Let me set the stage.
I’m horrible at keeping secrets. H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E.
You can tell I’m lying about something a mile away, it’s just how I am.
But… when I received an invitation (from the Godfather of Disney Pixie Dust) this past spring to head to Atlanta with a bunch of awesome bloggers for a HUGE SECRET surprise set visit to (drum roll please) Guardians of the Galaxy – that I couldn’t tell anyone about, I JUMPED AT THE CHANCE (even knowing that the content from the trip wouldn’t be allowed to go live until NOW!!!). I knew it would be tough keeping it a secret, but I also knew it was going to be WELL worth it!!
My family is a HUGE FAN of Guardians of the Galaxy, so as soon as I found out there was a #2 one coming out, I was THRILLED!
As a mom of 5 – whose kids range in age from 12-3 – there’s something really special about a movie that we can all enjoy. My daughter is obsessed with Groot. My sons are obsessed with – everything. I’m obsessed with everything, especially Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). My husband, same as me. It’s just a wonderful family movie for us all to watch together and really take in. I appreciate and adore movies like this for my crew! While I was in Atlanta, all I could think about was my kids and how much they would LOVE to be there with me. It was such an awesome experience! As a moviegoer, I’m so used to just seeing the final product, but there are so many moving pieces… so many people to make a movie come together… it was fascinating to be behind the scenes and really get an exclusive inside peek at Guardians of the Galaxy #2!
Not to mention… are you ready for this????
We got to INTERVIEW – Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Jonathan Schwartz, Karen Gillan, James Gunn, Michael Rooker and Russell Bobbitt!!
Yes. All of them.
I am still having pinch me moments about these interviews! Everyone was BEYOND gracious and kind and open and super sweet! What really just blew me away was that nobody rushed us in the interviews, everyone was so willing to take their time and just make sure all questions were answered. These are HUGE stars and they couldn’t have been more incredible to us. I will forever appreciate this about this awesome cast and crew!
I’m going to kick off today with our interview with producer, Jonathan Schwartz (also because he was the 1st one we got to interview, too!). He was so great to chat with because we ALL had a ton of questions as we kicked off our Top Secret Day!
The most pressing question… “WHERE ARE THEY WHEN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #2 KICKS OFF?”
Jonathan lets us know that “when we first meet them at the beginning of the movie, it’s a couple of months after the events of of Guardian 1. They’ve sort of been taking mercenary work around the galaxy trying to pay their bills. They’re sort of trying to do better and do good as much as they can. So, when first see them, they are on a mission trying to protect a planet from this horrible, tentacle beast, which we’re gonna see a lot of.”
We were VERY curious about the characters. HOW ARE THEY?? We were all chomping at the bit to find out! Jonathan addresses it immediately, “They’ve evolved a little bit from the way they looked in Guardians 1. James definitely wanted to put them — kind of a more like rock and roll, Rolling Stones, direction just to kind of get across. Guardians are a little full of themselves now. They’re a little famous. They saved the entire planet of Xandar and they’re like, ‘oh, yeah, we’re famous all over the galaxy.’ We can do whatever we want. And as you can imagine the fame is kind of going to their heads a little bit and making it difficult to live with each other.”
Oh, yes… this is what we like to hear, a little inside peek at #2!
We all got wind that Kurt Russell WAS THERE, so we needed to know… how was Kurt part of #2? “Kurt Russell’s character is Quill’s biological father, who’s been searching for him for a long, long time. And he’s kind of the intergalactic adventurer who’s been going from planet to planet having his own kind of outer space adventures. He’s been looking for his long-lost son and takes Quill with him to his own planet. That’s kind of the beginning of the split in the Guardians… the navigating the father relationship is another big story thread for Guardians #2.”
Jonathan also let us know that there would be new characters in Guardians of the Galaxy #2! “There’s a new character in this movie called Mantis. Mantis is a classic Guardian for the comics, played by Pom Klementieff, who’s new in this movie, who’s totally amazing. Mantis kind of works with Kurt Russell’s character. And Mantis and Drax kind of have a really interesting relationship, which, they tell you more about. It evolves over the course of the movie then, but it’s sweet.”
It was interesting to hear what Jonathan was most excited about for this movie. “The thing I think we’re really excited about for this movie is seeing all the characters bounce off each other and seeing all these characters evolve in really organic ways. You’re definitely going to get to see things you didn’t see in the first movie – character evolutions, that hopefully are totally earned, but also totally unexpected. I think that’s kind of what the heart of Guardians is… it’s really about seeing these characters, seeing the bounce off each other and laughing with them and also cry with them at certain moments.”
And – of course – we HAD to put Jonathan on the spot… IS THE MUSIC IN #2 AS GOOD AS #1? (insert tons of laughter here from the group!)
“I’m a little biased. I think it’s — I think it’s way better!” (Jonathan was LAUGHING!) “It’s a cooler mix, I think. And I think James is really great at writing that music for specific moments… some of the songs on movie #2 I like can’t stop singing. I go nuts.” Jonathan wouldn’t give us any hints as to what songs were in #2, but he did say “the music plays a much bigger role directly in the plot than it did in movie #1! The music is much more important to the actual story of the movie.”
