The end was near, so the mood was understandably bittersweet among the stars of the much-anticipated superhero film, ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol 3’, who had corralled for the global press junket to talk up their last and final installment.
On one end, there was Hollywood actor Chris Pratt -- the one doing the heavy-lifting in the superhero finale -- who mockingly complained about being “pretty bored listening to these other [expletive]” and not having enough questions directed at him, and on the other hand, a quirky anecdote about how his peer and actress Pom Klementieff “burst into tears” on an airplane weeping about everything ending made everyone sigh.
“I wanted to hide in the bathroom and cry because it was like mourning. Sometimes it [those feelings of sadness] just comes at unexpected moments. And you just can’t control it,” said actress Klementieff, also threatening to cry once again at this junket. The French actress plays the empathetic Mantis in this Marvel Cinematic Universe trilogy, which sees an endearing band of misfits – led by Peter Quill/Starlord (Pratt) -- rally together to save their severely injured raccoon pal Rocket’s life.
The final chapter arrives in the UAE cinemas on May 5 and is billed as director and writer James Gunn’s wrap to the hit adventure about a bunch of imperfect, but lovable space superheroes and their mission to do good.
This star-studded superhero fantasy spectacle, starring a raft of talents including Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Dave Bautista, is one of this year’s most anticipated films and has become a cultural juggernaut. But did Gunn anticipate such a marvelous run and reception?
“Almost 12 years ago, I was the first hire … I felt really good from the beginning, like we were doing something different. I felt like the world kind of needed a space fantasy that was different from the ones we had seen before,” said Gunn. And he succeeded largely. ‘GOTF’ happens to be one of those rare Hollywood superhero films where a usually forgettable mammal like a raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) gets as much play as a hunky Pratt. This film, which is high on emotions and entertainment, has thrived for over a decade.
“It [Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol 3] has changed me in so many ways … I have also been really good at hiring non-jerks,” said Gunn, prompting loud laughter from his cast. “Not only non-jerks, but people who are actually positive, compassionate, loving, kind people. I really love them. And it makes making movies a much more pleasant experience. My main memories are not going to the premieres or press junkets. It’s being on sets and having those little moments … Doing bits with Chris in between sets or goofing around with Pom,” said Gunn.
The ambitious director’s admiration for his talents was not one-sided. When Pratt was asked if he would sign up for another trilogy with Gunn, his response was almost involuntary. “First of all, I’d jump at the opportunity. Making movies is really fun and when you get to do it with people that you love, it’s even more fun. That’s the journey right? The destination, it sometimes sucks even if he had fun while making it,” said Pratt. He explains how he has made films with close pals that didn’t translate well despite enjoying the process of making that film.
“The movie sucked, but the process didn’t. But with James, it has been both the journey and the destination that have been glorious. I don’t know how he does it. And so selfishly, I would be willing to deal with a terrible journey to get to this destination … But it happens to be an incredibly journey with James,” said Pratt. Everyone in the room, including Gunn, Pratt, Will Poulter, Chukwudi Iwuji, Karen Gillan, Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Maria Baklova, – were on the same page and felt they were going to miss the characters once the third and final chapter was rolled into the cinemas globally this week.
“That’s the saddest part for me. I really, truly love these characters. I love all of them. But I think there’s certain ones that I have a special fondness for, especially Rocket … The saddest part is that I am not going to be writing the characters again, in the near future,” said Gunn.
The finale to the trilogy ties up loose ends neatly. It opens with Pratt’s character Peter Quill reeling from the loss of Gamora and how he has to be strong to save Rocket’s life. He’s struggling to move on from that personal tragedy, leaving his troop vulnerable to attack.
“He’s lost. He’s definitely lost … There is a wonderful dialogue that comes from Mantiss that Quill is a guy who needs to learn how to swim and that he has been hoping from lily pad to lily pad, woman to woman, and relationship to relationship. I think It’s a pretty human condition,” said Pratt.
What makes the Guardians franchise a stupendous hit globally is how Gunn managed to spin the superhero genre on its head and create a band of misfits who save the world while cracking jokes and pulling each other’s legs. These intergalactic space heroes don’t have it all figured out and there lies the movie’s charm. Pratt’s character Quill – where he falls in in love with Gamora (Zoe Saldana) but has to make peace with knowing that she doesn’t recognise him anymore and reciprocate his deep feelings – makes him a fallible superhero. For Pratt, his character’s vulnerability was a strong draw.
“In the beginning he was running away from the death of his mother, but he found himself with the Guardians of the Galaxy. And then he thought he could find himself with who his father was. So, he’s a guy who is constantly searching for who he is. He found it agains in his relationship with Gamora. And so when that’s stripped away from him , he is lost … He’s sad,” said Pratt. He’s not the only troubled character in this film. Actor Chukwudi Iwuji, who plays the evil High Evolutionary, is also on a dangerous path.
“He’s this mad scientist sort of person …The motivations and the moments are impeccably written,” said Iwuji, who adds that this villain is a person who parades around with a God’s complex. The words spoken by King Henry in Henry IV -- “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown” -- explains his dark character’s conviction in doing evil for greater good, adds Iwuji.
Speaking of greater good, actor Pratt also reveals that he had an evocative farewell speech saved the last day of filming.
“I don’t know if they wanted me to give a speech, but they weren’t going to stop me. The thing that you want to aovid is regret. One day, looking back and thinking why did I just let that go by without trying to enjoy every moment? ... I just felt gratitude. I wanted to be the guy who reminded everyone how far we had come and all the things we had overcome,” said Pratt.
This American actor, who shot to fame after playing Andy Dwyer in hit sitcom ‘Parks and Recreation’, even was armed with all those scathing reviews about Guardians Of The Galaxy franchise.
“I read afew reviews from people who had said that the Guardians was going to be the first big flop ... Don’t know how those ended up in my notes for the past nine years. But it was just important to me. I knew how important it was to be present in that moment ... I have had the experience of being part of things that have come and gone. I remember ‘Parks and Recreation’ and how it felt important. I wanted to co-erce people into being present as well,” said Pratt.
Speech or no speech, everyone was on the same page.
“It was such an emotional moment,” said Pratt. Everyone in that room and their fans agreed.
Don’t Miss It!
'Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 3' is out in UAE cinemas on May 4