After the release of Iron Man 3, Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in full swing. One of the next films in the series promises to be the strangest offering yet from the studio. Guardians of the Galaxy will have a lot to prove when it gets released in 2014. If the cosmic team-up performs well at the box office, then it proves Marvel can sell any of their properties and characters to the general public, regardless of bizarreness, and one way they hope to make this happen is thorugh strong casting.
Since Chris Pratt was cast in the lead role of Star-Lord, almost every name added to the film’s cast has been as strange as the mismatched team of peacekeepers themselves. I mean, do Benicio del Toro, Lee Pace, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close immediately come to mind when you think of a comic book movie, set in outer space, featuring a walking tree and a talking raccoon?
At the 18th Nantucket Film Festival, the Tony Award winning actress talked about why she took the role to play Nova Prime of the Nova Corps in Guardians of the Galaxy. Here’s a hint: it was about the paycheck attached to the contract. Close explained:
I just did two independent films this summer and I had an absolute ball with fantastic actors, but in August, I’m gonna go off and do the next generation of Marvel Comics/Disney and I get to be the chief police of the galaxy… I’m doing that because it will then afford me to go do the other kind of movies that I really love, and hopefully I will have a great time [on Guardians of the Galaxy]. It’ll be a new experience for me, but practically speaking it will mean that I can do those smaller movies and it’ll be okay.
I don’t think anyone will begrudge Close for taking an acting job for the money rather than art. After all, she is a professional actor. That said, taking a big payday, so you can afford to do smaller projects is probably the best way to work in the current Hollywood system. Sadly, it seems like Hollywood movie studios are only interested in making tent pole blockbusters, rather than smaller dramatic art films these days. So it seems it’s up to actors, directors, and writers to take bigger paychecks to fund small projects.
As much as he has love for the character, Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Othello) only took the job directing Thor for Marvel because it involved a healthy paycheck. It’s why Emmy Award-winning writer Danny Strong (Game Change, Lee Daniel’s The Butler) agreed to write the screenplays for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all.
In addition to Close and Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy stars Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax The Destroyer, del Toro as The Collector, Pace as Ronan The Accuser, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Michael Rooker as Yondu, and John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey, and hits theaters everywhere August 1, 2014. British actress Olivia Lovibond was cast in a still unspecified role, and there’s still no word on who will voice Rocket Raccoon or Groot.