Gunn Talks Guardians of the Galaxy, Calls Rocket Raccoon 'Heart' of Film

Although Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy doesn't open until August 2014, it's already become a magnet for speculation, as fans and movie sites attempt to glean even the most minor details about a property that's largely unknown outside of comic-book circles. With rumors running rampant about everything from casting to villains to cameos, director James Gunn spoke with Hey U Guys at the U.K. premiere of Iron Man 3 in an attempt to set the record straight.

Announcing that filming will begin in late June at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England, Gunn stopped short of confirming Michael Rooker's involvement, saying only that they're good friends and that the Walking Dead alum is, in fac,t in England. "Michael’s been in two of my movies, we’ve done two movies together, two reality shows, a short film, so I don’t think it would be crazy to think he would be involved in Guardians in some way," Gunn said.


The director went on to say that Jason Statham will not voice Rocket Raccoon, as has been rumored, but he's convinced the studio will sign his top pick for the role. "We’ll get our dream guy, because a lot of people want to do it, so we’ll get the person who’s perfect for the role," Gunn said.

He also talked about Rocket Raccoon's look: "The Rocket that was by itself was an early version of my Rocket that I dealt with [concept artist] Charlie [Wen] when developing. He doesn’t look so much like that anymore, but there’s a lot of similarities in that he’s more of a grounded, real little creature as opposed to a cartoonish thing."


"It’s really, really important to me that Rocket Raccoon, who is the heart of the movie, is not a cartoon character," Gunn said after talking about all the research he did with real raccoons to understand the character better. "It’s not Bugs Bunny in the middle of The Avengers. It’s a real, little, somewhat mangled beast that’s alone. There’s no one else in the universe quite like him, he’s been created by these guys to be a mean-ass fighting machine."

When asked whether the film is going to be significantly different from the other Marvel films, Gunn said yes and no. "In terms of a lot of stuff we’re very much like The Avengers, where it’s a very big, huge movie. It’s different because it’s cosmic, it’s in outer space, it’s very colorful. We have a whole history of science fiction behind us that we’re dealing with, and borrowing from, and also fighting with to create something unique. But at the same time there’s a lot of stuff it has in common with The Avengers."


From there Gunn wryly said that Zoe Saldana might be in the film, as has been reported, Chris Pratt's Star-Lord audition reminded him of the quality that Robert Downey Jr. has as Iron Man winning him the role, and that Dave Bautista (whom he would not confirm or deny as playing Drax) is an incredible actor.

Finally, Gunn shot down talk of Downey appearing in Guardians, noting that any references to sharing the screen with him are meant in the sense of the greater universe being created. "That just means that all our movies are connected, we’re created in a way that we’re very connected to the movies that came before us, we’re even more connected to The Avengers 2, that comes after us, and so in that respect, what we would hope is that these characters would continue, and that at some point in time they’ll all meet up with different characters throughout the galaxy."

Guardians of the Galaxy arrives Aug. 1, 2014.

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