Guardians of the Galaxy preview and Q&A with Marvel head producer Kevin Fiege
Ahead of the much anticipated Marvel comic sci-fi romp Guardians of the Galaxy on 31st July, those in attendance at a special 3D IMAX preview in the Leicester Square Empire were treated to a tantalising 17-minute glimpse of the movie, and a Q&A with Marvel movie universe honcho Kevin Fiege.
The decision to bring the relatively unknown franchise to the big screen is, by Fiege’s own admission, a risk, but he has made a habit of taking risks that pay off in recent years. Talking of his previous decisions to bring Thor and Captain America to the big screen, Fiege says “the minute you aren’t think about something as risky is probably about the time you start making bad decisions.”
The footage is certainly technically impressive (with excellent use of 3D that makes Avatar suddenly seem very dated), and especially so when presented in IMAX. The film is shot in such a way as to accommodate the format, the producer explained: “[Director James Gunn] went through and chose the particular moments and sequences where, when you’re watching in IMAX, it will go to the full range of the screen. It’s just an added element to immerse you into this adventure.”
The film centres on a ragtag bunch of aliens (and one human – Peter Qiull, played by Parks and Recreation’s Chris Pratt), and the adventure is knowingly grand in scale. Fierge, on the inspiration behind it, said: “We always loved the idea of doing a big space epic, of taking the Marvel cinematic universe and pushing it to the other side of that universe. In the comics, the characters are traversing the broader Marvel universe all the time. So we were thinking ‘wouldn’t it be fun someday to be able to do a big space movie?’”
Among the band of reluctant heroes are two entirely digital characters, Rocket – the racoon who is unaware he’s a racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper, part Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, part Han Solo), and Groot, Rocket’s humanoid-tree accomplice (motion capture and voice by Vin Diesel, complete with a Chewbacca-esque language barrier). Fiege said the desire to cast Cooper came when an early digital model of the character was made to voice “Bradley’s scene with Robert De Niro from Silver Linings Playbook, and something about that sort of clicked and was very exciting to us”. The producer described Diesel’s participation in the project as “one of the best performances in a movie full of great performances”, and from the preview, it would seem Groot does have a tendency to steal the show.
Parallels to Star Wars aside, a certain demographic of fans of another beloved sci-fi may be drawn to the film by the prospect of Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan, in probably her biggest role yet – the villainous Nebula. Though the character was not to be found in the preview (though British will have noticed a glimpse of Peter Serafinowicz), Gillan’s portrayal of the bald baddy is another that Fiege is very pleased with. He closed the Q&A by describing how he knew she was right for the role from her brave enthusiasm for the close-crop required.
While little could be garnered about the standard of the narrative from the 17-minute action sequence previewed, Kevin Fieige’s excitement in the Q&A was palpable. It was demonstrated that, whatever happens, Guardians of the Galaxy is sure to be a spectacle.
Guardians of the Galaxy is released nationwide on 31st July 2014.
Watch the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy here: