Just a few weeks before Comic-Con International kicked off in San Diego in July, Vin Diesel took to social media to declare that Marvel Studios had requested a meeting with him. He seemed unsure of it all but the fandom provided the "push" needed to - we can safely assume - land him a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the the timing of it all, it seemed a certainty that whatever character Diesel was in discussions for would be introduced in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, currently shooting in London.
When Diesel first started publicly discussing a potential Marvel gig we theorized that he'd be playing the voice of either Groot (a walking, talking tree) or the villainous Thanos (the grinning purple guy from the mid-credits scene of The Avengers) , but after teasing imminent "big news," and the idea of playing a character involved in a "different kind of love story," his posting of a picture of Groot to his Facebook wall over the weekend seemingly clinched the deal.
Diesel was present at a Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. luncheon earlier today and LA Times' Hero Complex had a chance to ask him directly about why he'd play an odd and obscure character such as Groot.
"I'm an actor. I can do whatever the … I want. As an actor, not everything has to be the most obvious choice. And sometimes, the best thing you can do — as far as Steven Spielberg and his advice — is to defy expectations. So if everybody thinks you're going to go for this one thing and you flip it entirely and go for the strangest Marvel character, it's interesting. And when something is interesting, it's inspiring."
Is this confirmation that Marvel sold Diesel on playing a tree who's best pal is a raccoon who loves heavy weapons? As for the buzz-generating image drop on Facebook:
"I get inspired by things. So if somebody sends me a book of conceptual art that's the best character design work I've ever seen — I'm not kidding, I see that and I want to be a little cryptic and I want to say something positive. Even if it's as cryptic as an old, dated image of a character."
Joss Whedon knew during production on The Avengers what he wanted to do for the sequel (which we now know is The Avengers: Age of Ultron) and so it makes us wonder if preliminary talks (or gauging of interest) occurred between Marvel and Vin Diesel for the role of Ultron or Vision after The Avengers hit theaters and broke records worldwide. That would explain why - like the image drop of Groot on Sunday - Diesel posted a comic illustration of Vision on his Facebook briefly last August.
While not flat out confirming that he is voicing Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy, Diesel talks about the fan response on his Facebook page about anything Marvel related. He doesn't quite understand it and despite not having the schedule to play one of the leads or key supporting live-action roles, he credits Marvel for coming up with something "really interesting" for him to do, and part of that will undoubtedly be his ability to help market the film via his 45+ million Facebook fans. On whether or not Marvel in all of their secrecy is concerned about him posting an image of Groot on his wall, Diesel responded "the last thing they are is mad," and later followed it up by saying part of the appeal of having him aboard "maybe because I’m the kind of guy who will put up a post [on Facebook] that’s different."
Diesel does seem genuinely interested in the voice role and even though most incarnations of the Groot character in Marvel Comics involve limited speech, he can own it, make it his, and make it popular through his own means. That is, assuming we aren't all being played and Diesel is playing another character like Thanos... Now we wait to find out who's voicing Rocket Raccoon.
Guardians of the Galaxy is directed by James Gunn off of his script co-written by Nicole Perlman. It stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio del Toro, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close.
Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
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Source: Hero Complex