Jonathan was just amazing – he REALLY got us excited for the day in Atlanta! You could tell how passionate he was about Guardians, which was awesome to see. He loves the characters. He is committed to making these movies enjoyable and wonderful for audiences! It was really cool to see that passion within him.
Right after Jonathan, we got to head over to (my personal fave!) the PROPS! When I watch movies, I ALWAYS pay attention to the props because they’re characters within themselves. I’ve never truly known JUST HOW MUCH thought and energy goes into every single prop in a movie, but I found out when we got to interview Russell Bobbitt.
First – Russell is just super cool and has the MOST impressive resume ever!!! “I did Iron Man one/two/three, Thor, a couple of those Captain America movies, one that is about to break all of the records in the world. And part of that is, they give me a script and I have to figure out what kind of props the actors need and where they fit in the universe, depending on the universe that we’re in.”
Quite honestly, this is incredibly fascinating to me. Russell plays such an important role in the process of making a movie reality. “I’ll go over the script and sort of make a big list of everything I think should be in the movie. Then I think outside the box and I’ll do the background stuff, like the background alien person walks by, ‘what’s he gonna have in his hand?’ We design, manufacture and engineer everything basically from scratch on a movie. We draw. I show the director. I get approval. I get with the actors and I figure out what their characters are gonna be and we come up with a plan. We figure out the scale and the size and the color palette and all that stuff and then we go into the manufacturing process and we manufacture.”
We all were wondering about Quill’s WALKMAN!! It’s one of those “things” you just remember from Guardians #1! WHAT WENT INTO THAT? Russell LOVED telling us that for Guardians #2, “The Walkman that Chris wears was insanely challenging in that there’s plenty of the Walkman’s out there. You can find those. But the headset, allegedly Sony had a fire in the warehouse and all of that model burnt to the ground. And so, I looked at my boys and the people that shop for me and I said, ‘okay just go find them. Go online, go to ebay, do what you do to find those headsets’ and we found two pairs.” It’s SO fascinating!!
We were curious to find out from Russell where all the props go after the film? Since #1, where are all the props from #1? “They go to the magical Marvel warehouse. We borrow from each other. Obviously Thor 3 is happening in Australia, so the Thor 3 prop guys will call up our magical Marvel warehouse and say, ‘send all the crates out from Thor.’ We send them all out there. They use them. They make new stuff, then it all gets compiled, goes back. We’re about to do Avengers and I’m gonna make the call to the warehouse and say, ‘hey, I need Thor, I need Hawkeye, I need every character there is. Send me all that stuff. That way I’m not spending ten million dollars on every film. We’ve already made partial and then the director will go, yeah I like Hawkeye’s bow but I think it should be a little larger. Then I spend the money. But I do the diligence. Thor’s hammer – Thor’s hammer is gonna be Thor’s hammer all day long.”
The best part of visiting the prop room? Getting to “meet” baby Groot!!
Russell told us, “When I pull this out on set, I don’t care who it is — a grip, electrician, a craft service guy, the wardrobe, you know, everybody wants to touch and hold Baby Groot and take him home to their kids. This one’s made out of silicone, very much like the tree because he can pose. I can make him sit and stand and James Gunn is so incredibly attached to Baby Groot, it’s unbelievable. He designed every sprout and every piece of moss, it was a huge process.”
Super cute, right?
Russell was the best! He was such a pleasure to chat with, I could’ve stayed there all day! I loved seeing all the props! They really make the movie, the movie! But most important was listening to Russell explain how and why things come to be. Everything has a story and that’s one of the takeaways for me. There isn’t anything on set without a purpose and that’s just BEYOND incredible to me. There’s so much thought. There’s so much backstory. Nothing is just there, there truly is a meaning and reason behind it all. I’m not kidding, I could have stood there all day listening to his stories about working in Hollywood and on films.
We had the opportunity to walk through the costume trailers, too. It was pretty amazing to see costumes labeled “Chris Pratt” and “Zoe Saldana!” It was almost like, “Is this for real?” It was THAT kind of cool. What really jumped out at me in the costume trailers were 3 things:
1. The attention to detail that goes into every costume, just like the props. Every button, every zip, every thread is there for a reason. It’s truly just unbelievable to see it all come together.
2. The costumes are replicated (if need be) since they are worn repeatedly. So there could be 2 of the same jacket or 2 of the same cape. That was interesting to see.
3. It was just really cool to step back and remember that the costumes we were actually seeing were the ACTUAL costumes worn in the movie! That magic wasn’t lost on any of us!
This experience visiting the set of Guardians of the Galaxy #2 was just AMAZING!! It really was such a standout trip for me because we saw so much and we met so many of the stars!! I’m super excited to have you join me all week as I unveil tons of awesome content! INTERVIEWS GALORE – Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana will be up tomorrow!! And the rest of the interviews will be released on my blog throughout the week!! Don’t forget that my blogging friends will be sharing their content, too!! MAKE SURE you check all of our content out!!!
Disclosure: Marvel/Disney Press trip. Travel expenses covered. All opinions are 100% my own!