As I continue my coverage of Marvel’s next release, this post is all about Karen Gillan as Nebula on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. She like the Dave Bautista (Drax), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), and Michael Rooker (Yondu), was in full costume during the interview. So needless to say, we had a lot of questions about her new look and what’s up with that hand?
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Karen joins our group looking a little dirty. Some smudge marks on her face and dust on her costume, you know she’s had some action in her day.
You look like you’ve been through something today.
What with the dirt.
There’s a lot of that happening on this film. Yeah, yeah, she gets up to a lot of stuff in the dirt and claiming things within Gamora.
What is it like to be back with the cast and to be doing this?
It’s so nice to be back. I feel like it’s such a line to say like we’re like one big happy family. But we genuinely are. Yeah, it’s great. Everyone’s nice, and it’s just so much fun to be on this set, and they play music and it just really sort of joyous experience.
So what’s new with the relationship between Gamora and Nebula?
I think we’re just going to delve much further into their history and were going to learn about their back story as well which is really exciting for me as an actress to explore. We’re going to learn that they have very severe daddy issues. When Thanos is your father like of course, you’re going to have those. And yeah, they’re going to sort of really talk to each other. Usually, they communicate quite physically. Like it’s sort of you know, sisters pull each other’s hair. They sort of try to kill each other. But they’re going to talk, and that’s fascinating I think.
What was it like for you when got the script for Vol 2 and read what Nebula would be up to this time around?
I e-mailed James the director and just wrote, ‘oh, my God, I can’t believe I get to do all this stuff’. Because when I went on to the first film, it was originally an eight-day shoot. And I felt that that was the end of my character as well. So when I found out I was coming back for the next film up I was like what? And it was cool because in the first film they just kept on rewriting my ending. And I was just like okay, which one is in the movie? I don’t know because we shot a few of them. And then when I found out I was coming back for the next one was just amazing. And he’s given her all this back story, and we understand why she is so bad, and she has motivations.
Are we going to see a softer side to Nebula?
I think we’re going to understand her more. We’re going to have a bit of empathy towards her. As to whether that makes her soft I don’t know because she’s you know, she’s still classic pissed off Nebula. That’s her default face. But we’re just going to understand why she does the things she does and understand her relationship with Gamora in much more detail and maybe realize that Gamora wasn’t as nice as she makes out towards Nebula in their childhood.
So, you didn’t know how the last one was going to end for your character and then when you got to see the film and see how it ended were you satisfied?
Yes, yes. It was cool. Like a lot of that was done in reshoot as well. I was really happy. Like he gave her a cool bad ass ending. And it was open as well, which was very exciting. Yeah, I didn’t think I could look that tough. So it was cool.
So what initially attracted you to the role?
It’s interesting when you sort of audition for a Marvel film you don’t really know that much about it. All I knew is that it was a female villain and that was enough to attract me to it because with these big films quite often a girl is you know, the girlfriend, some sort of glamorous role. But this was totally different. And I was like wow, that’s cool. My dad always told me to aim to be a Bond villain rather than a Bond girl. So that was kind of like a cool moment for me. So yeah, and then I just auditioned it felt like it was going to be a fleshed out interesting character with places to go. And she was just creepy, which is fun.
What’s the process of becoming Nebula?
Okay, so I have been able to keep half of my hair for this film, which is very exciting. So that added an hour of just wrapping all the hair up in a bald cap. And then it takes about 2 1/2 hours to put the makeup on, which is actually quicker than the last film. The last film was maybe around five hours for the full process. So it’s like significantly less time. I don’t know how that happened. And then to get into this jumpsuit is about 20 minutes. So I mean it’s quite a long process, but it’s just so worth it. Sort of does half of the job for you as an actor because you look like this. The guys do a really good job and I love the fact that the two guys that do it are these like huge tatted men. They create this look.
Is it comfortable?
I mean elements are comfortable. (Laughs) I’m thinking, ‘not like what I would choose to wear lounging around the house.’ I mean this is not very comfortable, but it looks so cool, so it’s worth it. Nebula has a bit of a different look going on in this film, so she gets a costume change which is very exciting. I do love the purple, though, the original.
It’s amazing to watch you talk to and like, and hear your voice and then see your face.
I know. It’s like some oxymoron’s going on or something.
I have to remind myself am I interviewing people. The makeup is so amazing? It’s crazy.
