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.
My favorite part of these trips with Disney is always meeting the creators. From Jon Favreau of The Jungle Book, to John & Ron from Moana, and now Kevin Feige and James Gun for Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. I mean, first of all – Kevin Feige – let’s get real. Massive crush on him (sorry, babe, I still love you the mostest). I guess it could be said I have a thing for super ambitious, talented men (as evidenced by my own husband). He’s only in his early 40s and the president of Marvel studios. Does that not trigger something in you? It does me.
And James Gunn. I think Pom Klementieff said it best:
— Summer Len Davis (@SummerLenDavis) May 4, 2017
He really did reinvent the superhero movie, and James Gunn’s touch is exactly what Guardians needed from the very beginning. As much as I love Marvel movies, the Guardians movies really stand apart from the rest thanks to James Gunn’s vision and canny ability to cast the right people in the right roles.
So to start, James and Kevin walked in and James dropped a major bomb on us before they had even sat down. His favorite part of making the Guardians of the Galaxy movies?
James: And this is my favorite part of making the Guardians movies, meeting with the Mommy Bloggers. That’s not that’s not a joke!
For realz, you guys. Those words came out of his mouth. BAM! Sealed the deal. Then Kevin Feige said
completely backing him up. And then James said:
That’s a hundred percent, a hundred percent true. It’s like, you guys are the best, because it’s like, totally, like, real and not so…
James: Hollywood-y, yeah! You know, the others are trying to get the…
Kevin: Hot scoops?
James: “GIVE US THE HOT SCOOPS!”
At that point, we totally admitted we still want the hot scoops, so Kevin replied with the best thing ever.
Kevin: Well, you’ll actually get them.
James: See, because you guys aren’t so needy, we give you the hot scoop.
And that’s how they both became my favorites. The end.
Kidding, There’s more, there’s so much more.
Music is such a big part of the Guardians movies, it really holds the whole thing together, so we had to know that James Gunn’s process was in figuring out which songs he was going to use in this film.
James: 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.
The first hot scoop that they dropped on us is that someone on Twitter suggested a song called Wham Bam by Silver, and they wound up using the song in the film! Whoever you are – whoever suggested that movie – please stand up, because they want to find you.
James: There was one song that came from Twitter, Wham Bam, and I’m like,
“I’ve never — what is that song?”
I went and I played it, and I’m like,
“This is a really cool, like, total Seventies pop song that is so different.Is this, like, a fake song?” I thought it was a modern band with a retro vibe. I Had to go and do some research on it, and found out that it really existed so I put it in the movie. I wish I knew who that Twitter person was.
Kevin: Somebody could find it. That’s a fun idea!
Well, I Tried, and no luck yet. . .
— Summer Len Davis (@SummerLenDavis) May 4, 2017
James Gunn doesn’t care if you never talk to him again. No, seriously. He doesn’t.
There’s nothing I get more tweets about than “you oughta put this song in Guardians of the Galaxy.” But those are the nice ones. The mean ones are, “If you don’t put this song in Guardians of the Galaxy, I’ll never talk to you again.”
I’m like, “Okay, don’t talk to me.”
Kevin Feige admits that James really hit it out of the park choosing songs for both Guardians of the Galaxy films. Apparently not all screenwriters nail it the way he did.
Kevin: What’s so amazing is, 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 film, it was like, “Oh, that’s cute, he thinks these songs are gonna be in the movie. We’ll see.” Every single song. It’s not just the movie. But what’s perfect for the movie. And then for Volume two, I knew better. So, I would listen to the song as I’m reading the outline, then later the script, and that sort of pool of songs that he has comes in handy.
The Guardians movies are really built around the music, and if the music hadn’t worked, they believe it would have been really, really bad news bears.
James: After we did the first, the screening of Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the first comments was, “The music is great.” And I remember you going [to Kevin], “Oh, thank God, thank God.”
Kevin: the whole movie was built around the music!
James: If people said “the music is weird, we hate it,” then that would have been big trouble. Would have been like saying, “take out all the jokes! Take out the raccoon. We love it all but the stupid raccoon!”
