Let’s all swoon for a moment thinking of the man, the myth, the legend himself… Mr. Kurt Ruseell. I literally grew up watching him as a kid. I’m a true child of the 80s so I watched him in Escape from New Tork, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, and of course my favorites: Overboard and Tango and Cash. His relationship with Goldie Hawn is one for the record books. He is an actor’s actor. He loves it. So seeing him on the big screen again as EGO was the best 2 hours and 18 minutes of my year. He doesn’t disappoint either on screen or in person. In fact, during our interview he couldn’t see everyone in the back, so like the gentleman he is, he chose to stand up. SWOON! He’s such a class act! Now, let’s get on to the interview! ***WARNING SPOILERS IN THIS INTERVIEW***
Q: How did you get involved with Guardians of the Galaxy?
KR: I was doing this publicity tour for Tarantino’s movie, The Hateful Eight, and one day all of a sudden, you know, boom-boom-boom-boom-boom-boom-boom my phone started to go off. Which is very rare for me. I don’t have a lotta telephone action. I don’t, you know, do media stuff on it so it was literally like…they were all the same thing. Oh wait, this is great, this is exciting, are you gonna do this? And then the people in the interview started to ask me, are you gonna do this Guardians of the Galaxy? Are you gonna play Peter Quill’s father? I literally had no idea what they were talking about ‘cause I hadn’t seen the movie. And I just said, no. And it was like, wow, whatever this is they’re excited about it. And the next day kinda got the official word and I said well guys, I need to read it and I need to see the movie. And when I saw the movie right away I kinda fell in love with it and it just got better and better. But more than anything else I was kinda watching Chris and saying, yeah,I get that energy. I get that, kinda that style. And, and I realized, you know, from movies that I had done in the past, I would bring the right baggage here. As I read the screenplay, uh, it was even more so. I wanted to do it.
I was gonna do the movie, because of the reaction that I got, I was concerned that the audience would go in thinking, oh great, this is just right. We’re so happy that he’s gonna have adventures with his dad, and it’s Kurt Russell and he’s working…and I hate this movie. [LAUGHTER] Kurt Russell’s responsible for killing this for me. I said, I just wanna make sure we hit the right notes here, James. I said, you know, it has to have the right amount of comedy and it has to have the… Anyway, started talking about it and I felt very comfortable with James. I thought his hand was really solidly on it. He really knew what he was doing. And then, of course, working with Chris, primarily, that was just right. I just…as soon as Chris and I saw each other we just kinda smiled, gave each other a hug and said this is- this is clearly right. So that was kind of the early stages and the first processes of it.
Q: Do you think it turned out the way you wanted it to as far as showing enough comedy and everything else?
KR: Yeah, it was important… For instance, the one thing that I would like to have seen is about fifteen seconds more of planet Kesh. However, your reaction is proof that you shouldn’t do that. Because if you go to far with that relationship they’re not- there’s gonna be something very wrong with this. You know, it is a son, killing his father. So you gotta be very careful with that. That, I mean, you know, when you watch the movie that doesn’t look like a problem. It’s perfect. You hate him, you wanted to get him- you know, it’s like put him out. Put him out. But when you’re doing it, you don’t know these things, you know. You can only assume them and try to play the scenes that are there correctly to make that final moment what it should be. And, you know, you have to go all the way from being kinda cool and loving and fun to just, you know, who fuck do you think you are? You know, I think we’ve all said that to our kids. Who the hell do you think you are? [LAUGHTER] So I was like, I could hear myself, you know. I was literally, you know – you go to your room!
So, it was all in that zone and it kinda had to have some of that tone to it so you could sort of enjoy as a parent, I think, some of that reprimand. And, you know, you tell somebody live a thousand years as a battery, he means it, you know.
Q: You’re adored by millions of fans. Have you found that the Marvel fan base is different than other types of fans that you’ve encountered doing different types of films?
KR: Well first of all, I’ve never done a Marvel movie. I’ve done lots of Disney movies. The fact that they came together, you know, I think kinda says they understand each other and they’ve obviously been doing this. Yeah, I don’t know what the reaction will be, you know, ‘cause the movie as far… You can have fans, but you might not- they might not be people who review movies and stuff, you know. You never know what that’s gonna be. So, you just do what you’re gonna do. I do think that Disney, having done them, there’s a different energy to these movies.
I think the trick is, and what I’ve tried to do all my life is, I was just an actor who didn’t wanna do the same thing. I just didn’t- it just- for some reason that just repulsed me. It made me not wanna do it. And then in Hollywood a lotta times if you have something that’s successful, the next thirty scripts you read are gonna be in that zone. So I disappointed a lotta people by saying, I get it. I get why you want me to do it. But, if you’ll notice, I just did that. I don’t wanna do that now. I wanna- I- you know, I passed that math test. I wanna go on to this English test now.
And in saying that, and in doing that you create a confusion, and a whiplash sort of career where they can’t pigeonhole you, but they’re not necessarily happy about that. Even critics and reviewers are not necessarily happy about that. I guess a tendency is, human beings, too, if you see something, like it and then wanna see more of it. That also applies to whole movies where you see a movie you like so let’s do it again. We haven’t- you know, let’s do Overboard again. Let’s do Big Trouble In Little China over. Let’s do it again. Let’s do Escape From New York again. Let’s do Tombstone again. There’s only- they’ve only done fifty-six Tombstones forty-five I think, or forty-six of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday thing. So my job was to skip around genres. Skip around characters. Find stories that I liked, that I wanted see. Characters that I wanted to play. And try to challenge myself with giving the director as many options as possible with takes so that he could, or she could, put the movie together and have a lot of options to choose from. When you do that you, you know, you kinda take that and you’re putting a lot of trust in the director. The other way of doing it is you sort of give him one thing, which is not to say you don’t do that. Miracle was a movie where I, you know, had to get in character and then you stay there.
