'Guardians of the Galaxy' Premiere: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper Up Star Quotient on Hollywood Boulevard
"I think we got a lot more freedom than we would with Thor or Iron Man in the sense that we had pretty much carte blanche to use any of the characters that are owned by Marvel," co-writer Nicole Perlman says of the comic book property.
The latest saga of space adventurers Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, Nebula and Rocket found the comic book superheroes in Hollywood's orbit on Monday night.
Disney and Marvel rolled out the red carpet in front of the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland for the world premiere of its action-adventure Guardians of the Galaxy. The stars of the film — including Chris Pratt (along with his wife, Anna Faris), Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Benicio Del Toro and Karen Gillan — were out in full force at the event, where they were greeted with a long line of reporters on the red carpet and throngs of fans who lined Hollywood Boulevard to get a glimpse of the cast.
The movie's story line finds brash adventurer Peter Quill (Pratt) as the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after he steals a mysterious orb coveted by the powerful villain Ronan (Pace). Quill, aka Star-Lord, gets help after forming an uneasy truce with a quartet of misfits: gun-toting raccoon Rocket (Cooper), tree-like humanoid Groot (Diesel), the deadly and enigmatic Gamora (Saldana) and the revenge-driven Drax the destroyer (Bautista).
Noted Saldana of the idea that there will be lots of Gamoras running around the streets Oct. 31: "I can't wait for Halloween!"
Asked how he prepared for his role as Drax, a quiet but physical brute who is on a mission to avenge the death of his wife and child, WWE star-turned-actor Bautista toldThe Hollywood Reporter: "I learned my lines, and I kept an open mind. I went to work, and every day just prepared. I just played with the other actors and I allowed myself to be directed and explored Drax's emotion and his heartbreak a little bit. I didn't want to be over-rehearsed for this, so I didn't do a whole lot of preparing. I allowed myself to work with very talented people and allow myself to be directed by a very talented director."
Michael Rooker went from seeing his The Walking Dead character Merle Dixon get killed off the AMC show to playing the blue-skinned Ravager, Yondu, who is a surrogate father to Peter. Incidentally, his being killed off Dead freed up his schedule so that he was able to take the Guardians role. Asked what kind of transition he had from the TV series to the film, Rooker quipped as he rushed down the carpet: "None whatsoever."
Nicole Perlman, who wrote the script with director James Gunn, said they had a lot of leeway when adapting the comic since many people aren't that familiar with the source material.
"Because Guardians was not a very well-known property, there was a lot of freedom," she said. "I think we got a lot more freedom than we would with Thor or Iron Man in the sense that we had pretty much carte blanche to use any of the characters that are owned by Marvel. There are dozens of Guardians — a lot of people don't know that — so I got to choose who got to be on the team and what they were dong, and the hardest part was having a wealth of options and narrowing it down."
For Perlman, Guardians also marks her first screenwriting credit ("everything after this is going to be downhill," she joked). She got the job after being part of Marvel's screenwriting program.
"There's not a lot of women writing superhero movies these days," she said, noting that the movie features a strong female character in Saldana's Gamora. "I wanted to make sure that Gamora, who is already a bad-ass, really came to the screen in a believable, and not really a caricature, way."
Tyler Bates — who is currently on tour as the lead guitarist for Marilyn Manson — composed the film's music, and he noted that he was inspired by an event in the film that hit close to home.
"The script details a young boy's loss of his mother, and he's left with a mix tape of music of her favorite songs," Bates said. "I experienced something similar in life, and immediately I taped into that emotion that James [Gunn] was after. As time went on and the score developed, we wanted to make sure we lifted the audience out of that somber emotion and got into some ass-kicking."
The movie marks Bates' third collaboration with Gunn — unless you "look deep on my IMDb" for a series of shorts called PG Porn, Bates laughs.
Gunn's brother, Sean Gunn, also appears in the movie as Yondu's first mate, Kraglin.
"I've been getting bossed around by my brother for a long time, so I was used to it," Gunn quipped of working with his sibling. He noted that they've been creating movies together since they were little and using a Super 8 camera.
Wyatt Oleff, who plays a young Peter Quill, noted the secrecy surrounding his character while he was auditioning for the role.
"At first, they didn't say what the [real] name was for my character, and it was [an alias] Charlie, and I'm like, 'Quick, search for a superhero named Charlie,'" Oleff said. "We never did but it would have been crazy because there is no superhero named Charlie."
Nicole Shipley, who plays Stan Lee's girlfriend in the movie, says she had a similar experience with the secrecy surrounding her role. She also didn't quite grasp that she'd be playing a comic book legend's love interest at first.
"I honestly was told a very little amount of information going into the movie because … they wanted to keep everything under wraps," she said. "I was in the makeup trailer, and I was thinking like 'Stan Lee, karate, ninja warrior,' and the makeup artist showed me his Wikipedia page on her phone, and I was like, 'Spider-Man, Stan Lee!'"
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