I had the opportunity to sit in on the “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” press conference the day after I saw the screening of the film. It was a two parter, because the ensemble in this movie is pretty large. I’m really glad they did break this up into two parts – these personalities are so big, just one press conference wouldn’t have been enough!
It was held in a ballroom at the London Hotel in Beverly Hills. The stage was decked out in blue with a huge pink neon sign that said “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” hanging above the seats.
Part one consisted of James Gunn (Director), Kurt Russell (Ego), Chris Pratt (Peter Gunn), Michael Rooker (Yondu), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha), and Kevin Feige (producer). Moderated by Kara Warner from People, everyone walked in and we were well on our way!
The moderator opened the panel to the new kids joining the cast and asked if there was an initiation process to join the ragtag gang. Debicki admitted sadly, no, there was no initiation to join the group, but was “obviously terrified of playing this extremely powerful creature.”
Kurt Russell had to watch the original, because when the rumor mill started about him joining the cast, he had no idea what the story was about. Pratt admitted to being a little star-struck with Russell when first on-set, but instead of attempting to play cool, he embraced it, “you promise yourself you not gonna do the thing where you geek out. But it’s a little inauthentic if you don’t” So he got that out of the way first thing and now they’re friends.
James Gunn addressed the whys of a sequel and how important it was to not just remake the first one, “they say, oh people like the dance-off in the first movie, what’s our version of the dance-off? People liked “we are Groot” in the first movie, what’s our version of “we are Groot”? Instead of doing that, we really tried to let these characters grow and change”
The ‘beefcake clause’ was addressed with the panel. This time around, there’s more that just Pratt shirtless. Rooker’s Yondu makes an appearance in the near buff. It’s a rather pivotal scene in the film, so I won’t go into detail about the scene. What I can say is Rooker explains when he found out about it, he started working out pretty religiously, “And it just dawned on me there at that moment like two weeks before I was gonna do the movie. The scene, I shouldn’t be in shape. I should be just the opposite.” Once you watch the film you’ll understand why.
The first question from the room was one I was wondering about. Kurt Russell coming home to Disney, Russell was a Disney kid in his past. Russell said, “I feel like I do have a special relationship with Disney, but the truth of the matter is, every time you go to work, you got to make the team.” He went on the say the team (the cast) had a terrific manager (Director) and that’s what makes it good. Of course Gunn went on to explain how working with Russell is like “wrestling a playful bear” whereas working with Rooker is like “trying to taze a badger.”
The last question for this panel dove into some deep nerd-dom. (I’m not giving anything away here, but I’ll just say the characters and not the actors, so as not to spoil.) A question was asked about the characters of the 90’s Guardians of the Galaxy group – Charlie 27, Aleta Ogord, Krugar and Mainframe, that are represented in this film, what does it mean and who’s playing some of the characters we didn’t actually see… Let’s just say Kevin Feige is the best person to head up the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because he let nothing slip.
Check back for the second part to the “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2” press conference!