It’s an all-superheroic installment as we hear from a pair of good guys from outer space – namely Star-Lord Chris Pratt and Superman Henry Cavill – plus the man who made TV’s Arrow hit the bull's-eye sounds off on whether small-screen super guys could become a big-screen Justice Leaguers.
Chris Pratt: From Comic to Cosmic
When it came to figuring out where to be a dramatic action hero and where to be his more familiar quirky funnyman self for Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt put his faith in director James Gunn’s vision for the offbeat space-faring superheroes. “I was really in James' hands,” admits Pratt, who plays the Guardians’ nominal leader Star-Lord, aka the half-human, half-alien Peter Quill. “I've never done anything like it. I learned early on to trust him.
image c/o: Grizzly Bomb
Unlike other Marvel stalwarts like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, Star-Lord was a relatively obscure character in the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe after his debut in 1976, despite creative attention from comic book greats like Steve Englehart, Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin. It wasn’t until about a decade ago when the character was folded into a modern-day incarnation of the equally fringe-dwelling heroes the Guardians in a well-received revival that he became a more significant player in Marvel’s intergalactic intrigues.
“Just the fact that he was part of the Marvel brand was really exciting,” says Pratt, who reveals he was in, hero unseen. “I was signed up to do the movie before I was even allowed to read a script, so it wasn't like something about this particular character that got me to do it. The fact that it was a Marvel movie is what got me to do it.”
“Granted, once I did read it there were so many things about the character that I love, and one thing is that he's very much a kid at heart,” adds the Parks and Recreation actor. “He's like a man-child. And I like the idea that he's got a false sense of bravado. Deep down inside he's lonely and desperate. But on the outside he walks around like he's big and tough, and I don't think he does a great job of convincing everybody that he's not just a scared little child.”
Pratt claims that in his current film Delivery Man he was pushing the scales at close to 300 lbs. playing super-sperm donor Vince Vaughn’s bestie, a beaten-down dad/small-time lawyer looking to protect his pal’s interest when the hundreds of children he sired seek out their father’s identity. Now that he’s gradually getting back to more normal proportions, “I think I'm handling it better than my body,” he jokes, noting that prior to Delivery Man he transformed into a Navy SEAL physique for Zero Dark Thirty.
A Ready-for-Primetime Justice League?
Over in the DC Universe, we put a question to writer-producer Greg Berlanti (CW's Arrow, the in-development Flash series, the Green Lantern film): is there any buzz at Warner Bros. about folding the burgeoning DC-based TV franchises into the feature films spinning out of Man of Steel, including Batman vs. Superman and Justice League? Arrow actor Stephen Amell has made no secret of his hopes to join Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck on the big screen.
image c/o: The CW
“We haven't had any of those conversations other than to say, what characters are we allowed to use this year and advocate or request certain ones that are of interest to us,” says Berlanti. “And every now and then, they'll say, 'You can't have that guy.' They don't say why, and we figure out why later on.”
Whether the TV-sized Green Arrow and Flash are bumped up to movie star status or the characters are reinterpreted for future films, Berlanti says he’s just happy to be part of his heroes’ Hollywood moment. “Getting to participate in any way in the story – considering how much they meant to me as a kid – is really, I just feel lucky about that all the time,” he says. “And it evolves the way it's supposed to…When it comes out naturally, that's when it's best. And that's been the fate of Arrow, and I guess that's the path we'll follow.”
Henry Cavill: Life Beyond Superman
That got me thinking of the last time I chatted up Henry Cavill, shortly after he became a sensation as Superman in Man of Steel – which bowed on Blu-ray this week – and right before the announcement of Batman vs. Superman. Cavill was reflective on becoming a part of the 75-year-old superhero’s cinematic legacy.
“I'm just glad that we've given everyone a movie that the fans can really enjoy, and it matters to people and brings that story to a new generation as well.” Cavill told me. “It's not about me going, 'Yeah – I nailed it.' It's about bringing the story to the next generation.”
Cavill says he's keen on exploring other roles – including, as it turned out, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’s Napoleon Solo – before donning the cape again. “Versatility's important to me because I want to be a good storyteller,” he explained, “and if I keep telling the same story, the same character over and over again, I'm not going to be efficient at that. So yes, it's important for me to play something different next.”