One thing that I really love about Guardians of the Galaxy is the presence of strong female characters. While in LA for the World Premiere I was lucky enough to chat with a lot of the cast. One of my favorite interviews was with three of the women who star in this film – Karen Gillan, who plays Nebula, Pom Klementieff, who plays Mantis, and Elizabeth Debicki, who plays Ayesha.
All three of these characters have very different looks. The first thing we asked them was what the make-up and costume process was for the three of them.
“For me it’s much easier because it’s my skin tones, so it’s like a beauty makeup in a way. I need two hours to get completely ready: hair, makeup, and clothes. Basically I wear a prosthetic on my forehead [that is]just the beginning of the antennas, and then with the CGI they make it much bigger. The makeup artists are so talented. I wear contact lenses in my eyes – really big ones that cover my whole eye. There’s no white in my eye almost. And so I feel kind of claustrophobic. I have tunnel vision, so it makes me feel like [I’m] in my own world, which is good for the character too.“
“I think I’ve got it the easiest because I just sort of sit there and someone paints me. It’s kind of sticky and cold, but I love it. The first day I thought it was a bit overwhelming – the whole paint situation. Then I came to set and I said hi to Zoe [Saldana], and I said what time did you come to work and she said three AM. I had a very civil call of six AM. Then I thought I am never ever complaining about makeup again. I also asked her for some tips. She said you just have to be very Zen, just be very patient. Actually for me the most time consuming and hectic part of Ayesha is the costume – that gold dress is almost entirely metal and it weighs so much. We used to call it the Ayesha Taco because the whole bottom of the dress is a great big circular metal thing and they would fold it up like a taco and then I would walk up the stairs. Wherever I get placed, that’s where I am for the day.“
“Well mine takes about four hours in the morning. Essentially I have the character’s skin glued to my face, which is really as close as I could possibly get to her which is pretty cool. It’s kind of intense and slightly claustrophobic. It’s definitely become part of my ritual, in terms of getting into character. One time I did a rehearsal without the makeup and I did not feel like her at all, so it’s sort of become like a vital part of the process for me which is kind of cool.“
Pom and Elizabeth are both joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, and they both blew me away with their performances. Karen reprises her role as Nebula and brings so much more depth to the character in this film. Karen is used to a big following because of her work in Dr. Who as well, so we asked her what it was like to be a part of Marvel, who has a very strong fan base.
Joining the Marvel Family
We asked Pom and Elizabeth what it was like to join the MCU family. Elizabeth answered first, “It’s actually a huge privilege as an actor to be a part of something that people really want to see and that they care so deeply about. The first interaction I had with it was at Comic-Con last year and it was on my birthday. When we went, there’s so many people there and it’s sort of like pure joy that just shoots out and it’s incredible. I found it very overwhelming and I kept getting very emotional in interviews because it’s rare in life to be a part of something that people love so much and they care so much about. Strangely enough I wasn’t nervous about watching the film or being there last night, usually I get very nervous. I’d seen it already and I think it’s wonderful. I just knew that it was going to be accepted with such love. And I had hoped that we would be too because we’re new to it.”
Don’t worry, no spoilers here guys. It is known that we see more of the history between Nebula and Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, and we asked Karen how important to her it was for that to happen.
“In the first movie we saw her and she was this evil super villain watching from the sidelines, but in this movie we really understand why. It’s my job as an actor to be her lawyer and explain to everyone why she is justified in doing these things and I think we achieve that in the movie. It was so important to me to give her those layers because it’s not really interesting to just have a bad guy for no reason.”
Advice from Zoe Saldana
Again, no spoilers here so don’t worry, but Nebula does have some fight scenes in this film. “That was amazing fun actually. I’m not the best fighter in the world, I kind of looked like spaghetti. Zoe was amazing and so she was giving me all these pointers. She was like if you turn your head like this and strangle like this, then you’re going to look really cool. It was great, I really enjoyed it. I did a version of all the stunts and then an amazing stunt double came in and made me look cooler.”
Lessons for the Kids
As I said before, these women all play very strong female characters in the movie. A lot of us mommy bloggers have young daughters, and so we asked the ladies what they would want kids to take away from the film. Pom said something beautiful: “That it’s okay to be imperfect and to not be like any everyone else – to be weird sometimes. That’s what makes you interesting.”
Elizabeth then get in to depth with us on her character: “Don’t be like Ayesha. Someone said on the carpet – ‘what similarities are between you and Ayesha’ – I’m like ‘none, I really hope none.’ The thing about Ayesha is she is very justified in what she’s doing. I mean [Rocket Raccoon] steals from her and she’s going to get what she wants back. She’s very strong. I suppose her moral compass is slightly askew and she’s slightly merciless. Maybe her strength and also that I suppose what I like about her is that she isn’t perfect, she’s actually quite fallible. The irony is they’re genetically modified to be perfect and she’s extremely imperfect.”
Mantis is an amazing addition to the MCU. I must admit, I am not a huge fan of her in the comic books, but I loved Pom’s portrayal of her – to the point where I plan to add her to my tattoo now. We asked Pom how she was able to stay in character on the set.
“It’s just about listening and being in the moment and just have fun. We talked with James [Gunn] about the character. I brought my touch, and what I lived in my past, and some weirdness, and I had fun with it. It’s not like it’s a biopic, it’s a character [who is]an alien who’s bug-like and it’s a crazy world around her. I just wanted her to be like an insect. She’s kind of nervous so she cleans her hands like a preying mantis and like Mr. Burns in The Simpsons. At the beginning when you see her in the movie, you’re like is she good, is she bad, what’s happening. She has these really black eyes so you can’t really go through her soul. Sometimes I’d be tilting my head like a dog when they’re asking a question.”
Watch these ladies in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 May 5th!
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