I think there’s room for both, and I’ve done that. You know, I’m just skipped around genres. I really enjoy that. I just – that’s what keeps me going. It keeps me fired up. I wanna find something that I think, oh, I’m a people watcher, you know. I’m an inveterate people watcher. I’ll do that in this room, you know. I’ll see somebody. Oh that’s a good one. Then years later you’ll read something and you go, oh, that reminds me of that, you know, that woman was in the third row, she had the… What was that? What was she doin’? You know. I gotta use that. [LAUGHS]
Q: How much did you put of yourself in Ego? In your character?
KR: I got a healthy ego. [LAUGHTER] I do. I think that’s important in our industry and our business and as a human being to have control of your ego. But I think you should have a healthy one. If you don’t have a healthy one you’re gonna have other problems. Ego is…I love names and characters. You can go back through my litany of characters and you’re gonna find at least twelve great names. I think that’s important. And if they don’t have a great name, I give ‘em a great name. [LAUGHTER]
I was very disappointed with when I read this, the character’s name was J’son. Jay-son. And I said, yeah, well fifteen Marvel people will know who this is. That’s a weak-ass name. Then later on being to find out that well actually his name is Ego the Living Planet. I went that’s more like it. So how much of myself is there? I don’t know. Listen, if you’re gonna play God let’s go big. [LAUGHTER] So I think this movie has a lot to say about that. I mean it’s such an obvious thing when you literally- when he’s- when you first meet him and the first thing out of his mouth is, my name is Ego. He’s very proud of that and you gotta understand that he’s made everything in his life. He’s chosen to be that. He chose to come to earth and look like Kurt Russell. That’s a choice. His son is not… The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. If he doesn’t know who his father is he’s gonna create this guy who’s like, hey, David Hasselhoff. It has that right note of comedy and- and yet correctness to it. I thought that was a great- I love all the layers of that kinda- that stuff. I don’t like to shy away from what’s fun about…fun about the joke. All levels of the joke. When you consider all levels of the joke, you’re gonna be in there somewhere. And that’s one of my things that I…I’ll pat myself on the back for that more than a lot of other actors.
You’ll see a lot of actors and you can tell, I don’t think that guy has much self-humor. Doesn’t find much about himself funny. I can name a lot of ‘em. I like actors. I like what they can do. I love working with ‘em, but self-humor is a funny thing and I think that’s probably where Chris Pratt and I probably share a lot.
Q: When we talked on set you had said that a lot of the spontaneity is lost on green screen or blue screen. Is there anything after seeing the movie that you wish you could have seen in it?
KR: Not really. Not much. Those are big spaces. What wasn’t there was like a room like this with twelve glasses in it. And gee, I wish I’d known those were gonna be there, I woulda knocked those outta the way when we went over- were fighting. It would be great to go through those. Or I cut myself. A million things you can come up with, you know. That big wide like, Hey!!, like oh Jesus. Right. I didn’t know it was gonna be there. So that’s what I was talking about. With this movie, mostly it’s backdrop. It’s, you know, we had enough there to kinda, you know, give us what was goin’ on. So it was nice to see the movie because you can see the pictures when you’re working. But it’s nice to see the finished project when I saw that.
Q: In the opening scene where you were younger, what was the process like?
KR: That guy right there is Dennis Liddiard. He’s been my makeup man for twenty-eight years. We’ve done a lot of movies together where our goal was to, without the audience knowing it, help me arrive at what I need to do to set the tone for the character, the look for the character, the feel for the character. I think we’ve achieved it many times. Very subtly. So much so that nobody knows what he did. On this one, I’m really proud to point him out because we assumed, all of us, that for that we were just gonna do heavy CGI special effects like they normally do. And Dennis, before we start goin’, Dennis, said to James Gunn – we just did this interview with James Gunn and… And so James Gunn and the cinematographer and whoever else was there. Some of ‘em are old guys. Hey guys. I know his face really, really well. I can really do a lot here to bring him down.
If I de-age him some, does that help you? And they said as much as you can help. Yes. That helps very much. When he was done and when I got the right hair goin’ [LAUGHS] very important. And when he got the wardrobe going, and then the actor has the opportunity to see that, and begin to feel that and, in the case of yourself, say yeah that’s a younger me. It’s time for me to go to work and slip into all of that and take advantage of all of that, and go be younger. Go play younger. You lighten your voice, you move a little quicker, you go to work with that. I think the reason this one worked, everybody has said, this looks so…this is amazing. This is- really looks real. Is it because there’s- and I- because there’s not much CGI here. And I ran into the woman last night who’s the head of that department. She came up all excited and she said, what did you think about what we did to you? And I said, I thought it was great, but I heard it wasn’t very much. She said, no it wasn’t. [LAUGHTER] And I said, yeah, he’s got some tricks up his sleeve and he pulled ‘em all out. And in fact did it very fast. Because it hadn’t been asked of him. So there’s hope for all of us. You guys know a lot more about that than we do. But you have somebody who knows your face and you gotta have a face that you can work with. That’s true, you know. And, but he knows my face and he- so they did some CGI and stuff there, but mostly that’s that guy right there.
Kurt Russell is just cool. Pure and simple. He’s an easy come easy go type of dude and was everything I wanted him to be.
About The Movie:
Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2” continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” blasts into NOW.
***Disclosure: I attended the #GotGVol2Event My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney All opinions are 100% mine. ***