Theres going to be a MASSIVE space battle
Guardians Of The Galaxy is a ‘space opera’ and there’s going to be a serious scrap. As well as nosing around Star Lords’ (Chris Pratt) ship The Milano, we caught a glimpse of some concept art from Rocket’s Warbird – an x-wing style ship – Yondu’s fighter, Ronan’s Dark Aster as well as a vista with hundreds of ships converging.
Expect hardcore Star Wars- style space battles.
You're going to be earwormed
Peter Quill's walkman plays a key part in the film – it's one of the few things that keeps the once Earth-dwelling space explorer grounded and in touch with his roots, and it's packed with '80s rock tunes from the era he grew up in.
James Gunn chose the tracks carefully and Chris Pratt listened to nothing but those songs during filming.
"I have listened to that thing so many times that I fucking hate all of them!" says Pratt "I’m like, ‘oh god if I hear the Pina Colada song one more time...'"
Quill is like a space Bon Jovi
Mood boards we had a look at on set showed David Bowie, Mad Max and Mick Jagger were all reference points for Quill, but Chris Pratt sees the character as more of a cheesy '80s rocker.
"He’s like Bon Jovi, John Stamos, Young Guns , he’s big into that period of time and doesn’t really know any better, so still makes these really outdated references that no one gets – they’re like, 'We’re from space. We don’t know who John Stamos is.'"
Quill eats a lot of sweets
In fact, he's a big kid. When we climbed aboard his ship, The Milano, we were fascinated by the detailed set dressing. These included a table full of brightly-coloured sweets and sweet wrappers, plus a baseball mitt and stickers of Alf the alien.
Drax has the worst seat on the Milano
Quill's ship, the Milano, is the Millenium Falcon of the movie – constructed and docked at Shepperton studios, piloted by Quill (using a bronze and leather old-school joystick, naturally).
On the control deck, seats are arranged with two at the front, two at the back and one in the middle. And the one in the middle (the worst seat on the ship) belongs to Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista).
"Are we nearly there yet? I feel sick! I want a wee!" We can only imagine...
Chris Pratt looks buff
Pratt's best known for playing lazy-ass chubster Andy Dwyer in Parks & Recreation . He banished the chub by losing 10 inches on his waist and 65 lbs in total (from his heavier physique, cultivated for Delivery Man , opposite Vince Vaughn) to play unlikely hero Quill.
And we can attest, he looks pretty ripped. "My world became, for the first four or five months, 100% solely dedicated to trying to become [ this ]," Pratt says.
There could be romance in store for Peter Quill
"When you meet Peter, he’s very much enjoying his time in space with beautiful femaliens that he’s come across – in a benign PG-13 way," chuckles Pratt when we grill him on the matter.
"But yeah, there’s a little bit of budding romance there," he concedes. A schmooch with green queen Gamora (Zoe Saldana) perhaps? There's something of the Han/Leia about the two we reckon...
Everybody loves Rocket
"His character’s kind of the best, he has the best arc in the movie..." says Pratt of the scrappy little superhero. Though at the time of our visit, Rocket was yet to be voiced, director James Gunn and the cast all agree that getting him right is the key to the film’s success.
"Rocket really has to be a balance between somebody who can do the fast talking speech patterns that Rocket has, but also can be funny and has the heart that Rocket has, because there’s actually some pretty dramatic scenes with Rocket.
"To be able to get that has proven extremely hard – both among stars who weren’t able to do one aspect or another and among voice-actors who seem to have a really hard time doing the dramatic aspect of the voice – it seems to almost always sound like a cartoon. So really getting all those things and doing all those things in the right way is what the challenge is."
Bradley Cooper’s now on board and Gunn seems thrilled to bits.
"In all truth, we hired Bradley because he’s able to do both comedy and drama – it’s the thing I look for most in the actors on all my films. And to truly sell Rocket, for you to believe a Raccoon can talk and blow up and shoot tons of stuff, we need a well-rounded actor."
The talking tree is a little sweetheart
Not only is there a bit in the Guardians Of The Galaxy teaser trailer where Groot gives a little girl a flower, but the rest of the cast also insist that Groot is the cutie pie of the Guardians.
"To me the only pure character with all good intentions is Groot. He’s a really true innocent character," says Dave Bautista (aka Drax). Only able to say "I am Groot", and bessie mates with diminutive maniac Rocket, Groot's the closest the Guardians have to a true good guy.
"Groot’s my heart, he’s a really beautiful, beautiful character in this movie, and I feel like if I was just watching Guardians I would definitely be completely enamoured by Groot," agrees Zoe Saldana. Even the gorgeously intricate fibreglass statue of Groot's head we saw on set, made to look like wood, had eyes that were full of understanding and pathos...
Dave Bautista collects novelty lunchboxes
He may be playing vengeful powerhouse Drax The Destroy but ex-wrestler Dave Bautista admits he's totally into collectable lunchboxes.
His most prized lunchboxes?
"Right now I have a 1967 Green Hornet lunchbox. That’s my favourite because it has Kato on and a Bruce Lee connection. I’ve got a few good ones. The only one I really remember having as a little kid was a Fat Albert lunchbox, a ’77 Fat Albert.
"I have that in my collection as well. I’ve got a 1966 Beatles lunchbox that’s pristine, still got its wrapper and the thermos is still wrapped up. That’s probably my most valuable. There’d better be a Drax lunchbox! If they don’t make one I will!"
