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What James Gunn Told Us on Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Set

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 BTS Set Photo - Yondu Nebula with Team banner

What new tech and tools are you able to use to shoot the sequel?

James Gunn: The rig we're using is much different. The ... fuck, what's it called Johnny?

John Pisani: Well, it's RED Camera-

James Gunn: Well the RED, of course, but really one of the main reasons we're using the RED WEAPON is because it's a smaller sized camera that can fit into the rig, and the rig is cross between... it's hand-held and a dolly together. It's like an advanced steady cam. That allows you more-

John Pisani: Stable-eye

James Gunn: Stable-eye is what it's called, yeah.

Are you doing any IMAX scenes?

James Gunn: Yeah, we're switching aspect ratios just like did on the first movie. This time it's a little more planned out ahead of time, but we switch between 2:35 and 1:89 aspect ratios.

What was the inspiration at the beginning, because the first movie ends very open ended, Guardians are back. And we know it's not about Peter's father, but it's about the relationship that they have, Gamora and Nebula, so there's family things. Talk about, a little bit, when you first sat down say I have to write the second movie. What you wanted it to be about.

James Gunn: Well I mean, the first [film] is about becoming a family, the second film is about being a family. But I also think I had more science fiction concept around [Peter] Quill and his relationship to his father, that's a little bit of a bigger idea, and I think knew where the characters needed to go and I felt extremely freed by not having to set up so many major characters in 20 minutes like I did in the first movie, which was by far the biggest pain in the ass.

Not only have you never done a sequel before, but it feels like most of your movies and projects have been departures from each other. So you're following up a movie, it's your first sequel. Do you feel like you're doing another departure? Is this a departure from the first film? Is it the same thing?

James Gunn: I think it's a departure from the first film. I think one of the things that worked about the first movie was that people went into the movie expecting one thing and they got something that they like more than what they expected. And it was different then what they expected, and I think the second movie is the same thing. I don't think it's going to be what anyone expects.

In terms of the new characters, there was an arsenal you could have chose from, and there was obviously a lot of fan opinions about who they wanted to see join the movie. How did you land on Mantis and these new characters?

James Gunn: Shit, I don't know. I really wish I could remember how I landed on Mantis, but I just felt like she served this aspect of the story the best. I can't remember.

Mantis is really complicated in the comics. There's a lot of different versions of her, and she's done a lot of different things. Is your version a clean slate? Is it your version of Mantis, or are there other elements of the comics?

James Gunn: Both. It's both. It's my version, there's elements of the comics as well. I think that, frankly, some of these characters that do have the various pasts, and various different origins are a little bit easier in Guardians movies, because they don't come with as much expectations. I think adding alien elements to some of these characters a little easier. From the beginning I say, for the time being, Quill is the only Earthling superhero member of the Guardians. So, that was part of what I had I in mind with her, and that's probably part of why I landed on her as well.

More: How Mantis Has Changed From the Comics

Kurt mentioned that he's never had so many people that he has to take a role as he had with this, and it just seemed to be fate willing this to happen. Was there ever a Plan B, in your mind "it's gotta be Kurt," and we've got to try and find a way to make it work because he's just perfect.

James Gunn: He was perfect, but I felt like the script was good and if Kurt Russell said no we would have found somebody else, I would hope. So, I never want to say there's no Plan B, because that would just be a lie. There's a lot of great actors out there. There's a lot of great sixty-ish old actors out there. So yeah, I think we would found another. One of the great things about doing this one was we're under pressure to have a name actor in that role, and we actually auditioned a lot of no-name actors for the role. So, that was pretty cool. And with Pom, she came in and she had done some things before, but she doesn't have a huge track record, but she came in and she nailed, just completely, completely nailed the role. In a way, that honestly, nobody else has ever done for this movie. On either this or Guardians One, and that's pretty incredible.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 BTS Set Photo - Gamora (Zoe Saldana) Red Planet

Can you talk about the music, and choosing the songs, and what inspired your choices?

James Gunn: I think that the soundtrack is an evolution from the soundtrack to the first movie. I think the first movie was made for a child that was a couple years younger than the child that this music was made for. So it's slightly more complex songs. I also think that we have a wider variety of songs. You guys heard, probably, one of the songs today. We have a couple of songs that are enormous songs, which we didn't have on the first movie. We also have a couple songs that are almost completely unknown, or not very well known at all. So there's a bigger gamut between the popular and unpopular songs on the second album.

We all met and fell in love with Baby Groot today. Was there any consideration of ever having him be more full grown in this movie?

Totally, a hundred percent. I started out thinking of him as full grown, and I didn't, you know, of having him grow up. Then all of a sudden I thought, that's what you would think you would do, really, and I'm like really don't have to stick with that. It could be baby Groot, and baby Groot is very different. He's a unique little fella, and he's pretty great in the movie even though he's not even there. But all the time Chris is like "God dammit, he's gonna steal the fucking movie." And it's nothing. It's nothing there, but he's funny even in the dailies we're watching. And we got the guy on a stick, and people are laughing. There's something really cool about him, and he's funny in the movie. He's a little jerk too.

He's strong, right? He can kick some ass too?

James Gunn: Yeah he can kick some ass. He's also an idiot. He's a baby. He's not very smart. So, he's stupid.

It's still Vin doing the voice, right? Or are you going to recast?

John Pisani: I think that's unknown at this point.

James Gunn: We're figuring that out.

What's easier to shoot with baby Groot or the Groot you were working with last time?

James Gunn: Quite honestly, I'd say baby Groot, but the reason for that is unknown. A lot of times on the first movie we were like "are we even putting Groot in this movie?" Because Sean [Gunn] plays Rocket on set, and he's so present as Rocket that you're very aware of Rocket as a character. The guy playing Groot was a stand-in on the last movie and so he was there we just kind of always forgot he was there. He doesn't talk very much, so you're doing all these scenes and when we have the scenes in the movie where they turn to Groot and Groot's like "why are you forgetting me?" That's really what we felt like while we were shooting the first film. And I think also, the whole personality of Groot and who he was, it was there on the page and then you forget about it while you were shooting the first movie. But now everyone knows Groot so well that we have a much larger awareness, me and the cast, of a baby Groot being there at all times. And him being one of the members in the scene. So it's been much easier from that respect, but I'm not sure if it's because baby Groot is -

I'll say, yeah, I think he's a better written character then the first Groot in some ways. Not that he was poorly written at all, but I think he's just more complete character.

Key Release Dates
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) release date: May 05, 2017
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