From Raccoons to Kevin Bacon – An Interview with James Gunn at the #GuardiansOfTheGalaxyEvent

Director James Gunn
Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy
Director James Gunn
Ph: Jay Maidment
©Marvel 2014

It is great to get the insight of an individual actor on their character within a movie. It is another thing altogether to get the perspective of the movie’s director. I had this rare opportunity to interview James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy at the #GuardiansOfTheGalaxyEvent a couple of weeks ago. James told us all about his childhood inspiration and creativity, the character that he most identifies with and what Marvel characters he’d like to see in a future movie. The interview was upbeat, funny and full of great behind the scenes information.

Two Weeks Ago I was on an all expense paid blogger trip sponsored by ABC Family (#ABCFamilyEvent, #MysteryGirls, #YoungandHungry, #ChasingLife), Disney (#GuardiansOfTheGalaxyEvent, #BigHero6) and DreamWorks (#100FootJourneyEvent). The opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine unless of course they are credited as a direct quote of someone else.

Guardians of the Galaxy Director James Gunn speaks to the bloggers
Photo by Kristy Smith

James Gunn is a very animated guy. He was completely at ease with the large group of bloggers, many more than he had expected. James jumped right in to list out what he loves, “I love dancing, I love pop music, I love super heroes, and I love space adventures and I love Raccoons. So I have all the things I love in one movie.”

On movie making James said, “I think really what I do best at picking other people and finding what they are good at and arranging them in such a way that makes a good movie.” Also having a basic knowledge of all aspects of movie making is important so that he can have a conversation with people to bring a film to the desired place.

Gunn on set with actor Sean Gunn
Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy
Director James Gunn on set with actor Sean Gunn (Rocket Raccoon performance capture)
Ph: Jay Maidment
©Marvel 2014

Who is James’ favorite Guardian? “The one I feel most connected to is Rocket. Because I feel the outcast in Rocket and although I feel that Rocket is the meanest Guardian, I think he is the most selfish Guardian, I think he is the Guardian that learns the least at the end of the movie… he is the saddest.” At this point James got a little emotional about Rocket. “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 and innocent little animal, I love animals” James went on to say that he came to love Rocket because he had the greatest hand in creating Rocket over any of the other Guardians, he does also mention Groot here as well but Rocket is his guy, clearly. James compared creating rocket to conducting a symphony and that so many people had a hand in creating this character that he felt so much more real to him.

James also had an additional connection to Rocket. His brother Sean Gunn played Rocket on set. He played all the lines and the movie was completed when Bradley Cooper came in to do his lines. By that time James had a very specific vision of how Rocket would speak. The first day that Bradley recorded was the most relieving day of the film. James said that he always knew the movie would work if Rocket worked. A lot of intense work was done on recording Rocket. It really shows when you see the movie.

The World Premiere Of Marvel's Epic Space Adventure "Guardians Of The Galaxy" - Red Carpet
Director James Gunn attends The World Premiere of Marvel’s epic space adventure “Guardians of the Galaxy,” directed by James Gunn and presented in Dolby 3D and Dolby Atmos at the Dolby Theatre. July 21, 2014 Hollywood, CA
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez

I was able to ask James a question. I asked, “With the Marvel Cinematic Universe expanding and you making it expand exponentially with this movie are there any couple of characters that you would want to see together in a story?” James responded that he would love to tell the Rocket and Groot story. He loves those two characters. He’s also like to tell the Drax story or the Gamora or Nebula story. It seemed to me that after spending so much time with these characters and learning all he could about them that it was natural that he would pick those characters and want to give them even more screen time, more life.

Guardians of the Galaxy Director James Gunn
Photo by JustEnza.com

What drew James to the Guardians? “I think, the main thing that drew me to the Guardians was the ability to create a whole new wing of the Marvel Universe.” Rather than be stuck to another Earth-bound Marvel movie or even a movie that lead into the next Avengers movie the idea of creating was most appealing. “With Guardians I was able to create not just a new world but new worlds, new characters, new species and I found that to just be the most freeing thing ever.” James went on to tell us that when he was a boy he was obsessed with the solar system and he had this special box where he would create detailed drawings of planets that he created right down to the species that lived on them and even their pets and homes. “This box became filled over time with this universe inside of it that I created. That’s where my heart was and that is still where my heart is because because that is what this movie is.”

