The Apple Store on Regents Street is once again packed. A large crowd has gathered before the set stage and the cameras are in place. Every seat is filled with additional seating at the sides. Looking at the crowd a theme is clear with Captain America Shields and Marvel signs on more than a few tees. You could easily guess that Marvel have assembled, (get it) a new film from its core of heroes The Avengers. The second in the super franchise is not until next year but till then we look at a group from the other end of the Marvel universe.
Guardians of the Galaxy is the latest Marvel comic series to make its way to the big screen. Based on the adventures of intergalactic traveller Peter Quill aka Star Lord and a band of outcasts who vow to protect the galaxy.
The film is directed by Indie film maker James Gunn and stars Saturdays Night Lives Chris Pratt. Also starring in the film is WWF Wrestler Dave Bautista.
The crowd do not disappoint and raise the roof as the talent takes to the stage. To begin the talk Plumb starts by showing the crowd the trailer for the hotly awaited film.
Awestruck and impressed the crowd once again applaud. For anyone that has seen the trailer one character does stand out. Rocket, the genetically engineered raccoon is one fifth of the films guardian pack. The opening question to the director is one every guardian fan must have pondered, 'what was it like to make a film that features a gun toting Racoon?' 'Well all I've ever wanted to do was direct a film with a crazed Racoon. I feel liked I've fulfilled my mission from God'.
Plumb mentions that 'the trailer and film features some amazing music, such as The Runaways 'Cherry Bomb'. During filming did any tune in particular get stuck in their heads?' For Pratt its Redbone 'Come and Get Your Love'. 'We had a scene that took a week to shoot and the song was played on a loop so that really stayed in my head'. For first time actor Bautista, the song that stayed with him was, 'Hooked on a Feeling'. Once Plumb has checked Bautista did not actually say 'More than a Feeling' he tells us that 'the cast and crew began singing it to me so it never left my head'.
From this one sentance we get an insight into life on the set. It is rather telling of the film makers approach that the working title for Guardians was Full Tilt. Why did Gunn choose this interesting title? 'Well, we had a list of film titles like Hot Christmas. Hopefully, we'll get to use that for the sequel. But the title is supposed to be a secret and I've revealed it now so maybe not'. Really the title is Gunn going 'all out' to create Guardians. The film is a strange one especially for a studio as large as Marvel but how does Gunn sum it up his film? 'Well it is what it is. It takes full advantage of style, colour, humour. Theres no shyness or bashfulness with this film'.
With Marvel producing some of the most popular films of recent years, how does it feel when the studio approaches you to star in a film? Bautista was excited at the prospect of Guardians but did not originally relate to his character Drax. The character has a dark side but after doing research, he eventually grew to understand his role. 'I looked up pictures of the character and found some that looked like me and was like, it's me'. For Pratt the process was a lot more frustrating. He begins by emphasising just how secretive Marvel have to be when casting a new film. 'You know if an email with Guardians of the Galaxy gets out people go mad and Marvel want their films a secret. At my first audition, I had no idea what film I was going for. I knew about Guardians from my own comic books. James asked me if I had any question and I was like, 'yeah tell me about the film'. Gunn told his potential cast to just 'come in and do your thing'. It was a shot in the dark but it paid off'.
Like more and more big budget Hollywood films, Guardians was filmed in England. Was there any particular aspects of British culture that the panel took to? Also how does Pratt feel about the malicious rumour that hes a fan of The Only Way is Essex? Pratt sets the record straight once and for all by doing a down right scary Essex accent. Once the shock has set in, Pratt describes the show as a 'dumpster fire, its stinks but you have to watch it'. To this Plumb asks Bautista if he can top that, which he frankly answers 'no'.
Bautista is, of course, famed for his WWF career which he has said Pratt should join; but why is that? 'Because Chris had this whole storyline, image and name worked out already'. Pratt states 'my wrestler name would be something like American Eagle. I'd be like American super douche patriarch who'd come on talking about freedom and capitalism until he gets hit with a chair'.
Pratt and Bautista along with Zoe Saldana are the three actors cast as the guardians. The other two, although voiced by prominant actors were computer generated. How did the actors and Gunn get around the characters absence during shooting? 'We just used stand ins for shooting to make it easier'. Gunns younger brother Sean stood in for Rocket who is voiced by Bradley Cooper. Another actor was used as a stand in for tree man Groot voiced by Vin Diesel.
With that the audience are treated to another clip which involves the guardians discussing their escape plan from a jail. Plumb then asks, 'having seen a following scene that shows the removal of a robotic leg, is there a prop you got to keep?' For Gunn 'no, as Marvel are really cheap when it comes to props'. Pratt got a jacket 'which I had to steal'. For Bautista its another no but the panel does predict that 'somewhere is a warehouse, like from Raiders of the Lost Ark, with all the Marvel props. Gunn believes its filled with multiple Marvel icons such as Captain America's shields and hammers of Thor.
Seeing as early reviews place Guardians firmly in the Marvel cinematic universe, how did each of the panel react when they got the job? Gunn decribes his feeling as being 'like the girl who won American Idol but with out the bubbles or confetti. Just really happy'. For Pratt, who is a life life long comic book fan, the idea of becoming part of one was a dream come true. 'I've always like the look of comic book characters and then I started my preparation to be Quill which made being him more real'. Bautista comments on Pratts transformation to play the films lead. 'When I first met him he was still puggy then he shows up for filming and he was all shredded. I was like what the heck'.
Seeing as the cast have all actioned up for their roles, which Avenger would they fight if they could choose? Bautista picks Tony Stark's Iron Man but feels there is definite potential for an Avengers crossover. Pratt shares his thoughts on an Avenger mash-up and thinks 'I could have a lot of fun with Black Widow. As an actor as well as for my character'.
The next question mentions the sad departure of Edgar Wright from the up and coming Ant Man project. Did Gunn encounter any similar creative differences with super studio Marvel over Guardians? Gunn starts off by praising his fellow director and friend as 'a great director and a good guy. Thats not the experience that I have had with Marvel, no. I was very much allowed to make a James Gunn film. Its a shame for Edgar but he will continue to make great films'.
Mediator Plumb calls for one last question to end the panel. For Pratt, Guardians solidifies him as a movie star but what attracted him to the character of Peter Quill/Star lord?
'Well, the character is the same age as me so he grew up in the eighties watching Indiana Jones and Footloose, all the films that I loved. I figured if I was taken into outerspace, I'd create a character for myself and go on adventures. I just thought this guy is me which is great so I don't have to act'.
With that the talk is over. They hope everyone enjoys the film and are whisked off. But Chris Pratt stays a little longer to meet and greet the crowd including one very happy young boy.
Guardians of the Galaxy is out today. Read Melissa's review now.