Marvel Studios and writer-director James Gunn have seemingly revealed a lot about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and its new characters through various trailers, posters, interviews, and a big presentation at San Diego Comic-Con last summer. In truth though, they haven’t. Gunn even praised the editors who cut together the trailers so far for how they depict a big blockbuster movie but that hold back so much on story and reveals.
And the biggest reveal of them all, or at least the biggest mystery going into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, is the story surrounding Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord’s father who’s played by Kurt Russell. While writing the sequel, James Gunn said the identity of Quill’s dad isn’t mean to be a mystery, that it’s not about the mystery. We know now it’s Ego the Living Planet but it’s about the relationship and the theme of family for all the characters.
Yet when had the opportunity to participate in the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 set visit, everyone involved was in on deceiving us. We watched Kurt Russell in costume work, but no one would say his name. The artwork surrounding his character, his planet, and his starship all used the name “J’Son” – a nod to the Marvel Comics version of Quill’s dad, J’Son of Spartax. Even Kurt Russell’s chair read “J’Son” on it, but no one we chatted with would say more. Gunn told us, despite all the namedrops, that J’Son was not in the movie so you can imagine the weirdness of talking to the legendary Kurt Russell who couldn’t get too deep into spoilers either, but boy did we have a lot of questions for him!
Related: James Gunn explains Ego’s abilities
Fortunately, Russell might be have been the coolest person we’ve ever interviewed on a superhero movie, and all of his cast mates and co-workers couldn’t help but offer similar compliments about him. Going into the interview, the evening before when the press met up, the group all pondered who Kurt Russell – who was staying in the same hotel as us – was playing. It had been reported at the time that Ego the Living Planet would be in the movie and we heard word that Russell could be playing a version of him. No one believed me before visiting the set however, until the artwork of “J’Son’s planet” hinted that it could indeed be a living planet. It was very pulp sci-fi, very colorful and weird. Now, here we are, almost a year later after hanging out with the Guardians of the Galaxy in costume, and we’re finally allowed to share information from the one interview we had to hold back.
You’ve now seen see Kurt Russell in costume as Ego, or at least, his human avatar, in the latest Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 trailer, and he’s got his own retro-inspired collector card poster. Here’s hoping we what he looks like as a giant disembodied head the size of a world – something James Gunn describes as the biggest visual effect of all-time.
What’s it like joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Kurt Russell: Well, you know, generally, when you’re in this business for a long time, you get the opportunity to do a number of things. And then, they sort of always, at the end of the day, acting is acting and stories are storytelling. And you’re going to work with people that you hope are really kind of creative and fun, and directors that are on top of their game and know what they want to do. And then, sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t. So the great fun is, for me, I didn’t know anything about this world, the Guardians world, you know? I was doing publicity for “Hateful Eight.” And suddenly, people started saying, “Is it true? Are you going to play Peter Quill’s father?” And I’m like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I just wasn’t aware of it. And then, all of a sudden, for the first time, this was a character obviously that people really wanted to, they were interested, they were all very positive, though. It was nothing like, “Seriously? You’re not going to do that, are you?” It was like, “Whoa, are you going to do that? That’s perfect.” You should do that. And I didn’t know what they were talking about. So when I had the opportunity to see “The Guardians of the Galaxy,” I got it. I understood what it was, and I could see the reasons why people were interested in that. And the fun part has been tapping into all of that, bringing the right baggage, and having the opportunity, still, to explore with James Gunn and Chris and the whole gang. And then, the fun is that you find that Chris is just a sweet guy and is just a great, great sweet guy, and James is just a load of fun and really, really knows what he wants to do. And then you’re back to the opportunity to play a character that you hopefully can find things to make it fun and entertaining and interesting and memorable.
So what can you tell us about your character?
Kurt Russell: Not much. (Laughs) Unfortunately, not much. We were just talking about it. It’s a little hard to bite your tongue and do that, but there’s a lot about the character that we want to keep under wraps I guess, and for a certain period of time. But the good part is, he’s no letdown. (Laughs) He has a great, adventurous spirit that he shares with his son. And you know, the idea of being able to find someone that you’ve wanted to see for a long time, and I think the whole thing basically being seen through Peter Quill’s eyes, we can all understand how you’d want to meet your dad, if you didn’t know who your dad was, and you’d heard these things about your father and you’d been told certain things by your mother, and you’re trying to put it together. We all have a tendency to, I think when it comes to parents that are missing, we have a tendency to put them on a pedestal. And Peter is living in that world. But to finally have the opportunity to meet that person, and then begin to compare who they had in mind and what they’re really getting is a lot of what we’re doing.
What’s your relationship and rapport with Chris, as you develop that father/son relationship?
Kurt Russell: He says funny things. He says funny things. We were rehearsing one time and he said, “No, I want you as my dad. I want you to be my father.” You know, it’s fun. They’re all very welcoming and very sweet. And the cool thing about it was, when I did read it and saw the movie, I said, “Yeah, I bring the right notes, the right garbage, the right baggage, all of it. I bring the right things.” And as I read it, look, I connected the dots from some of the things I’ve done in the past. And it’s fun to be living now in a time when a younger generation understands what I was doing. You guys get it. The older guys, my age, they didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. They really didn’t. And it was like, you can go back and read about it. It was like, “What is that?” I think it’s funny. Whatever. I just did it for a lifetime, so to be at this point in my life and be able to not only kind of like have a generation that accepts you for what you were doing before anybody else was with other people like you, to be able to take that and grow that, it’s nice, because it has a lot to do with my personality and the way I look at life and stuff. And so, it’s a nicer time for me than it was 30 years ago.