Robb Sheppard (@RedBezzle)
Panel: How did it feel working with the rest of the Guardians again?
Sean Gunn: Both experiences were great – we’ve built quite a family. It’s been great to work with the old people but also with a new bunch of people on the Infinity War movies. I have so much respect for everyone that I worked with and also for the people who put these casts together. Hollywood’s kind of a strange place, and I’ve gotta say I’ve really enjoyed all the people I’ve been to meet and learn from.
What about Joe and Anthony (Russo – Avengers: Infinity War directors) as directors? It’s a different experience to working with James (Gunn) I imagine?
Yeah, I love Joe and Anthony. They’re very different from my brother, all directors are. I also haven’t known them since I was born, so that makes a difference! I like how they work off each other and they’re pretty unflappable. And that’s one area that they share with my brother, that they’re very calm set presences which can be hugely important in films like these.
Working on the Gilmore Girls revival; was that a weird thing to go back to after working on Guardians of the Galaxy?
I was kinda doing double duty. Triple duty if you consider both roles in Guardians of the Galaxy, and also doing Gilmore Girls at the same time. We were shooting them simultaneously, and I was flying back and forth between Georgia and California, to do those roles. The good thing about going back and doing Gilmore Girls again was like putting on a comfortable old pair of slippers. It didn’t take long to get back into that character, Kirk is very, very familiar and available to me, and when the writing is as good as it is, it makes it that much easier.
What’s it like in the Rocket Racoon suit.
Most of the stills that people see are from the first movie, where I was wearing the green leotard. But in the subsequent films I just wear a grey tracksuit. Which is a lot more comfortable and a lot less dorky looking then the leotard, so that’s a little bit better. But I’m four movies now into doing Rocket on set, and sometimes I forget when actors turn up on set for the first time, they see me do it, they get a little freaked out by ‘whoa that guys really getting down and walking in a crouch position.’
Is it method acting then would you call it?
(Laughs) I don’t root around any trash like Racoons do, I did have to dig on some of my drama school training, in getting down and being an animal.
Having previously worked with Michael Rooker on Super, another James Gunn movie, was it interesting to get back in with Yondu and Kraglin when doing Guardians of the Galaxy?
Oh, god! I just wanna do one movie without Rooker. (Laughs)
Is that why you’re separated on the panel now?
Yeah, right. I love Rooker, he’s like a crazy uncle. We were friends before we even did Super. We’ve done about four movies together.
Talking about Kraglin, how’s the whistling coming on?
I hope it’s coming on well, we need him to use that whistle now, don’t we? If he’s gonna have some sort of imprint on the third movie, we need him to learn.
Hopefully, we’re going to get Kraglin back in a big capacity in the third movie. You’re not listed as Kraglin in Infinity Wars.
You won’t see Kraglin in the first Infinity War movie and after you all see it, we can talk further after that. A lot of things happen that bear on subsequent movies, so…
It was nice to see Kraglin go from a supporting character to a fully-fledged Guardian. Is that something that you’re excited about for the third film?
Yeah, we’ve talked a little bit and he gives me some hints here and there about what the plot will be like for the third movie. I haven’t seen any words or seen any script, but he will sit me down and talk me through the direction of the movie. He’s such diligent planner that usually the way he says things are gonna work out, they pretty much go in those directions.
I never really get my hopes up, it’s Hollywood, you’re not really in the movie until the movie’s finished. Which is a long ways from now, and I care more about the story than the character, so I just want the movie to be great so whatever they ask me to do, I’ll be ready for it, for sure.
How does it feel switching back and forth between Kraglin and Rocket on set.
The scenes where I have to play both characters, in the second movie in particular, there’s about four scenes where both characters have dialogue. It’s definitely the trickiest thing I’ve had to do in my career. I have to tackle the scene from both angles and then when I’m on set, I have to try maintain my focus. A large percentage of any good acting is preparation and focus. So, on those days when I’m doing both I just need to be double prepared and as focused as I can be. And try to do the scene from both points of view. But also, it’s always a little bit easier as I know that if I screw up as Rocket, someone can fix it.
Does James ever let you choose a song on the soundtrack?
James doesn’t let anyone choose any songs on the soundtrack! It’s funny, he uses a lot of songs I’ve loved my whole life as well as him. My brothers and I are really into music and I’m never surprised by his selections, he’s never used a song I don’t know. He takes a lot of pride in saying he personally hand picks all the songs with no help from anyone so I’ll let him have that.
What songs would you put on for a third film?
Oh man! What I like about the third movie, and this is speculation, but it seems to be set up that the soundtrack might come from Yondu’s Zune in the third movie. That might be a gas. It’d be interesting to see what Yondu listens to. I’d love to hear something like Jukebox Hero. That’d be fun. Now I’d said that it won’t be in the movie.
The outtakes are hilarious in their own right. Do you have a favourite that you wish people could see?
I like that outtake that’s in the second movie at the end where I’m going over the bands, where Star Lord and Kraglin are talking about the bands on the Zune and Kraglin mentions Thin Lizzy and ‘that chick’ Alice Cooper. That’s certainly a lot of fun. We’re pretty lucky, there’s very little that gets cut from the movie. I think I had one scene as Rocket from the first movie and some little bits and pieces of stuff from Kraglin. For the most part, most of what we shoot goes in the film.
