Kurt Russell doesn’t need a Marvel movie, but boy a Marvel movie could sure use a dose of Kurt Russell.
When Fandango visited the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 last year, Russell revealed he didn’t know a thing about the Guardians until word leaked that director James Gunn was interested in him playing a pivotal role in one of Marvel’s most anticipated sequels ever.
“I was doing publicity for Hateful Eight,” he said. “And suddenly, people started saying, 'Is it true? Are you going to play Peter Quill’s father?' And I’m like, 'I don’t know what you’re talking about.' I just wasn’t aware of it. And then, all of a sudden, for the first time, this was a character obviously that people really wanted to [see]. And I didn’t know what they were talking about. So when I had the opportunity to see Guardians of the Galaxy, I got it. I understood what it was, and I could see the reasons why people were interested in that.”
What Russell is referring to is the fact that the character he plays in the film, Ego the Living Planet, is in a lot of ways a combination of all the classic bad boys Russell has portrayed before. Guys like Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China, or Snake Plissken in Escape from New York. And while Russell admits the older generation didn’t quite get some of that wry blue-collar heroism on display in the actor’s earlier movies, he’s very aware that over time a younger generation has come to adore them. In many ways, he’s doing the Guardians sequel specifically for that audience.
“As I read it, I connected the dots from some of the things I’ve done in the past,” he said. “And it’s fun to be living now in a time when a younger generation understands what I was doing. You guys get it. The older guys, my age, they didn’t know what the f**k I was doing. I just did it for a lifetime, so to be at this point in my life and be able to not only have a generation that accepts you for what you were doing before anybody else was with other people like you, to be able to take that and grow that, it’s nice because it has a lot to do with my personality and the way I look at life and stuff. And so, it’s a nicer time for me than it was 30 years ago.”
5 More Essential Things to Know About Kurt Russell’s Ego the Living Planet
Well, for one, he’s an actual planet.
No, seriously, he is a living planet. In the comics Ego – who, yes, lives up to that name in many ways – typically takes the form of a giant face in the shape of a planet, but he – or shall we say it – can also take the form of pretty much anything or anyone, hence becoming Kurt Russell in the sequel. (And hey, if you were a planet, you’d probably want to look as cool as Kurt Russell, too.)
As Russell humorously describes his character, “He’s 360 degrees of a human being.”
“He really is a lot like Kurt Russell,” writer-director James Gunn said. “So, he's a very interesting guy, and he's a very thoughtful guy. And I think he's a very gregarious guy. We get to see Kurt Russell in his full glory expressing himself!”
When we first meet Ego, he’s on a quest to find his son.
There’s no surprise here – as previously reported, Kurt Russell will be playing Star-Lord’s (Chris Pratt) father. But what kind of father is Ego, considering the dude can transform himself into an actual planet?
“He’s no letdown,” Russell promised. “He has a great, adventurous spirit that he shares with his son. The whole thing [is] basically being seen through Peter Quill’s eyes, [and] we can all understand how you’d want to meet your dad, if you didn’t know who your dad was, and you’d heard these things about your father and you’d been told certain things by your mother, and you’re trying to put it together."
He may be a planet, but Ego knows a thing or two when it comes to weaponry and throwing down.
“Yeah, he’s a fighter,” Russell said. “He’s probably used just about every weapon you could conceive. He’s an adventurous sort, yeah.”
Marvel’s Kevin Feige added, “Kurt Russell is a mysterious figure, an adventurer from far parts of the galaxy, who has heard the legend that has spread of the Guardians and has come to meet them and check them out for the first time.”
So he’s a fighter and a mysterious figure, but he’s also comprised of the biggest special effect ever.
More on that in our exclusive interview with writer-director James Gunn here.
Chris Pratt wanted Kurt Russell to be his real dad.
Who wouldn’t want Kurt Russell as a dad?
Both Pratt and Russell had so much fun working together that Pratt joked about wanting Russell to be his dad in real life.
“He says funny things,” Russell said with regards to Pratt. “We were rehearsing one time and he said, 'No, I want you as my dad. I want you to be my father.' You know, it’s fun. They’re all very welcoming and very sweet. And the cool thing about it was, when I did read it and saw the movie, I said, 'Yeah, I bring the right notes, the right garbage, the right baggage, all of it. I bring the right things.'"
James Gunn is the real living planet
The one thing everyone – including Russell – can agree on is that writer-director James Gunn is the real reason why Guardians of the Galaxy is so successful. His pure love of the characters and his ability to extract every ounce of awesomeness out of the property is probably why Gunn deserves his own planet of cool.
“The fun part is that you have a director who really knows what he wants in terms of the storytelling and he’s obviously not afraid to play around,” Russell said of Gunn. “He’s a really good writer and really astute audience and director. And he doesn’t shy away from all different kinds of true emotions -- heavy loading it in terms of real emotions. Hopefully, it’ll be as entertaining as it is fun to do.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters on May 5. Tickets are now on sale right here at Fandango.