I’ve said this for the past couple of months, ever since Guardians of the Galaxy started making its presence known with the media, this has been some of the best promotions and marketing I’ve seen with a movie for a very long time. When I attended Philly Comic Con (Wizard World) in June, Marvel had a large green screen and table set up by the entrance. Fans would stand in front of the green screen, have their picture taken, and when they got their print, they would be added in the famous Guardians line-up along with the other characters. Anyone who did this would receive a large, double-sided (light box) Guardians of the Galaxy poster (like the ones that you see in movie theaters). This was all free. Then again a few weeks ago, Marvel released a 17 minute preview of Guardians in many theaters across the nation, giving fans a taste of what’s to come (aside from just showing a few movie trailers on TV). Fans that attended that would also receive a (smaller) poster, but it was an exclusive, something that you couldn’t just buy online. I’ve worked in promotions for several years and whenever I see great marketing, I appreciate what they’re promoting even more. I was already very excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy to begin with and this just whet my appetite for more.
Last night was another great promotion for Guardians. Marvel teamed up with Yahoo!Live to give fans, both in the audience and online, a chance to do a Q&A with the cast, director James Gunn, and even President of Marvel. What made me appreciate this even more was that they did this all through tumblr. For anyone who doesn’t know what tumblr is, or doesn’t use it, tumblr is a place for passionate fans to express how much they really love their fandom, and many people express themselves through writing fanfics, or posting their amazing artwork. Fans (like myself) that are really passionate about one or many fandoms feel a sense of freedom on tumblr. I know I’ve had to post a couple of different times on Facebook regarding people getting irritating with my constant Doctor Who, Supernatural, or Sherlock posts [known in the tumblr world as SuperWhoLock]. This is why I’m really glad that they chose to have their questions submitted through tumblr instead of Facebook or Twitter. Not that there’s anything wrong with those social media platforms, but the questions that would be asked may not necessarily be from true fans. It may have just been some guy or girl that saw the post to ask a random question to a celebrity. Fans were able to submit their questions with the hashtag #GOTGask either written, or through a video upload.
The Q&A took place at the Yahoo Campus in Sunnyvale, CA. Over here (on the east) it was supposed to start at 7pm…it didn’t actually start until 7:20pm, but we’ll let that slide. Host Kevin Polowy showed a clip along with interviews from the movie before he brought out the cast.
Although Bradley Cooper (who plays Rocket Raccoon) wasn’t able to attend, we did get to see him through previously recorded clips. Cooper is just as excited for the movie as the rest of us and said Guardians has, “A lot of humor and a lot of heart. There’s nothing like it, that’s for sure.”
After the teaser trailer with the interview clips, the cast was finally brought out to the stage. Director James Gunn, President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige, and actors Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Dave Bautista made their way out on stage. Pratt with very obviously the loudest cheers, to which you could tell he was very humbled about.
Before the questions began, we got the see some brilliant artwork done by very talented fans through tumblr! The very first question asked was to director James Gunn regarding the casting process. Gunn mentioned that Zoe [Saldana] did not need to audition. He had a list of actors that he thought would be good for the movie, and his number one choice for Gamora was Zoe. Gunn also mentioned that Dave [Bautista] “blew him away” as Drax. Then jokingly said [regarding Chris Pratt], “Then there was Chris Pratt and that’s…all we had.” He had even joked saying they went to Pee Wee Herman, Pauly Shore…etc. before they finally chose Pratt. It’s clear the cast and crew on Guardians have a great sense of humor and a great relationship with each other. All jokes aside, Gunn did admit that he didn’t see Pratt as much of a superhero, but then Pratt came in and read and Gunn knew he was the guy. They auditioned over 150 actors for Star Lord, but Gunn said Chris, “had this magic about him as the character.”