With so many talented artists on there, how free are you to improve, and how much of that is reflected in the final film?
You know, we don’t improv that much. Most of the dialogue is performed as written in the script. Things that are improvised are buttons at the end of the scenes – just a joke line at the end of the scene. There’s a little room to play there. The bulk of the improvising is done by my brother from behind the camera. So I know that he has his script that we’ve seen, then he has his alternate line script that he has for every day with things he’s feeding us as we’re acting. They feel like adlibs to us, because we haven’t heard them…he’s super-prepared and has a whole list of them ready to go. Not a whole lot is thought up ono the spot. A few lines, here and there, but most of it’s scripted.
What about Chris Pratt? Does he come up with a few one liners that he shouldn’t do?
They definitely have fun. My brother will say to Chris at certain moments: “Here’s an opportunity if you wanna adlib something or throw something in” you can do it there. It’s never pandemonium with everyone saying whatever the hell they think is funny. We stick to the script and have fun but it’s controlled fun.
Everyone adored Baby Groot but what can we expect from teenage Groot.
You saw a little bit of Teenage Groot in the tag scene for the second movie. You don’t have too long to wait now so I need to keep my mouth shut for now.
Everyone refers to him as Teenage Groot. But James actually said that he is a pre-teen, not a teen. So does that make him about 11 or 12?
Yeah, I mean Groot certainly ages more quickly than a human does. Baby Groot in the second movie is about three months old which is very young, but still old enough to walk around and speak. So I think that whatever time may have passed between the second Guardians and the first Infinity War has probably aged him a little bit.
Have you seen the new Infinity War trailer? What did you think of Star Lord meeting Tony Stark.
I can’t wait to see that on the big screen, but I have inside knowledge about a lot of that stuff. What I say here stays here right?
You’re amongst friends. On the subject of Groot. James recently upset a lot of people that Groot in the first film is dead and that, in the second film it’s the son infact and the Groot from the first film is officially dead. It changed people’s perspective on the end of the first film.
It doesn’t change my perspective of the end of the first film, regardless of the biomechanics of it, the idea of Rocket preserving that piece of his friend packs some emotional weight. It certainly doesn’t take away from the sacrifice, it enhances the sacrifice that Groot makes. I didn’t know much about Groot procreation myself so I’m learning just like you guys.
So Rocket’s like his mother?
He’s certainly his adopted Guardian.
Which character in Infinity War has the best reaction to a talking racoon?
Oh gosh! I think you’re gonna have to be the judge of that. It’s certainly fun to see many of these characters through the eyes of Rocket. Rocket does not have the same sort of reverence for the super heroes that the average earthling is going to have.
Is it easier or harder working with family compared to working with other directors?
It’s just different. One of the reasons me and my brother work so well together is yes we’ve worked together since we were kids so our shorthand for communicating is very clean and very easy. But also I think we’re both perfectionists within our jobs. He’s a very good director and a clear director and I take my job as an actor very, very seriously. I think if we meeting for the first time, I still thing we’d work together really, really well. He’s good at talking to actors and I’m good at listening to directors. The advantage is, any period of time where we have to figure out our creative relationship, that’s already done and we already have that.
The negative things, y’know, we’re not very competitive in my family. He’s the older brother and I’m the younger brother so that’s good. I love working with my brother. I hope that we continue to work together here and there for the rest of our careers. I don’t need to do everything he’s doing, we can go off and do our separate things. But I’ll always say yes, obviously.
We saw the original Guardians of the Galaxy reunited at the end of GOTG2 from the comic book series. Would you like Kraglin to be in the spin-off with the rest of them?
I’d love to work with those guys. I try not to prognosticate about what’s gonna happen, because you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. If you start to worry about where you want the story to go, you’ve gotta learn it’s gonna go where it goes.
Who would be your dream celebrity cameo akin to Kurt Russel in GOTG2 .
I don’t know. You know, I already worked with The Hoff on the Guardians Inferno video. I don’t know how it gets better than that. I’ve gotta say with everyone I’ve worked with so far on these movies, my cup runneth over with big, famous, iconic actors so I’m happy with anybody. Truly.
Can you talk about the Inferno video and working with Zardu Hasselfrau himself?
That was really fun, something they threw together pretty quickly, but I saw the link from the original, weird Star Wars dance video that it was kind of based on. It’s something we got together in a day. We had an absolute blast.
Did you get to choose which moustache to wear?
They had some ideas, we worked on it a little bit together, but I certainly was very pleased with how that worked out.
What was David Hasselhoff like?
He’s a lovely man. I just saw him at the Black Panther premiere, it was good to catch up, he’s such a gregarious, big personality, and a really warm dude.
This might be a question more for your brother, but everyone wants to know when Nathan Fillion’s going to turn up in Guardians.
When Nathan’s going to turn up? Oh gosh, I don’t know. I’m always happy to see him.
How have you found your fans since becoming part of the MCU family.
People talk a lot about the fan boys and fan girls from the MCU and how rabid they are but I assure you, Gilmore Girls fans give then a run for their money, every step of the way, in their fervour for what they love. I’m very grateful to be part of both those franchises, and I think it starts with great writing and great stories and I’ve been very lucky to be a part of those.