The last piece of casting that Guardians of the Galaxy had to take care of was to find the perfect voice for Rocket Raccoon. According to the comic book movie’s director James Gunn, Rocket is going to be the emotional center of the new film. So when the Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper was cast in the role of the intelligent, anthropomorphic ring-tailed bandid, it came as quite a shock to hardcore fans that can’t picture him in the role.
In an interview with Collider promoting American Hustle, Cooper opened up about the struggle to find Rocket’s voice. The 38-year-old actor never read the book before he was cast, but he was a big fan of Gunn, and fell in love with the character once he finally read Guardians of the Galaxy. Cooper explained:
I liked James [Gunn] a lot and it really was about him, and talking to him about the guy (Rocket Raccoon)… I wasn’t familiar with the comic at all, and then I really loved it. I love that character, he’s an incredible character. One thing we debated was he’s seen as a cockney accent sometimes. So, we talked about whether we’d do that, or this other guy [accent] from the city.
Although he didn’t say which accent they decided on, Cooper did confirm that the alien Raccoon will, indeed, sound much different than the Bradley Cooper we all know. Hopefully, Gunn and Cooper get the character right, as fans of the comic book longed for British actor Jason Statham to lend his voice. Last month, Gunn confirmed that Rocket Raccoon (as well as the tree-like alien Groot voiced by Vin Diesel) will use some image capturing to grab facial expressions and hand movements from the actors. Their performances will be recorded as a reference so the animators building the characters, but it doesn’t sound like either one will utilize full motion capture as most people expected.
Cooper also talked gushed about his co stars Zoe Saldana and Chris Pratt. He said, “Chris Pratt is unbelievable! And Zoe Saldana’s great! She’s always great. Chris Pratt just blew me away, I thought he’s like the perfect guy.” Since Pratt was cast as the Guardian’s leader Star-Lord, Gunn has repeatedly said that he will be an instant star once people see the cosmic movie.
The story follows “a U.S. pilot who ends up in space in the middle of a universal conflict and goes on the run with futuristic ex-cons who have something everyone wants.” Marvel’s riskiest movie also stars Dave Bautista, Benicio del Toro, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Rooker, Olivia Lovibond, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close.
Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters everywhere on August 1, 2014.