In just a few more months we will all be talking about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Ego being played by Kurt Russell is Star-Lord’s dad, and that has been a topic of conversation amongst fans before Kurt even heard about the role or even had watched the first film.
While on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, we had some time with Kurt all dotted up for some CGI post work, so we couldn’t snap any photos. But he was very nice, funny and ever so handsome. He graciously answered our questions and shared what he could about his character and what it’s like to join the Guardians of the Galaxy family.
Ego Played by Kurt Russell is Star-Lord’s Dad
Going into the interview, we knew that Kurt was playing Ego, the father of Peter Quill/Star-Lord.
Hi, I am Kurt Russel.
Hi, how are you?
It is nice to meet you.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role?
Yes, I am his (Star-Lord/Peter Quill’s) father. It’s a role full of adventure. There are different types of scenes where emotionally it is very different.
You get to explore a lot of Peter Quills past; you will learn a lot about him where he comes from, what he is and why. He is coming from the position of wondering who his father was for his whole life, and it is me.
What made you want to take this role?
I was doing a publicity tour for Hateful 8, and suddenly one day all the reporters and everybody I ran into, I mean everybody was saying: “Oh are you going to do the Guardians of the Galaxy”?
I have never heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy. “Are you going to be Peter Quill’s father?”, And I was like, Sam (Samuel L Jackson), who has done the Fury (Nick Fury in the Avengers), he said: “That is a little different stuff”. He said it was a huge audience and I said was it fun? He said: “Oh, Yes, it was fun”.
I started learning about Guardians of the Galaxy. I have never been being asked about a character before I have done it as much as that. Then I realized this movie must be really popular and for some reason, the audience cared about who his father was going to be.
So I read the script for I didn’t know anything about it, so I said let’s just read it. So I read the script, and I needed to see the movie.
I was watching it with Goldie, and I could see in about 8 or 9 minutes, as soon as he kicks one of those things I was like this kid is my son. I instantly got the gist of what the Guardians of the Galaxy world was like.
I have done a lot of movies in the past, and I connected some dots there. I get that I would be such a good person to play the dad from the script that I had read. So that was fun to do, and it turned out to be a blast. Chris (Pratt) is great, and the whole cast is great. And James (Gunn), it is fun to work with someone who knows what they want to do, what they want to show and pull it off trying to create it.
I guess you didn’t need to audition?
For the role? Well, you could say I did 55 years worth. Everything you do is what a director is going to look at to see if something is right for you for their movie. Whether they want you to play the part that they want you to play. No, I don’t go in any longer. They know who I am. (wink)
How long have you known that you are going to play this role?
I think it was January (2016) When they asked me if I wanted to do it, and started in March, so it was about two months I guess.
Have you gone back and watched the Marvel Movies since doing this role?
No, I know from talking with James. I have to have rehearsal time, which was important. I knew what it was and what I needed to do.
So, Peters mom introduced the storyline with the music, and it revolves around him in the first movie. Does your character have any connection with music?
It will be quite important.
Is there anything else you could give us on that?
A lot more, but you have got to wait to see the movie. (laughing) There is a strong connection to music; some particular songs are a big part.
The set is an enormous blue room, for in case you didn’t know, most of the film is CGI’d in post production.
Standing on the set that is full of the blue walls, what is it like to work like this?
This set is where we have just spent the last few days using some of the wires that are left. (Pointing around the room)
Wire gags have been used probably since the thirties and forties, but the technology around the wire gag itself has improved so much, and the wires have improved.
That’s probably a good thing.
Well, they are on computers now, so sometimes you work out what you are going to do, and they dial it in. You get much better precision now. The technology of what they can do around you has improved greatly. Because it used to be that you get a kind of like a line around you and if you moved too much you get some rippling effect, it wasn’t very good.
I started doing all this in the early sixties with Disney. They haven’t changed it much but having said that we are getting further and further into this world. This (referring to our surroundings) will all look obviously completely different right? I have always been an actor, like many actors, who respond to their surroundings.
This is the moment when I about die – Kurt comes up to me, grabs my press pass lanyard and is rubbing my arm. DYING!
If you and I are playing a scene together (referring to him and ME), and I see you have this, (referring to that mentioned lanyard) and I am talking to you. I see that (lanyard), and I want to play with it. If you don’t have that on, I’m not kicked off to do that. So there the spontaneity is different in a movie like this.