(That’s funny because Kevin Feige’s favorite Guardians character is Rocket Raccoon)
The new Guardians of the Galaxy ride at California Adventure also has music chosen by James Gunn and Kevin Feige. Basically when you ride the ride, it’s like you’re riding inside the mind of James Gunn. THAT’S a hot scoop!
Kevin: 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.
Fun fact about James Gunn: He’s a bit of an overachiever.
James: So, I write a very in-depth treatment. It ends up being about 70 pages long. That number’s a little bit high because I put a bunch of photographs in there of things that make us know what the feel of things are. But it’s more like a 55-page draft. It goes very much into depth, in the dialogue, every beat of the story, what’s happening. I like to do that first. But with that, I have a disk that I give to the four, five people that read that treatment, and that disk has all of the songs on it that are in the movie.
Of all the actors in the movie, James believes that Rooker & Pratt are probably the ones having a relationship off-screen. Quick backstory: One of the other bloggers asked about the relationship between Chris and Zoe, but what she meant to ask was about the relationship between Peter Quill and Gamora, and James took it and ran with it.
Kevin: Chris and Zoe’s relationship?
James: I was gonna say, I do not see that happening. If that’s going on behind my back for the past five years, I would be really surprised. Rooker and Pratt? Maybe. A little more believable.
The relationship between Peter Quill and Gamora is one that James treats with a lot of respect. He doesn’t want to do anything for the sake of there being a kiss, or for the sake of a relationship growing in that way. The connection between the two characters is actually something that he’s thought a lot about and has talked a lot about with the actors who play those characters.
James: At the end of the movie we have a moment between the two of them, where I think something is acknowledged. We tried to treat these characters with such respect and such love. And 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. I think what we see between the two of them is such a truer love story where she loves him, and he loves her but that’s a love that’s based not only on attraction but on a really deep friendship that the two of them have.
Kevin: It’s the difference between a truthful, emotional moment, and a Hollywood moment, and that was very savvy of James to navigate that.
In terms of having some interconnectivity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kevin doesn’t want any of them to seem like movies with a bunch of Stan Lee cameos. With the Guardians making an appearance in the upcoming Avengers movie, we wanted to know how that was going to go down.
Kevin: 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, it’ll be very meaningful and very important to the story that we’re telling. The Avenger film is shooting right now and we’ve already shot a lot of those interactions, and it’s very exciting.
There’s a scene at the end of the movie where Sylvester Stallone’s character is with the Ravager Captains that was shot in post because James woke up one morning with a wild hair and thought it would be the best thing ever. It wound up being Kevin Feige’s favorite thing ever.
James: The Ravager Captains are based on the original Guardians in the comic books, an earlier iteration of the Guardians, as Yondu is. That scene 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.”
You guys, James Gunn watches The Voice, which is how he cast Miley Cyrus as the voice of Mainframe in this movie. For those of you who don’t know (I didn’t), she’s the talking robot head at the end of the movie.
James: I was watching The Voice, and I’m like, “She’s so likeable.” Her voice is awesome, she’s got the best voice. And 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’ mom and dad are both in the movie, along with several other family members. They are credited in the movie as “Weird old man” and “Weird old man’s mistress”, and his mother had something to say about being the mistress.
James: My mom loved it. My mom loves being the mistress.
At the actual premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, James made a sweet dedication to his parents that touched a lot of us sitting there. He said that his upbringing and the way he was raised had a lot to do with setting the whole purpose of the movie.
James: 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.
They’re all very imperfect characters, but, you know, 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.
When Marvel Studios first pitched the idea of Guardians to James, he thought they were making a huge mistake by introducing them into the MCU.
James: I thought, ‘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 hands and I went home 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.
James believes Chris Pratt owes him his life, and certainly his manly figure.
James: Chris Pratt often gives me a lot of credit, and a lot of gratitude, and he does, he owes me his life, because, without me, what would he really be doing? He’d be eating a chili dog right now.
James believes his super power is that he doesn’t really give a shit, but once he had the revelation about Guardians, it was the first gig he was ever really concerned with getting, and it wound up being exactly what the Guardians are about.
James: 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. 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 so it was a new experience for me in caring, and it’s so funny because that’s exactly what the Guardians are about.
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.