the them in a way that’s entertaining [and] fun to watch. In movies like this it’s easy to be frivolous and just look at it as comic book venue. There’s two worlds where you can ask these big questions and one of them is westerns and one of them is science fiction. You can get away with asking big, American, political questions because it’s deeply ingrained in American persona, even in children. Cowboys are a certain thing to us. The women who are connected to cowboys are a certain thing to us. In science fiction you can ask is there a God? and what would you do if you could be invisible?”
“And [in regards to Guardians of the Galaxy], what if you were Peter Quill and this happened to you? This Marvel comic book world that Guardians of the Galaxy is and you never knew who your father was but, like real life, you have created in your mind someone who put on a pedestal. I think [this] is a very important thing to talk about when you talk about children who don’t know who their parents are – their father has left or their father never existed or their father was never in their life or maybe he was there for a short while and he left. Are you responsible for that?”
“All those are very real human things. So when you say what do you get out of that, hope to bring for the audience, I do hope to have all the entertainment value that you should get in movie like this – but underneath is the reality of the relationship that is important to that person that’s real, that has consequence, that’s not comic book, that’s not cartoon. It’s not funny even though some of it is gonna end up very funny but that’s life. So that’s why I think James Gunn wants to get Kurt Russell to play the part because I’m gonna go in there and do that.”
Kurt was so sweet and humble, and it was a real honor to meet him. Unfortunately we couldn’t have a photo taken with him because of his costume, but that 15 minute chat will be something I will never forget!
Oh, and one more thing – tickets are on sale NOW! Yes, as of this moment you can grab your tickets for what is sure to be the biggest movie of the year – Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. I will be bringing you a lot more on the movie as I head to LA 4/18-4/21 for #GotGVol2Event so keep coming back. Obviously.
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