With Captain America: The Winter Soldier hitting theaters this April and the success of Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy is the first Marvel movie to focus on comparatively obscure — and downright weird — characters. And none of those characters are weirder than Rocket Raccoon, a character that director James Gunn has described as the heart of the movie.
In an interview with British magazine Small Furry Pets, Gunn talked about having a live raccoon, whose name was apparently Oreo, on set while making the movie, and why his brother Sean played an important part of the film’s production. Sean Gunn voiced Rocket on set so the actors could interact with something tangible while acting. Gunn said:
‘We needed a raccoon to study how he looked and his behavior, so that our on-screen raccoon, which is generated through CGI will be realistic,’ he explained. ‘Our Rocket is based on a combination of our voice actor, Bradley Cooper, our on-set actor, my brother Sean Gunn, the movements and behavior and look of Oreo, as well as my own animation… Bradley is one of those actors that can do drama and comedy equally well. He can do character work as well as being a leading man. These are important qualities in the role of Rocket — which is a lot more dramatic than you might think.’
In a separate interview, James Gunn spoke candidly about why Rocket Raccoon is the heart and soul of the cosmic comic book movie. While Rocket is the emotional center for the audience, the expert marksman is also the key for how the entire movie will work. Gunn told Total Film:
‘He is most representative of the Guardians in the fact that he’s this little mangled beast that was taken and experimented on and torn apart and put back together, and we have to feel that character’s soul,’ Gunn says. ‘If we see his plight, and see why he’s such an angry little guy, then the movie will work.’
I’m curious to hear what Bradley Cooper will sound like as Rocket Raccoon. The 39-year-old actor is just coming off an amazing performance in American Hustle, so it’s going to be strange to see (or hear) him in a comic book movie from Marvel Studios. While Cooper didn’t perform motion capture for Rocket, he serves as a visual reference point for the animators when creating the character.
Earlier this week, the Guardians sizzle reel from San Diego Comic-Con leaked to YouTube. Although Disney soon had the bootlegged content pulled down, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll get to watch the real deal. It’s likely that a new trailer will emerge before Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which opens on April 4. It could also pop up during this year’s Super Bowl, just like the first teaser trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Guardians of the Galaxy follows Peter Quill, a half-human/half-alien who is the target of a manhunt after he steals a mysterious orb from Ronan the Accuser, a general in the dreaded Kree Empire. To help him get away from the Kree, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a group of cosmic misfits: Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, Groot, and Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill learns of the orb’s true power, he must rally his new team of rivals to save the galaxy from a mysterious new threat.
The movie stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Benicio del Toro, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Rooker, Olivia Lovibond, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close. Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters everywhere on August 1, in 3D.