You are so sweet with your Scotish accent, how do you get into character? You are not anything like Nebula.
The makeup does half of it for me. Like it just feels really natural to just look like this really mean being. But James (Gunn), the director, his favorite thing is when I’m acting and then like I break character for some reason, and it’s just, ‘like what the hell’? It’s cool though because I’m getting to play something that’s just completely removed from myself and getting to explore different sides of that. When you’re acting is quite nice. And I get good American accent, which is fun.
Are you stained?
Stained? Like blue? No, I’m not painted like the other ones, so I think it’s a little easier for me. They just peel off at the end of the day. Yeah. It’s quite good for the skin. It’s quite good to take off because they use all these like natural oils which are great for the skin.
Do they reuse the same pieces?
Some of the pieces reuse but most of them they’ll just throw away, and then they just have to keep making molds of them every time. Yeah, it’s incredible what they do.
Can you tell us about Nebula’s new hand?
Ooh, the mystery of the hand. I don’t want to give away anything but then is the hand really a spoiler? She’s definitely got something in place of the hand that she chopped off, not necessarily a hand. So she goes on a mission to rectify this. So it’s a whole thing. She’s on the hunt to replace whatever is there. And then she does replace it with something really, really cool.
So this is why you haven’t any paint on your left hand?
Your role is very physical. How do you prepare?
Well, I work out with the Marvel stunt team, and that is so ridiculous. Oh, my God, I come out, and I like to take a nap. It is like with all the stunt guys, and they’re like jacked. So yeah, I do that as much as I can. And then whatever there’s like a fight sequence or something they rehearse with us and, and then also the stunt girl, Kelly, Nebula’s stunt double, does it too and she makes me look good because I look like spaghetti.
So, do you do a lot of your stunts?
I try to do as many as possible. I’m aware I do not look as good doing stunts as Kelly. So I’m happy for her to do them just because she’s going to make the character look cooler than I could. But I do have to do most of them. There was one where she had to drop from the ceiling really fast. I didn’t do that. But, and they want to be able to use you as much as possible just so that they can see your face in the shots. So I try to get involved. But there’s been one I was too scared to do.
Kelly has to get in full makeup, too, when she gets this done?
Yeah, it’s a whole ordeal.
What were you too scared to do?
It was like being on wires and then we had to run at the edge of a cliff. It wasn’t too high, but it was rigged and then like swaying really high like we were sort of jumping really far. And I was a little nervous to do that because I’d never done it before. Kelly did a great job. I was watching from the sidelines.
How quickly did you find out about Vol 2 after the first movie?
I think I knew that I was going to be coming back from the first film. To what capacity, I didn’t know, so I only found a few months ago maybe before we started shooting. I just got the script delivered to the house, and I was like okay, what am I doing? And I was like whoa, this is kind of good. I didn’t find out too far in advance. They keep it under wraps.
What did you find most challenging going from Vol 1 to Vol 2?
I guess probably just delving further into the history of the character. There’s a balance between playing an evil villain people love to sort of hate but trying, to tell the truth, and not make her likable because that’s not what I’m setting out to do but to just serve the role in the right way. I guess it’s just been more of an acting challenge I guess because there’s more to play with.
We keep hearing how it is like a family on set. Can you tell us a little bit about the laughter and the fun that’s happening behind the scenes while you are filming?
It just kind of feels like what you see on screen like that sort of banter, that sort of nature to it. That’s what it’s like off screen. And they play music, which lifts people’s spirits and the music’s sort of an integral part of these films. Also, the cast is really nice. Like there’s not one person that’s a bit like you know, standoffish. It’s not like that at all. And it all filters down from the top of that’s from James, the director. Like he sets a really good tone for everyone and cast nice people. So it’s good. I enjoy it.
Besides your character, which is your favorite Guardians of the Galaxy character?
The new character Mantis is pretty great, Pom (Klementieff) the actress who plays her is brilliant. I couldn’t imagine anybody else playing the role. But I’m going to say that my favorite is Drax. I think he’s the funniest person on and off screen. Like he can make anything funny, and he doesn’t try to, and that’s why it’s so funny. His dry delivery, just how huge he is with that dry delivery is such a funny combination to me. Like everybody dies whenever he’s acting. Like everybody’s just dying of laughter.
Can’t get enough Guardians of the Galaxy? Here are some of the other interviews.
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.