Hopefully by now you heard the amazing box office records that GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is smashing! As I mentioned before, this is probably my most favorite Marvel movie, and definitely the best movie I’ve seen in 2014. Last month, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the GUARDIANS Press Junket. Hopefully by now you’ve read my Vin Diesel, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Dave Bautista interviews from earlier. Don’t forget to check out my review!
Today I’m sharing with you my interview with the director of the film, James Gunn! This is his first time directing a Marvel movie, and I must give him mad props for the success. He is such a fun and hilarious guy! You could tell he really had a lot of fun with the cast in creating this film.
When James first entered the room, he commented on how much us bloggers had been tweeting him! Yes, our followers were very excited that we were getting to sit down and chat with the director. Luckily James loved the Twitter interaction!
Now if you haven’t seen the film yet, you may be a little confused over this next question. So I have a suggestion for you… Go see the film! Then comeback and read this interview and the whole “dance” concept will make complete sense!
Do you have a love for dance?
JAMES: Yeah, I do. When I say Kevin Bacon is a great national hero, I mean it. I love dancing, and I love pop music. I love super heroes and I love space adventures. I love raccoons. So I have all the things I love in one movie!
Does Kevin Badon know about this?
JAMES: *LAUGHS* He knows that I love him. Kevin was in my last movie. He doesn’t know (about the mention in the film) so we’ve got to keep it quiet. I’m suppose to invite him to the New York premiere. Someone reminded him I didn’t do it. So maybe I’ll text him after I get out of here! But I’m excited for him to see it.
You’re a director, producer, and you’re an actor. Is there anything that you don’t do?
JAMES: Well, filmmaking wise, I could never be a DP! There’s a lot of things I could never do. I think really what I do best is picking other people, finding what other people are good at, and sort of arranging those in a way that makes a good movie. I think that’s really what a good director is able to do. And then I have a basic knowledge of most parts of filmmaking. So that I can have a conversation with those people, just sort of bring a film to the desired place.
What drew you to GUARDIANS?
JAMES: New characters, new species! And I found that to be just the most freeing thing ever. When I was a little boy, I had a box. And this box, I was sort of obsessed with. Within it I would have the solar system and all the different planets. I would make drawings for each one of the different planets, the species that lived on that planet, what their pets were, what their houses looked like, what their water systems were like… This box became filled over time with this sort of universe inside of it that I created. That’s where my heart was. That’s still where my heart is. That’s what this movie is!
Who’s your favorite Guardian and why?
JAMES: The one I feel the most connected to is Rocket, because I feel the outcast in Rocket. Although I think that Rocket is the meanest Guardian, the most selfish Guardian, he’s probably the Guardian that learns the least at the end of the movie… But he is the saddest. Well, it’s very strange I connected because I started to get emotional! I feel like he’s just this little mangled guy that is completely alone in this world. There’s nothing else like him, he’s been torn apart and put back together again. He was originally an innocent little animal. I love animals to begin with. So I’ve come to love him. I think also because I had the greatest time in creating Rocket over any of the other Guardians!
How’s it feel doing a PG-13 movie, knowing it’s going to be geared more towards a younger audience, versus your R rated movie?
JAMES: I loved it! When I set out to make this movie, I didn’t set out to make a movie that was like the movies I loved as a kid. You know, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and STAR WARS, and these films. I wanted to make a movie that would make kids and adults feel like I felt when I saw this movie! Something that would actively inspire imagination. I found it in the great opportunity to make a movie that was about family, about friendship. I think in the world where it’s so important to be cool and so important to like be hip and show how you don’t care… This movie is the exact opposite. It’s a movie about caring. It’s a movie that allows emotions into a spectacle film, which is extremely rare. Real characters, real people with flaws. Not exactly real people, real aliens. Monsters and that stuff.
How long did it take from beginning to end, for you? What was the most complicated process in making the film?
JAMES: I wouldn’t be surprised if it was exactly two years from today when it started. So I came in July of 2012 to meet with those guys. I was pretty much started working on it right after that in terms of storyboarding and writing the screenplay. Then I moved to England in February… I finished the visual effects right before I got on a plane. I went from Disney to the airport. And then I came back here and I finished the 3D just a few days ago! The most difficult… letting go has not been the easiest part of it. Because you and your brain gets used to doing one thing for two years. This has been my life.
With the Marvel cinematic universe expanding exponentially, are there any couple characters you’d like to see together in a story?
JAMES: I would love to tell the Rocket and Groot story for sure. Yeah, I love them. I’d love to do the Drax movie. I’d love to do the Gamora film. I think they’re all interesting enough to me. I want to do the Nebula film. It’s something I actually think about a lot. So I think that all those characters, I have a deep enough connection to that, they could go off on their own direction.
In the Guardians comics there is a lot of interplay with the Avengers. Was there any interconnection or conversations that you had with Joss Wheedon, on what he has done or is doing, with the Avengers?
JAMES: Yes, for sure. I would talk to Joss because I didn’t want to do anything that was going to contradict future plans. Really the one piece of connective tissue is Thanos, as he’s the guy who’s at the end of The Avengers. He’s a character in our movie, and he will likely show up in future Marvel movies. I would have conversations with Joss about all the Thanos aspects of things, even down to the casting.
What was the most difficult thing to bring to the big screen?
JAMES: The most difficult thing to bring were the CGI characters. We had to make them as real and believable and loveable as the rest of the characters in the movie. I am beyond a perfectionist when it comes to visual effects. I’m very very hard on visual effects people. My eyes are really difficult and harsh on that stuff. So that was the long road.
Were there hilarious antics that took place while filming?
JAMES: *LAUGHS* One of our great moments was in the dance off! We didn’t tell Dave Bautista. I went up to (the other actors) and said, “When Chris challenges you to a dance-off, take him up on it.” (Everyone is dancing). And then they turn it over to Dave who is like, “Oh, no!” And he did it. He just started dancing and then we had about 200 extras on set and all of them started dancing. It’s one of my favorite things. It’ll be on the DVD, for sure.
Don’t forget to connect with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on Facebook and Twitter! Be sure to check out my tutorials for homemade galaxy playdough and for Galactic Space Art both inspired by the film’s upcoming release.
This film is now playing EVERYWHERE!!!
While I attended an expense paid trip by Disney to the press events for Guardians of the Galaxy, 100 Foot Journey, and ABC Family, all opinions are 100% my own.