The World Premiere Of Marvel's Epic Space Adventure "Guardians Of The Galaxy" - Red Carpet
James Gunn attends The World Premiere of Marvel’s epic space adventure “Guardians of the Galaxy,” directed by James Gunn and presented in Dolby 3D and Dolby Atmos at the Dolby Theatre. July 21, 2014 Hollywood, CA
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez

“When I set out to make a movie I didn’t set out to make a movie like the ones I loved as a kid, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, but I wanted to make a movie that would make kids and adults feel like I felt when I saw those movie,” Says Gunn. In my opinion he certainly accomplished that feat. I got that feeling of excitement and enjoyment upon leaving the theater. These characters certainly had come alive for me and I want to go on more adventures with them.

“I found it a great opportunity to make a movie that was about family, that was about friendship,” stated Gunn. He went on to say, “I think that in the world… it is so important to be cool, to hip, to show how you don’t care and this movie is the exact opposite. It’s a movie about caring. It’s a movie that allows emotions into a spectacle film.” I couldn’t agree more with that. I’ve been having discussions with people online about this movie and how I think it is one of the best because of the range of emotion we see in the characters and how that emotion comes from a very real, personal and painful place. It make the coming together of the team so much stronger when each character gets in touch with that emotional motivation in their lives. As a member of the audience you care what happens to the characters because you get to know them more. Even a character like Groot, who is a living tree with that says three words still conveys emotion in his movements and expressions.

Bloggers with James Gunn
Photo by Marshall Weinbaum

The most difficult thing in making this movie was creating the CGI characters. Making them as real and believable as possible. And also as lovable as the rest of the characters in the movie. James admits that he is a perfectionist when it comes to visual effects and is very hard on visual effects people. I think that the attention to detail certainly pays off in this movie. The effects are stunning and the characters are living breathing entities.

James did tell us about a hilarious little on set dance off that was filmed and will be on the DVD extras. Dave Bautista also told us about the same event because he was again the straight man on the joke.

I enjoyed this interview very much. Learning a more global overview of making of the movie gave me so much greater insight into something I already love so much.

… I suppose you want to know what Kevin Bacon has to do with Guardians of the Galaxy… Well, you’ll have to see the movie to find out.

Learn more about the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie

Here is the Story Synopsis.

From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team—the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.

Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which first appeared in comic books in Marvel Super-Heroes, Issue #18 (Jan. 1969), stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael and Benicio del Toro as The Collector.

James Gunn is the director of the film with Kevin Feige producing, and Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Alan Fine and Stan Lee serve as executive producers. The story is by Nicole Perlman and James Gunn, with screenplay by James Gunn. Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” was released in U.S. theaters on August 1, 2014. It is in theaters NOW! Go watch it!

Like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on Facebook: www.facebook.com/guardiansofthegalaxy

Follow GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Guardians

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10 thoughts on “From Raccoons to Kevin Bacon – An Interview with James Gunn at the #GuardiansOfTheGalaxyEvent”

    1. Nicole,

      I tell you, I’m still a bit in shock that I was able to attend this event. This was such a surprise to me to be asked to attend. I have been trying my best to give the best interviews possible from the people that we met. It really is exciting.

  1. Hmmm, could Kevin Bacon have anything to do with the dancing? Now you have me wondering. I love when movies like this are made, leading to more spin-offs with different characters…. I could see him getting to tell more of the individual characters’ stories in various movies. Can’t wait to see this. We have a date all set to go to the drive in and see it in a couple weeks. Can’t wait!
    Look at what Mel {MamaBuzz} wrote blog post ..Inspire Me Wednesday Creative, Food, and Travel Link Party {Issue 91} #InspireMe

  2. I love when movies like this are made, leading to more spin-offs with different characters….

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