Exclusive! James Gunn and Kevin Feige Open Up About All Things Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
“And this is my favorite part of making the Guardians movie is meeting with the Mommy Bloggers. That’s not a joke.”
James Gunn smiled and greeted us with the best compliment someone in my field could get.
“It’s true”, added Kevin Feige, president of Marvel added, and went on to say it was because we were real and not “Hollywood-y” and trying to get the hot scoops.
Well, we still want the hot scoops! – one of us pipes up.
The Music of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
James: I have a list of about 500 songs, which I think of as, like, Guardians-type songs that Meredith Quill (Peter Quill’s mother) might really love. And when I’m going through and I’m writing the script, I put the songs into the script where they seem to fit. And 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, you know. And — but eventually it’s all basically baked into the organic story of what’s happening in a movie, in the same way you put, you know, sugar in a cake.
There was one song that came from Twitter. Wham Bam (by Silver). I had never heard that song.
And all of the time – I mean, 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 were, “If you don’t put this song in Guardian of the Galaxy, I’ll never talk to you again.” I’m like, “Okay, don’t talk to me.” But they always say, and they’re always songs that I know really well, ’cause I’ve studied my Seventies music, especially since starting on this series, and somebody sent this song by this band called Silver, called “Wham Bam.”
And I’m like, “I’ve never – what is that song?” And I went and I played it, and I’m like, “This is a really cool, like, total Seventies pop song that is so different.” And then I was like, “Is this, like, a fake song?” I thought it was a modern band with, like, a retro vibe. Had to go and do some research on it, and found out that it really existed, and then I put it in the movie. So, I wish I knew who that Twitter person was…
Kevin: What’s so amazing, and it was like this on the first one, and held to it on the second one, a lot of screenwriters put song suggestions into their scripts, and almost none of those songs end up in the actual movie. And when James did that, I think even maybe on an outline in the first movie, and certainly in an outline on the second movie. On the first one, 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 on part two, I knew better. So, would listen to the song as I’m reading the outline, and then later the script. And that sort of pool of songs that he has comes in handy. 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.
There’s a Guardians of the Galaxy theme park ride that is opening soon at California Adventure that features songs that James Gunn suggested as well, and a few other places coming up in the future. – Kevin Feige
James: At the end of the movie we have a moment between the two of them, where I think something is acknowledged. And Zoe and I actually talked about this for a long time last night at the premiere, at the party after the premiere, and there was a time when we had a lot of discussion and talked about having a kiss in the movie. But 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. And so I think at the end what we see between the two of them is such a truer love story. Where she loves him, and he loves her, and she acknowledges that at the end of the movie, but that’s a love that’s based not only on attraction but on a really deep friendship that the two of them have.
A partnership that we see at the beginning of the movie. That they’ve changed a great deal. At the beginning of the movie, they’re great friends. She’s a great support to him and he respects and loves her. And so I think seeing that emotional part of their movie, er, of their relationship, is a culmination of what their relationship is in the movie, is more powerful than seeing a kiss that is romantic and would make us feel happy and feel good, but wouldn’t be as true.
Kevin: It’s the difference between a truthful, emotional moment, and a Hollywood moment, and that was very savvy of James to navigate that.
James: The Ravager Captains based on the original Guardians in the comic books, as Yondu is. And that 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?” And 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.”
And so we went out and we shot it with Sylvester Stallone and the gang. And Michelle Yeoh who I’m a big fan of, because I’m a big fan of old, Nineties Hong Kong movies, and she also happens to be a great person. And Ving Rhames, who I knew from the Dawn of the Dead movie I did a long time ago. They’re small roles, we might see them pop up in the way we see Howard the Duck pop up again in this movie. Or maybe in their own films.
Miley Cyrus has a cameo in the movie. Mainframe – the talking metal head at the end.
And her voice is awesome. I’m like, “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: My parents. Well, you know. In one scene, my parents are in it. My brother. My brother’s wife. My three — my two nephews and my niece are all in that scene. I kill a lot of my family members. It’s not quite “aww.” It’s more like, y’know, “grr.” No, yeah. That’s my parents. That’s my dad, they’re credited in the credits as “weird old man” and “weird old man’s mistress.” Which my mom loved. My mom loved it.
On James Gunn as Director
Kevin: A lot of it is, “is the vibe — and do we want to spend, you know, in a worst-case scenario, three years together, and in a best-case scenario, you know, ten years together? 12?” But we have a great team at Marvel Studios. And in the case of Guardians it was executive producer Jeremy Latchum and now executive producer Jonathan Schwartz who did the first round of meetings, and they were the first people James met with. And sort of pitched the notion of this weird space movie with raccoons and trees.
James: They pitched that idea to me, and I was driving home after the meeting, and when I said goodbye to them I thought they were making a huge mistake. I’m like, “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.”
And so I kind of smiled and shook their hand and I went home, and I didn’t really think I was going to take the gig, or that wasn’t being offered the gig, but I didn’t think I was going to pursue it in any way. And 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, so that’s how it started.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is in theaters NOW!