The next question was something I was curious about as well, whether or not the cast had read the [Guardians of the Galaxy] comics. Although both Pratt and Bautista had read comics growing up, neither of them had checked out Guardians. Zoe didn’t seem to be into comic books at all and even admitted that her 12 year old nephew became her ‘Marvel Ambassador’ to teach her about the character.
What I loved hearing about Guardians was that the cast & crew genuinely seemed to always be having a great time on set. When asked about how much creativity the actors were given, Gunn had mentioned that he and Pratt actually thought of a lot of the jokes together for the movie. He’d also mentioned that Karen Gillan [who plays Nebula] and Zoe would be laughing and joking around on set. They made it seem like every day was more fun than work itself.
However, not everything was fun for the cast. Chris Pratt mentioned when they would use the wind machine, the Star Lord mask had to be bolted to him and he felt very claustrophobic. Zoe, clearly not being a morning person, wasn’t a fan of the very early hours she had to get on set to be painted up. It took about 4-5 hours each day for the make-up to be applied to her body. Although, Zoe knew that Karen and Dave had to be there a few hours earlier than her, so she tried not to complain as much.
Another struggle for Pratt was getting in shape for the movie. Pratt’s role as Andy on Parks and Recreation saw him as lovable, but a bit “doughy”, which, when it was announced that he would play the lead role of Peter Quill/Star Lord, made a lot of fans scratch their heads. There was a video question from a boy that was struggling with losing weight and he felt inspired by Pratt’s transformation. “All you have to do is just a few things every day, and just remain consistent and time will fly…cut the crap out of your diet, spend an hour a day doing something physical that will make you sweat. Six months will pass by….you will feel better physically, mentally, and spiritually…” Although Pratt mentioned he did work out 3-4 hours a day, he pushed his confidence onto the young man that asked the question and I even felt a little inspired by this!
Another related body question towards Pratt was how he felt about non-GOTG female fans only seeing the movie just to see his abs. You could visibly see the blush dancing across his face, and wasn’t at all hiding the fact that he loved the attention he was getting. He laughed then with a serious tone said, “Come for the abs, and stay for the story.” Maybe that should have been the Guardians of the Galaxy tagline.
A question that I was waiting for someone to ask because I’ve heard many people complain about the “change” in Rocket, was why they didn’t give Rocket a British accent. From the way Gunn had sort of laughed at the question, you could tell he was more than likely asked this question a couple of times before. He simply said, “in the comic books he didn’t necessarily have a British accent…” Gunn mentioned he thinks Rocket may have had one in a game before, but in the original comics there was nothing that alluded to him having an accent. Gunn also mentioned he chose Bradley Cooper because he was, “a guy who was able to do the comedy, able to give the emotional depth, and also able to create a real character that wasn’t Bradley Cooper.” Gunn was very confident and happy with his choice, and Zoe mentioned that Groot and Rocket weren’t actually cast until halfway through the production. Then Gunn turned to Zoe and said, “You always seemed to have this weird personal connection to Groot.” We’re not exactly sure if that has something to do with that’s going to happen in the movie or not.
The President of Marvel, Kevin Feige mentioned that it may be the funniest movie Marvel has done and that, “you get a connection to these odd balls…so by the end of the movie, there might be some tears.” When Gunn was asked what the hardest part of directing a superhero movie he said he doesn’t think of it as a ‘superhero movie’. He thinks of it more as a space epic. He had talked about how he loved Empire Strikes Back, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, so he wanted to make a movie that made him feel the way he feels when he watches them, with “magic and heart”.
Gunn, who’s directed many different types of films from 2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake to the successful Scooby-Doo live action movies, was asked whether or not the tag ‘Marvel’ made him feel nervous or any pressure, which he replied it was actually the complete opposite. He had said that people know the brand and title and that the support is already behind him. It was actually more of a relief having the tag Marvel there with him. Both Feige and Gunn were very collaborative with the film, although Feige brought up that he didn’t have to change much because Gunn had so many great ideas. Gunn had also mentioned, “We don’t have a lot of ego about our ideas…we just want to make the best movie possible.”