(Listen to a clip here!)
It’s really understandable when we did Tombstone there was a scene where I was walking with Dana Delaney. The wind was blowing a little bit that day. It was blowing some of the cottonwoods around you know, cottonwood little white things. And one was going to blow on her face so I just picked it like that and it was just part of the scene, and it was very organic. That won’t happen here, so you have to invent that.
Chris and I did some stuff when we first got together, and he knows that he is my son and that I am his father and I know that he is my son.
And were doing this really cool thing and there is nothing there. He and I looked at each other, and we imagined the same things. So that was fun to play with, and it will be fun for us to see that physicalized.
We told them what we were thinking, so I think they will include that, but that was fun because only he and I were knowing what was happening and it will be fun to see that brought to life. Sometimes just doing a scene and something just happens it might not even be right or wrong, and you go with it. A tree falls, so you play that the tree fell. You keep continuing, or it stops, and it gives the scene a whole different feeling. I mean, I worry about that being lost. So in a movie like this, you have to have it because it’s just so chock-a-block full of things that don’t exist. But it’s fun to imagine.
Will you get to see any of those bits come to life before the movie is together?
They also have this thing now it’s called a previz, it’s very valuable. It’s a cheap version of what you are going to get in post-production, which we can look at that can kick your imagination.
However, you kind of lock into what it is, so there are pros and cons there. It can be cool because it makes you feel like you know how to improve it. Sometimes it would have been nice to be there from the beginning because then I could improve it. Wouldn’t that be great? That is a little different, so we can’t go there, we can’t do that, so it confines you in some ways, but in other ways it allows you to see it a little better.
It gives you a better vision?
Yeah much more so than just having it described to you or imaging kind of what it is. Some of the stuff is fun to be just be surprised If I was doing say the movie I did “The Thing” in 1982. It was about this monster that has been to many different planets before arriving on Earth. When the monster evolved out of a dog into a human being or a chair or whatever it needed to do to be alive. It would go through those transformations before it was turning into whatever it transformed into.
One time I had to run away from this thing and turn around and throw something that blows it up. As I turn around, I said so John (Carpenter, Director), where is this thing? It’s right up there and points to a big X on the wall. When I turn around in the movie, I am looking at that X. But when you see it in the movie it’s like this big crazy thing, and I never knew what it was going to be til I saw the movie.
What are you hoping the audience will get out of your character Ego?
Well, that’s a good question. Because, number one, when you are playing a character I think you try to find the things that will be entertaining and do them in a way that is entertaining and is fun to watch. In movies like this, it is easy to be frivolous and look at it as a comic book venue. I think comic books, especially science fiction. There are two worlds that you to ask the big questions and they are westerns, and the other is science fiction. You can get away with asking the big questions especially in westerns you get away with asking big American political questions because it is so deeply engrained in American persona. Even in children, cowboys are a certain thing to us. To women who are connected to cowboys, they are a certain thing to us, etc.
And in science fiction, you can ask “Is there a God,” question. “What would you do if you could be invisible?” They will let you ask these huge questions within the confines of this story. What if you were Peter Quill and this happens to you? This Marvel comic book world, Guardians of the Galaxy. And you never knew who your father was, but like real life, you have created in your mind someone whom you put on a pedestal. Which I think is a very important thing to talk about when you talk about children who don’t know who their parents are. Their father has left, or their father never existed, or their father was never in their life, or maybe he was there for a short while and then he left. Are you responsible for that?
All those very real human things. So when you say what do you get out of that, I do hope to have all the entertainment value that you should get in a movie like this. But underneath it is the reality of when you are playing it, is the reality aspect of the relationship that is important to that person. That is real. That has consequence. That is not a comic book that is not a cartoon. It’s not funny even though some of it is going to end up very funny. But that is life, so that’s why I think one of the reasons why James wanted to get Kurt Russell for the part, I am going to go ahead and go in there and do that.
Did you miss one of my Guardians of the Galaxy posts? You can catch up here.
Guardians of the Galaxy opens May 5, 2017
*I was invited by Disney/Marvel to attend a special press trip to share my experience with my readers. All opinions are my own.