April 21, 2017 01:00 By Manta Klangboonkrong The Nation Tokyo
The young adventurers protecting the galaxy continue their travels through the cosmos as they seek to reunite Peter Quill with his father
ONE OF the most popular films to hit the big screen back in 2014, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is back in theatres next Wednesday, with “Vol 2”, as the sequel is known, featuring all the usual suspects, and then some.
Picking up where “Guardians of the Galaxy” left off, Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2” continues the action packed, irreverent, epic space adventures of Peter Quill, aka Star Lord, and his gang of eccentric characters as they patrol and protect the universe, doing mercenary work in the wake of the popularity and fame they garnered from saving Xandar. Set to the backdrop of “Awesome Mixtape #2”, the story follows the team as they fight to keep their newfound family together while traversing the outer reaches of the cosmos to unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage.
Earlier this month, Chris Pratt, who plays Quill, Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax) and director James Gunn popped over to Tokyo for the film’s premiere and took time out to meet the press from all over Asia.
Did the success of the first movie catch you off guard? Was there pressure for the second one?
Pratt: I think everybody was a little surprised at the enormous success of the first movie. All I can say in that we knew while making the movie that we were doing something special.
Gunn: It is the opposite of pressure, I would say. It was a big relief, if anything, because I knew that people were going to want to see it.
What was it like coming to this new Sovereign planet?
Pratt: When we meet The Guardians, you find out that they’ve been essentially doing some mercenary style contract work, protection for hire basically. In the beginning of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2,” they’re working for Ayesha and the Sovereign. The Sovereign is a very pretentious society. They’ve been genetically manipulated and have become this weird master race of golden people who consider themselves physically and intellectually impeccable. And they are, needless to say, pretty high maintenance. So Quill finds himself in the position of having to prevent the Guardians from offending them because the cost of that transgression is death.
Music played such an important part in the original film. Is that also the case in Vol 2?
Gunn: Yes, music is just as important. We had “Awesome Mix Vol 1” last time, and this time we have “Awesome Mix Vol 2”. It’s so important that it’s actually part of the film’s title this time around. As most people know, Quill’s mum made the first tape for a slightly younger boy, and she made the second type for a slightly older boy. So, in many ways the songs reflect the story.
The songs are a little bit deeper, a little less pop. The choices are more eclectic, more popular. But we have a really amazing group of songs that, as with the first movie, I wrote into the script.
Pratt: Fans of the first movie always talk about how much the loved the music. And, of course, Quill at the end of the first movie gets “Awesome Mix Volume 2” from his mother, which is a harbinger of things to come. And we’ve got an exceptional playlist in Volume 2, some great songs.
Saldana: Music makes the whole process of accessing emotional beats or sense memory much easier. So when you have a song that fits tonewise, what’s going on between two characters while they are having a moment with each other takes you there. It takes you there quickly, and it moves you.
The story of Quill’s dad will be explored and revealed in this sequel. Tell us about Ego.
Gunn: Peter Quill’s father, Ego, has been looking for him for a very long time. He wants a relationship with his son in the same way Peter wants a relationship with his father. Peter has really wanted a father since he was a child. This goes back to before his mother passed away when he was a child on Earth. He carried around a photograph in his pocket of David Hasselhoff and told the other kids at school that he was his dad. He has that hole in him, which he shows early on to Gamora, as their friendship has grown quite intimate since the last movie. He wants to see if Ego can fill that Hasselhoff role or not. That is Peter Quill’s journey in the movie.
Chris, how was it working with Kurt Russell?
Pratt: When I found out that Kurt Russell was playing my dad, I was thrilled. It was like sitting at the poker table with a great hand and then getting another ace dealt to you. It was just perfect casting and it couldn’t have worked out better. On top of the fact that he’s an exceptional actor, he’s also a really great guy. He’s a legit stud. I asked him if he’d be my dad in real life and I’m still waiting to hear back.
Bautista: Kurt is so perfectly cast as Quill’s father. It’s amazing seeing the two of them interact on set. It really works. I am surprised that Kurt was so down to earth. He just blended right in. He talks to everybody and over anybody’s head. It was really great seeing somebody who’s that successful being so levelheaded. It was a good feeling, a great experience.
Gamora, too, has to face her family. What is going on with the relationship between Gamora and Nebula?
Saldana: I’m one of three sisters. We’re each a year apart and we’re super close. I’m very moved by having siblings. And I’m moved by them because they’re better people than I am. I kind of wanted that to be the dynamic between Gamora and Nebula. It’s that thing about being an older sibling and accepting that if your younger sibling knew how much more powerful she was, it would be better between the two of you. I think if you know Nebula, you’ll understand Gamora a little more.
How does Karen Gillan bring Nebula to life in this one?
Gunn: Nebula in the second movie has a much larger role than Nebula in the first movie. In the first one, Karen had a few lines. In this movie she has a key role. It’s as much Nebula’s story as it is Gamora’s story. So, I needed to make sure Karen would be fully Nebula in this one. And she brought it. She’s an exceptional actress.
What about Drax? Anything new with your character?
Bautista: It’s weird. On the first film my makeup took much longer. This makeup process, even though it takes half the time to put on, is a little bit harder to take off because it’s a different process completely. So it’s kind of a trade off, but at the end of the day I just want Drax to look as good as possible. When Drax just looks so badass on film, it’s just all worth it. With this new process, you actually see me. I had to keep in shape on this film, as I am not covered mostly with sheets of silicone like I was in the last one.
What or who do you think audience is going to love most about this film?
Gunn: Baby Groot, of course. It’s an easy sell. It’s a little tiny adorable tree that also likes to kill his enemies. There are some really memorable scenes with Nebula and Gamora that people are going to remember fondly and the relationship between Yondu and Quill is something that I’m excited for audiences to experience as well.
Bautista: The first film was more about people coming together for the greater good. And I think this film is more about relationships with people. It is the story of a family. Your family doesn’t always have to be blood family. They can be chosen family. So I think this is more of a relationship film, and everyone can relate to that.
Saldana: I encourage everyone in the family to go see it. It’s going to make you feel very good when you leave.