Some of the more fun memorable questions from last night:
If you could play any other character in the Marvel universe who would it be?
Pratt said, “I always loved the Punisher” He mentioned how he even painted a Punisher mural on his wall when he was a kid. Zoe seemed a bit nervous and unsure about the question but decided she would play Rocket. Dave said he’d play Sub-Mariner… or the Punisher.
Chris Pratt is the 3rd Chris that Marvel has collected so far, is there something special about your name or does Marvel have a ‘Chris Fetish’?
Pratt laughs and says that there’s “definitely something special about my name…I am joining pretty amazing company.” He mentioned how he hasn’t met [Chris] Hemsworth yet, but when he saw Chris Evans, Evans literally ran across the room and gave him a huge bear hug saying, “DUDE YOU’RE GONNA LOVE IT!!!” Which is when Pratt officially felt welcomed into the Marvel family. He ended his answer with, “If you want your son to be successful, name him Chris.”
What is it like to look at an action figure based on yourself?
Dave said, “it’s cool” and even though he’s had action figures modeled off of him before for WWE he admits it “turns you instantly into a little kid.” Since this question was asked via tumblr, the person’s tumblr name was Butt-Doctor, so Pratt jokingly worked that into his answer saying, “I’m going to have to see a butt doctor to remove it, I love it so much.”
How has your fellow Parks & Rec cast members reacted to your new fame with Guardians? (To Pratt)
When Pratt was answering this question, you really felt the love and how grateful he was because he got teary eyed and said that he’s been getting texts, phone calls and a lot of support from his Parks & Rec cast mates. “I feel very, very loved and supported by my family on Parks and Rec.”
What has been the most memorable experience on the set of Guardians?
Right away Zoe jumped in and said lunch was her favorite, especially since she had to be there so early. She was quite thrilled about ‘Fish and Chips Fridays’ too. Since Dave is pretty quiet (he speaks in a quiet voice too), his favorite part was sitting back and watching the cast interact with each other. Pratt had mentioned that whenever the music was being played the cast would break down and start dancing.
And now for some of the audience questions:
Does the music influence the making of the film?
Gunn had said, “a movie is half something you look at, and half something you hear.” He mentioned how they worked on huge sections of the score before they shot the movie so that they would actually play the music while filming. I thought it was pretty neat when Gunn had said, “they were actually walking down the hallway to ‘Cherry Bomb’ when filming.” Although the soundtrack is already out (which is AMAZING by the way), there are actually 10 other songs that weren’t used that Gunn and Pratt still have…and they may be released later on. Gunn had also mentioned that as much as he had to hear the songs and how they’re constantly in his head, he’s still not sick of them.
What was it like working with CGI characters?
Pratt said he had to create an emotional bond with the character. For Rocket, James Gunn’s brother Sean (frequently featured in James’ films and who is, according to Nerd-Base’s Christopher Lee, “the new Ted Raimi”) wore a green unitard, so there was a lot of laughing on set. Gunn said that the funniest thing to happen on set was someone had a Groot hat on his head and a plastic cord that was tied around Zoe, and his brother Sean had tiny sticks with little raccoon hands a the end of them (for a scene where Gamora was fighting off Rocket and Groot). Gunn said, “it looked like some sort of German porn film.”
The Q&A lasted about 55 minutes, but it was hilarious and definitely gave me more respect for the film and the crew behind it. If you’re still not excited about Guardians, then there’s no hope for you.
As of this writing, the Guardians of the Galaxy facebook page announced that anyone seeing Guardians in IMAX 3D at a midnight showing would get an amazing fan made Guardians poster! It really amazes me how much they’re collaborating with fans to promote the film.
Don’t forget to see Guardians of the Galaxy at a theater near you on Friday, August 1st, 2014!
Also, if you’d like to watch the full Q&A from last night click here!