Having the opportunity to speak with James Gunn is something that I can’t believe actually happened. We also had the opportunity to speak with Kevin Feige, to quote our Disney Publicist, The Walt Disney of Marvel. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years back at another press event surrounding Iron Man 3 so I was thrilled to get to talk to him again about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
When they both walked in, of course, to our applause they both stated that this, being in the interview room with the “mommy bloggers” was the best part of the making the movie.
James Gunn: And this is my favorite part of making the Guardians movie is meeting with the Mommy Bloggers. That’s not a joke.
Kevin Feige: Yes! It’s true.
James Gunn: That’s a hundred percent, a hundred percent true.
Kevin Feige: Absolutely.
James Gunn: It’s like, you guys are the best, because it’s like real
There are spoilers beyond this point, please do not proceed if you don’t want to know what happens in the film.
James, can you tell us anything about the process of choosing the music for this one?
James Gunn: I have a list of about 500 songs, which I think of as Guardians-type songs that Meredith Quill might really love. When I’m going through and I’m writing the script, I put the songs into the script where they seem to fit. Sometimes I don’t have a song that seems right on that list, and so I have to go out and search, and listen to a bunch of stuff, and see what I like. Eventually, it’s all basically baked into the organic story of what’s happening in a movie, in the same way you put sugar in a cake.
Kevin Feige: What’s so amazing, and it was like this on the first one, and held to it on the second one, a lot of screenwriters put song suggestions into their scripts, and almost none of those songs end up in the actual movie. When James did that, on the first one, it was like, “Oh, that’s cute. He thinks these songs are gonna be in the movie. We’ll see.” Every single song (is in the movie). On part two, I knew better so I would listen to the song as I’m reading the outline, and then later the script. That pool of songs that he has comes in handy. There’s a Guardians of the Galaxy theme park ride that is opening soon at California Adventure that features songs that James suggested as well, and a few other places coming up in the future.
On Peter and Gamora’s romantic relationship
James Gunn: At the end of the movie we have a moment between the two of them, where I think something is acknowledged. Zoe and I actually talked about this for a long time. There was a time when we had a lot of discussion and talked about having a kiss in the movie. I don’t think that Gamora is a character who would be swept up in the moment by passion, and if she was, I think she would have to deal with the ramifications of that. I don’t think she would be easy on herself about it. So, I think at the end what we see between the two of them is such a true love story. Where she loves him, and he loves her, and she acknowledges that at the end of the movie, but that’s a love that’s based not only on attraction but on a really deep friendship that the two of them have. I think seeing that emotional part of their relationship, is a culmination of what their relationship is in the movie, is more powerful than seeing a kiss that is romantic and would make us feel happy and feel good, but wouldn’t be as true.
Kevin Feige: It’s the difference between a truthful, emotional moment, and a Hollywood moment, and that was very savvy of James to navigate that.
Kevin, when the Guardians meet the Avengers, how will fitting a whole team dynamic into a supporting role work?
Kevin Feige: Well. I mean, as with all of the connectivity between our characters on various films, you have to be careful about it. We never want it to just seem like characters are popping their heads out of windows and saying “Hello” and then going back in. So a big role, a small role, regardless of the actual screen time that any single character has, and I think you’ve seen this in the Avengers films, and in Civil War last year, it’ll be very meaningful and very important to the story that we’re telling.
James, the scene with the Ravager captains at the end with Sylvester Stallone and all the other captains — is there a possible storyline there?
James Gunn: Absolutely, I’m excited about those guys. I love those guys. They’re based on the original Guardians in the comic books; Stakar (Sylvester Stallone’), Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames) and Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh) as Yondu is. That is something that we shot in post, because I woke up one morning, and I was like, “Oh my God. This could be so fun. What if we made an even weirder, more screwy, more dysfunctional Guardians?” I went to Kevin, and I’m like, “Can we please do this?” And Kevin was like, “I love it! It’s my favorite thing ever.” So we went out and we shot it with Sly and the gang.
Kevin Feige (revealing a scoop at the moment): Who is the voice of Mainframe?
James Gunn: Miley Cyrus. Her voice is awesome. I’m like, “She’s got the best voice.” Then I wrote this thing and I went in and I said, “Kevin, what do you think about casting Miley Cyrus as the voice of Mainframe?” And he was like, “Well, I’ll see if we can get her.”
James, speaking of cameos, obviously, it’s a family film, your parents were in it too, right?
James Gunn: Yes. My parents. In that my parents are in it, my brother, my brother’s wife, my two nephews and my niece are all in that scene. That’s my dad, they’re credited in the credits as “weird old man” and “weird old man’s mistress.” Which my mom loved. My mom loved it.
We’re all very touched by your dedication to your parents. (James had made a lovely dedication before the premiere screening).
James Gunn: Thanks. I think the first movie really is about a relationship from a mother to her son, and the second movie is about a relationship from a father to a son. It just may not be the father that we expect it to be. And they’re all very imperfect characters, but my parents loved me. My parents would be the first to admit it was not the easiest upbringing, but they loved me. And I think at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important, and I think that’s the point of the movie. I think these characters love each other, and as hard as it is for them to express it to each other, and even more so with a character like Rocket, who has almost an impossible time taking it in at all — that’s what the movie is about.
Kevin, how do you pair the directors with the movies?
Kevin Feige: Well, there are a lot of meetings, and it’s really a leap of faith, to some regard. A lot of it is the vibe — and do we want to spend, you know, in a worst-case scenario, three years together, and in a best-case scenario, ten years together? 12?” We have a great team at Marvel Studios and in the case of Guardians it was executive producer Jonathan Schwartz who did the first round of meetings, and they were the first people James met with and pitched the notion of this weird space movie with raccoons and trees.
James Gunn: They pitched that idea to me, and I was driving home after the meeting, and when I said goodbye to them I thought they were making a huge mistake.
Kevin Feige: [LAUGHS]
James Gunn: I’m like, ” — you guys have done a great job so far as Marvel, but, you know this is Bugs Bunny in the middle of the Avengers, and you’re gonna look like idiots.”
I kind of smiled and shook their hand and I went home, and I didn’t really think I was going to take the gig, or that wasn’t being offered the gig, but I didn’t think I was going to pursue it in any way. Then on the way home, it hit me. It really, really hit me, and it was like seeing the first poster in my head on the way home, and I realized what this movie could be, and how it could bring color and heart into a big, franchise film, and create the kind of space opera that I’ve wanted to do my entire life, so that’s how it started.
My brother said, “I guess you got this job because of whatever these web shorts,” and they were like, “Oh, no, we really like those web shorts,” you know. So they saw something in this eclectic stuff that I was doing that could be applied to a mainstream film.
Kevin Feige: Well, and Slither, and his features ride a tonal, interesting line. Clearly he was a great writer, and clearly had done interesting work on a smaller scale. But, just wanting to do a space opera like this — we wanted to do a space opera our whole lives, and thankfully, it worked.
James Gunn: This is being completely honest. I had a lot of success doing things in Hollywood, and I always considered that my strength was that I didn’t really give a shit. Like, you know, I would go in and I would pitch something, and I’m like, “Well, if I get the job, then I’m gonna get money. But if I don’t get the job, then I don’t have to work for a little while, and you know, I’m very lazy.” So this fact that I didn’t care, I always thought it was my strength and for the first time in my life, I really, really wanted the Guardians of the Galaxy gig. That honestly had never happened to me before. I had never done it. It was a new experience for me in caring, and it’s so funny because that’s exactly what the Guardians are about.
Kevin Feige: Yep.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is in theaters NOW!
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