I have to give a Galaxy-sized thank you to Disney & Marvel Studios for hosting me during the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Event.
I stood next to the girl who waited (Karen Gillan) and it was glorious. I also stood next to this beautiful, tall, statue of a women named Elizabeth Debicki, and next to Pom Klementieff who was graceful but bubbly and a lot of fun – nothing like her character, Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2.
I’m always super excited when women love being in the company of other women, and these three were no exception.
Nebula is a complete badass and her story in Volume 2 reveals a broken, hurting woman. As a Guardians of the Galaxy fan, I have to have full transparency here.
I didn’t even make the connection between my favorite Dr. Who companion (Karen Gillan) and the same Karen Gillan who plays Nebula. Like, it never, EVER crossed my mind that they might be the same person, and yet when she walked in the room, it was like someone had sucked all the air out of my lungs. I think the fact that Amy Pond can become Nebula speaks volumes to Karen’s talent as an actress. Zoe Saldana admitted as much when she confessed that Karen becomes Nebula and that it’s hard to remember you’re even in the room with Karen, it’s just Nebula all day.
Mantis is a really interesting character, but I feel I can’t say too much about her without giving some of the movie away, and I’m not ready to do that yet. What I can say is that I Pom does a phenomenal job of bringing Mantis and all of her quirks and strengths and timid weaknesses to life.
Ayesha is stunning and terrifying at the same time, and Elizabeth gave me no terror when she walked in the room, but playing a poised, beautiful woman of power isn’t a stretch for her. She brings those qualities to the table anyway.
Read ahead to find out more about girl power, what it takes to become these characters, and which of the characters had to learn how not to run like a girl from Zoe Saldana.
The Makeup process is different for each character. Karen had the most elaborate paint and prosthetics, Pom had the most CGI elements, and Elizabeth had the most elaborate, difficult to wear costume. Karen’s makeup artist has won an Oscar!
Karen: My makeup takes about four hours in the morning, and essentially I have the character’s skin glued to my face, which is really as close as I could possibly get to her which is pretty cool. And it’s kind of intense and slightly claustrophobic. It’s definitely become like part of my ritual, in terms of like getting into character. Like one time I did a rehearsal without the makeup and I did not feel like her at all, so it’s sort of become like a vital part of the process for me which is kind of cool.
Pom:For me it’s much easier because it’s my skin tones, so it’s like beauty makeup in a way. I need two hours to get completely ready, hair makeup and clothes. I wear a prosthetics on my forehead, it’s just the beginning of the antennas, and then with the CGI they make it much bigger. The makeup artists are so talented. I wear contact lenses in my eyes so really big ones that cover my whole eye, there’s no white in my eye almost. And so I feel like kind of claustrophobic, I have tunnel vision, so it makes me feel like in my own world, which is kind of good for the character too.
Elizabeth: I think I’ve got it the easiest because I just sort of sit there and someone paints me It’s kind of sticky and cold, but I love it. The first day I thought it was a bit overwhelming, the whole paint situation. And then I came to set and I said hi to Zoe, and I said, ‘What time did you come to work?’ and she said like 3AM. I had a very civil call of like 6AM. And then I thought, ‘I am never ever complaining about makeup ever again.’ I also asked her for some tips, and she said you just have to be very Zen, just be very patient. So I would just sort of plug into a podcast. I think my process is about an hour and a half and then with the wig cap as well. And then actually for me the most time consuming and hectic part of Ayesha is the costume and that gold dress is almost entirely metal. It weighs so much. It takes about three women to help me get it on. We used to call it the Ayesha Taco because the whole bottom of the dress is like a great big circular metal thing. They would fold it up like a taco and then I would walk up the stairs. Wherever I get placed, that’s where I am for the day. It feels like a small child is hanging onto my back.
Elizabeth says having the dress on informs her of who she is as Ayesha.
Karen is no stranger to a devoted fan base and she says it makes you feel like a special person for just a second.
Karen: It’s such a cool sensation actually to be part of something that people actually care about because that’s not always the case, usually you’re trying so hard to just make people care about your project. With things like Dr. Who and this, it just has this built in fan base and they’re so accepting and they’re so passionate, they care about all the decisions you make and you just feel like really special for a second.
Elizabeth: It’s actually a huge privilege as an actor, like Karen said, to be a part of something that people really want to see and that they care so deeply about. It’s rare in life to be part of something that people love so much and they care so much about.
Nebula’s character really develops in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 and we begin to understand why she is the way that she is. It’s important for Karen that Nebula have those layers because it’s not very interesting to have a bad guy for no reason.
Karen: In the first movie we saw her and she was this sort of evil super villain watching from the sidelines a little bit, but in this movie we really understand why. And for me like it’s my job as an actor to sort of be her lawyer and explain to everyone like why she is justified in doing these things and I think we achieve that in the movie, which is really cool. And it was just so important to me to give her those layers, because it’s not really interesting to just have a bad guy for no reason.
Karen is not the best fighter and she fully admits that, but she’s not afraid to take a pointer when she needs one.
Karen: That was amazing fun actually and I’m not the best fighter in the world, I kind of looked like spaghetti. Zoe was amazing, so she was just giving me all these pointers, and she was like ‘If you turn your head like this, and strangle like this, then you’re going to look really cool.’ It was great, I really enjoyed it. I did a version of all the stunts and then an amazing stunt double came in and made me look cooler. It was emotional as well, it was physical and emotional, this battle between the two sisters, and it was just really interesting to me.
Pom had to try really hard not to laugh at interactions between her and Dave Bautista (Drax) during filming.
Pom:It was really funny but I had to not laugh. Mantis is innocent, she’s like a child, so whatever he tells her, she’s like, ‘Okay, if you say so’.
Each female character in this movie has a good takeaway for young girls. Each woman told us what she hopes young girls take away from their on-screen persona.
Pom (Mantis): It’s okay to be imperfect and to not be like any everyone else. Maybe you’re weird sometimes and that’s just you. That’s what makes you interesting.
Elizabeth (Ayesha): She’s very strong. I suppose her moral compass is slightly askew and she’s slightly merciless. Maybe her strength. I suppose what I like about her is that she isn’t perfect, she’s actually quite fallible. The irony is she’s genetically modified to be perfect and she’s extremely imperfect, so I guess the same thing as Mantis in a way. I would say you could look at Ayesha and then decide to be compassionate.
Pom used Mr. Burns from The Simpsons as inspiration for how to act for her character, Mantis.
Pom: I wanted her to be like an insect. She’s kind of like nervous so she kind of cleans her hands like a preying mantis and like Mr. Burns in The Simpsons. When you see her in the beginning of the movie, you’re like ‘Is she good, is she bad, what’s happening?’ She has these really black eyes so you can’t really go through her soul. She’s alien, you know. I had fun with it.
Where does Karen want to see Nebula in the next Guardians of the Galaxy film?
Karen: I feel like she has one clear agenda, which is to kill Thanos. I really hope that she is the one that gets to do that, so I’m crossing my fingers. It would be like therapeutic. I’d like to see her relationship with Gamora maybe get a little healthier, however not so healthy that they don’t still try to kill each other because that’s so much fun. I want her to be bad, but like, a little bit good.
Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is written and directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as Baby Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan, Laura Haddock, with Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell. Kevin Feige is producing, and Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Nikolas Korda and Stan Lee are the executive producers. Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” blasts into theaters on May 5, 2017.