Can you imagine being a fan of someone your entire life than having the opportunity to not only be in the same room but to interview him about his role in one of the biggest sequels ever! The first time I ever really remember seeing Kurt Russell was in a TV movie he did way back in 1979 where he played Elvis. My Mom was a huge Elvis fan and then a huge Kurt Russell fan after that.
As he entered the room he smiled and asked us how we were doing, of course, we were all doing very well, considering. He chose to remain standing for the interview, which I suppose he felt more at ease doing so but it was also very respectful of the 25 women in front of him.
There are spoilers beyond this point, please do not proceed if you don’t want to know what happens in the film.
On how he became involved in Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 2
I was doing this publicity stunt for Tarantino’s movie, The Hateful Eight, and one day all of a sudden my phone starts going off, which is very rare for me. All of the messages were “this is great, this is exciting, are you gonna do this?” Are you gonna do this Guardians of the Galaxy? Are you gonna play Peter Quill’s father?
I literally had no idea what they were talking about because I hadn’t seen the movie so I just said, no. The next day I kinda got the official word and I said well guys, I need to read it and I need to see the movie. When I saw the movie right away I kinda fell in love with it and it just got better and better. But more than anything else I was kinda watching Chris and saying, yeah, I get that- I get that energy. I realized from movies that I had done in the past, I would bring the right baggage. I read the screenplay, and I wanted to do it but I also I was concerned that the audience would go in thinking, that he’s (Peter) gonna have adventures with his dad, and it’s Kurt Russell and now Kurt Russell’s responsible for killing this for me.
I felt very comfortable with James. I thought his hand was really solidly on it. He really knew what he was doing. And then, of course, working with Chris, primarily, that was just right. As soon as Chris and I saw each other we just kinda smiled, gave each other a hug and said this is- this is clearly right.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2..L to R: Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Ego (Kurt Russell)..Ph: Chuck Zlotnick..©Marvel Studios 2017
On what he think of the finished film
It is a son, killing his father. So you gotta be very careful with that. When you watch the movie that doesn’t look like a problem. It’s perfect. You hate him, you wanted to get him to get his. But when you’re doing it, you can only assume them and try to play the scenes that are there correctly to make that final moment what it should be. You have to go all the way from being kinda cool and loving and fun to just… I think we’ve all said this to our kids. “Who the hell do you think you are?’ [LAUGHTER] So, it was all in that zone and it kinda had to have some of that tone to it so you could sort of enjoy as a parent, I think, some of that reprimand.
On never playing the same character
I am just an actor who didn’t wanna do the same thing. In Hollywood a lot of times if you have something that’s successful, the next thirty scripts you read are gonna be in that zone. So I disappointed a lotof people by saying, I get it. I get why you want me to do it. But, if you’ll notice, I just did that. I don’t wanna do that now.
In saying that, and in doing that you create a confusion, and a whiplash sort of career where they can’t pigeonhole you, but they’re not necessarily happy about that. Even critics and reviewers are not necessarily happy about that. We all have a tendency, that if you see something, like it and then you wanna see more of it. That also applies to whole movies where you see a movie you like so let’s do it again. Like let’s do Overboard again. Let’s do Big Trouble In Little China again. Let’s do Escape From New York again. Let’s do Tombstone again. So my job was to skip around genres. Skip around characters. Find stories that I liked, that I wanted see. Characters that I wanted to play.
I try to challenge myself with giving the director as many options as possible with takes so that he could, or she could, put the movie together and have a lot of options to choose from. When you do that you kinda take that and you’re putting a lot of trust in the director. The other way of doing it is you sort of give him one thing, which is not to say you don’t do that. Miracle was a movie where I had to get in character and then stay there.
On how much of himself is in the character Ego
I got a healthy ego. [LAUGHTER] I do. I think that’s important in our industry and our business and as a human being to have control of your ego. But I think you should have a healthy one. If you don’t have a healthy one you’re gonna have other problems.
I also love names and characters. You can go back through my litany of characters and you’re gonna find at least twelve great names. I think that’s important. And if they don’t have a great name, I give ‘em a great name. I was very disappointed with when I read that the character’s name was J’son. I said, yeah, well fifteen Marvel people will know who this is. That’s a weak-ass name. Then, later on, I found out that well actually, his name is Ego the Living Planet and I was like that’s more like it! So how much of myself is there? I don’t know. Listen, if you’re gonna play God let’s go big. [LAUGHTER]
When you first meet him and the first thing out of his mouth is, my name is Ego. He’s very proud of that and you gotta understand that he’s made everything in his life. He’s chosen to be that. He chose to come to earth and look like Kurt Russell. That’s a choice.
On how they made him look younger
That guy right there, his name is Dennis Liddiard. He’s been my makeup man for twenty-eight years. We’ve done a lot of movies together where our goal was to, without the audience knowing it, help me arrive at what I need to do to set the tone for the character, the look for the character, the feel for the character.
On this one, we assumed we were just gonna do heavy CGI special effects like they normally do. Then Dennis, said to James Gunn – I know his face really, really well and I can really do a lot here to bring him down. If I de-age him some, does that help you? They said as much as you can help. Yes. That helps very much. When he was done and when I got the right hair goin’ and when he got the wardrobe going, the actor has the opportunity to see that, and begin to feel that and, in the case of yourself, say yeah that’s a younger me. It’s time for me to go to work and slip into all of that and take advantage of all of that, and go be younger. Go play younger. You lighten your voice, you move a little quicker, you go to work with that. I think the reason this one worked, everybody has said, this looks so amazing. This really looks real. Is it because there’s not much CGI here. So there’s hope for all of us. [LAUGHTER]
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is in theaters NOW!
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