When you’re making a major blockbuster motion picture, it takes a lot of work and a lot of people to bring all of the puzzle pieces together and create a real masterpiece. For the ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ franchise, there are few puzzle pieces quite as crucial to the project’s success as actor Sean Gunn.
Most of you may recognize Sean Gunn as the Ravager Kraglin, Yondu’s right-hand man and first mate among his Ravager crew! But what a lot of people don’t know is that on top of playing this key role, Gunn also did double duty as the on-set stand-in for Rocket Raccoon! Gunn’s charm manages to shine through brightly in both roles and brings a certain extra something that the films would certainly be lacking without. We were recently able to sit down with Sean Gunn at Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con and talk to him about the franchise’s success, his time in both the roles he plays, and where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is taking him next! Check out our full exclusive interview below!
Science Fiction: We want to start by congratulating you on starring in not just one, but two major roles in one of this summer’s biggest blockbusters, ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2’! When you signed on for the first ‘Guardians’ movie, did you have any idea if would get this big?
Sean Gunn: You know, I certainly didn’t have any idea that it was going to be the mammoth success that it’s been! But I will say that I had very high hopes for it to be successful! I think maybe more than even a lot of other people did, because it was seen as sort of an unknown quantity, but I knew my brother (Director James Gunn) and I knew how talented he was, I knew how good the script was, and you could sort of tell along the way that Disney and Marvel were liking what we were doing, and I knew they were behind us. It just felt very right in the creative process from my point of view. So I had hopes that it would find an audience that really liked it, but I didn’t know it’d be as large as it was!
SF: Did you read a lot of the comics before going into the movie to prepare?
SG: No, I didn’t read any of the comics at all. I think that most of us didn’t. I mean, there was a little bit of that, but for the most part we were kind of trying to build something new, and it was a reflection of some of the stuff that had been done in the comics already, but we took enough things in a different direction that I think it was sort of better to come in with a clean slate.
SF: You play both the Ravager Kraglin and you’re also on set standing in as Rocket Raccoon! Is it easy for you to differentiate how you approach each role, and how do you go about approaching such different characters in the same film?
SG: I really just prepare for both characters the same way I approach any character, and the difference is the input- that is, the amount of work and preparation I do- is pretty much similar. But the output is very much different! The output for Kraglin really ends up in the movie, whereas with Rocket I’m very much just one piece of the puzzle. There’s a whole team of people that go into creating that character! But in terms of preparing for the role, I prepare for it just like anything else. I would say that with Rocket the degree of difficulty is… in some ways its harder, but in other ways, it’s easier. It’s harder because it’s physically more strenuous and it’s just kind of a trickier role in some ways. But on that same token, if I mess up badly, they can fix it and change it in post! So it makes it not quite as stressful in some ways.
SF: Between your time on set as either character, do you have a preference between the two of them? Who would you say is more fun to play?
SG: Well, Kraglin is probably a little more fun if I look back on it because Rocket can be difficult physically. Even though I’m prepared to do it and I’m ready to do it. And also, obviously Kraglin ends up on screen, so it’s a little bit…I don’t really look at it that way when I’m preparing. I just love them both!
SF: Kraglins role was largely expanded upon from the first to the second ‘Guardians’ film, did James (Gunn) give you a lot of freedom with what they were doing with the character and the direction the film was taking him?
SG: No not really, that was all him! He had a vision for where Kraglin could go in the second movie, and that’s what he wrote, and my job as an actor is to interpret that. I don’t have any input really in the story making process, the script is finished when I come in and start doing my work.
SF: With Kraglin playing such an expanded role in ‘Guardians Vol. 2’, did it make it more challenging to also be doubling for Rocket on set?
SG: Yes it did! Because it was just more days of work, and Kraglin and Rocket actually have several scenes together, so those scenes were very difficult to shoot. We have to shoot around them and I have to shoot each one from both perspectives- not just literally, but also mentally! I have to have my focus very sharp on the days that I’m playing both characters.
SF: And of course, the big question on everyone’s mind right now, after the events of ‘Vol 2.’, do you think fans can expect to see Kraglin as a full blown member of the team for ‘Vol. 3’? Or maybe even in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’?
SG: Oh gosh, I mean… as far as ‘Guardians 3’, I have no idea really! I try to sort of stay out of that part of the process. I’ve been acting long enough that I know that trying to be concerned with where my character goes is pretty futile. It’s not my job, my job is just to interpret. As far as ‘Infinity War’ though, I’ve been playing Rocket for the better part of the year, and as of now, there are no plans for Kraglin to appear.
SF: And finally, we’re sure your lips are sealed tightly on the details of this one, but can you give us a hint of just how crazy ‘Infinity War’ is going to be?
SG: Oh yeah! Pretty F-ing crazy!
Sean Gunn can be seen in Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2’, which is in theaters now and also stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Kurt Russell, Michael Rooker, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel. Be sure to follow Sean Gunn on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!