Gamora has daddy issues
Zoe Saldana's green assassin is the adopted daughter of Marvel uber-baddie Thanos and the step sister of Karen Gillan's Nebula.
Though Nebula's firmly entrenched in the dark side and Gamora has found some level of meaning with the Guardians which makes her want to fight for good, she's still pretty cross with her adoptive pop, who apparently showed her no love as a child and taught her to be a mean green killing machine.
"I’m pretty sure if she had a chance she would totally kill her dad," says Saldana.
Gamora fights like a bullfighter but feels like a Sudanese child...
Saldana's reference points for her character were certainly varied. As a character who was abducted and taken from her people as a child, she identifies with the displacement of Sudanese children.
"There are similarities, I guess, when it came to an emotional level, like the lost kids of Sudan must feel, where you’re taken and you’re exposed to so much violence and abuse and you’re tortured and forced to project that violence onward," she says.
While the way she approached scrapping with a sword was more related to a Spanish matador's style. "I shared a moment with a friend who’s a painter from Mexico, and her latest exhibit is this documentary, this three minute thing that she did with a Picasso painting and this bullfighter. It’s in slow motion, it's a death dance. I’m like, 'oh my gosh, Gamora’s a bullfighter.'"
The Kiln is going to be hardcore
We caught a glimpse of the designs for space prison the Kiln, where the five Guardians meet, and it looks awesome.
Three storeys of cells surround the eight-sided prison with a central communal area – perfect for a massive riot if the trailer is anything to go by.
The inmates all dress in yellow, with a barcode system on their uniforms to indicate how transgressive and dangerous each prisoner is. Also: keep your eyes peeled for graffiti in the Kiln, where the most observant will be rewarded with Easter Eggs galore...
No one knows more about comics than Yondu
Walking Dead and Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer star Michael Rooker is, according to James Gunn, a research nut.
"Rooker’s fucking crazy," says Gunn. "If there’s a character that’s the furthest away from what he is in the comic book it’s Yondu – and if there’s anyone who knows the most, every single little thing about Yondu that’s ever existed, it’s Rooker! He drives me crazy. I have to keep reminding him: ‘We are making the movie, we’re not making the comic book... I’m not sure you do have a relationship with rabbits where you can control them or whatever...'"
Ronan and Nebula are like a dysfunctional couple
Ronan The Accuser (played by Lee Pace) is the main baddie of Guardians and he’s a pretty dark fellow.
"He’s a really bad guy. There’s not a lot of love in his heart," explains Pace. Though he’s not completely without emotion. Karen Gillan’s Nebula, who fights for evil along side Ronan, is like the dastardly yin to his yang.
"There’s a connection between the two of us," Pace explains. "You know when you’re angry at your partner, but you love her? You feel that very strongly towards that person. That’s the closest he can feel to loving her. He’s not a cuddly person."
Dicking around on set is positively encouraged
Between takes moments on the day we spent watching filming at Shepperton Studios included:
- Zoe Saldana playing air-guitar with Gamora’s massive split-bladed sword
- Chris Pratt pointing his flash lights at other cast and crew members’ crotches and bums and shouting: ‘Dickshot! Butt shot!’
- Chris Pratt doing a rendition of 'Smooth Criminal'
- The whole cast doing a rendition of 'Roxanne'
- The props department doing a slightly disgusting experiment with an apple
Quills a bit of a Mr Fix it
Check out Quill’s boots and you see a couple of thrusters attached. They won’t propel him through space, Chris Pratt explains, but "if I need a little help getting over a crevasse or jumping up, they give me a little bit of boost".
Quill built these himself.
"I’m a bit of a tinkerer, my character’s a bit like a biker in a way, like a Harley guy, he prefers to ride a motorcycle that needs a lot of maintenance. I don’t ride a motorcycle in the movie but I have a spaceship."
Ronans hood is good
Yep, it’s all about the hood for the Accuser – an ancient and iconic item that Oscar-winning costume designer and the lady behind The Avengers’ togs Alexandra Byrne fashioned.
"There’s something kind of Egyptian and medieval and like a judge about it. I get it all on and just feel different. I feel strong and huge. I just look huge," says Pace.
Ronans is bigger but Quills does more cool stuff
Ronan’s Dark Aster and Quill’s Milano are both constructed in Shepperton studios, so it’s no surprise the arch enemies have had a wander round each other’s spaceships. And Lee Pace, who plays Ronan, has vehicle envy...
"I really love the Milano. I went in there to check it out and I was like, ‘I want one.’ Mine is way bigger, but who needs all that? The Milano is cool."
Crossover potential? Dont rule it out
Guardians may be Marvel Cosmic (as opposed to being predominately Earth-based like Iron-Man), but these characters still exist within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As well as lots of lovely Easter Eggs (graffiti in the space prison the Kiln, The Collector’s museum etc) and the appearance of Marvel mega-baddie Thanos, Star Lord going toe to toe with Iron Man isn’t off the cards.
"Everybody else I kind of thought of would get run over by Robert Downey Jr if they were ever in a movie together. I think that Chris could completely hold his own... He’d exchange barbs with him, and then kick his ass!" grins Gunn, when we grill him about his casting choice.
So will they ever be in a movie together?
"Who knows," teases Gunn. "It’s possible."
Guardians Of The Galaxy opens in the UK on 31 July 2014.