Guardians Rule Dragon Con

Photo by Jesse Garrett
Photo by Jesse Garrett

The galaxy appreciates its guardians, as evidenced by the packed Atrium Ballroom at 2:30 PM on Saturday in the Marriott. The crowd’s enthusiastic applause as the first panelist, Michael Rosenbaum, entered the stage erupted into shouts of laughter when Michael Rooker tromped out and began to wrestle with Rosenbaum. Sean Gunn entered the fray, and Karen Gillian took a few well-aimed swings of her own. Grinning, the four panelists took their seats, and the joking began in earnest.

What makes Atlanta such a good place to film and hang out? Why do you like it? “Rooker is just learning that we filmed it in Atlanta, Gunn quipped.”

“We love Atlanta,” Rooker replied. “Atlanta’s a good place. That’s where we’re at, right? I like Atlanta. Roll Tide!” (Rooker is from Alabama.)

The crowd wavered between hoots, groans, and laughter.

Although Rosenbaum was new to the set in the second film, he said they were all friends who had been “hanging out for years and years.” When James called him up for “a small part” in Guardians, he said. “I’m in.” He didn’t need any convincing, didn’t need to read the script, didn’t need to hear that he’d be working with Stallone. He was in! For him it was a dream come true, even though he had to wear dots on his head every day because he was doing motion capture. At one point, Sylvester Stallone asked him (insert amazingly perfect imitation of Stallone): “Who’re you supposed to be, Pippi Longstocking…with the dots on your face?”

As Nebula, Gillian found it interesting to add dimension to the character and finally show why she was a supervillain. She doesn’t think Nebula will ever be a softie, though. “She’ll always be pretty angry,” Gillian said.

Rooker fell asleep during his own funeral scene, clearly an emotional moment for him. Rosenbaum accused Rooker of getting teary, though, when they screened his death scene. “I didn’t see [actual] tears coming out…”

“I think it’s more important to almost cry,” Rooker said. “Anybody can cry. I can make you cry right now.”

And so the banter continued, shooting back and forth as fast as Rocket. The panelists chose their hypothetical favorite role to play. Gillian would love to play Jack Nicholson’s role in The Shining, with Gunn as Shelly Duval’s character. Rosenbaum promptly said (in Jack Nicholson’s voice): “Wendy, darling, light of my life, I’m not gonna hurt ya.”

“Oh, that’s so good,” Gillian said. Laughing, she did her best to repeat it, with Rosenbaum coaching her surprisingly good effort.

Rosenbaum would choose the role of Rocky (he certainly has the voice right). Gunn would do Jim Stewart’s Rear Window, while Rooker whistled the theme to The Andy Griffith Show. He’d like to play Opie.

After being asked about makeup for the movie, Rooker divulged that their make-up team was present in the audience. The crowd gave them a hearty round of applause for their excellent work. Although Rosenbaum only had a few dots on his head, the others spent a lot more time with make-up. Gunn had the scar, which wasn’t too time-consuming. Rooker’s blue paint for his portrayal of Yondu, however, took about two-and-a-half hours to put on and about an hour-and-a-half to take off. Gillian was surprised. Her Nebula makeup only took 20 minutes to take off. “20 minutes?” Rooker asked. “Yeah,” Gillian said, “because we just take my face off.” Most of it was prosthetic, while Rooker had to put up with about six layers of paint, including some that consisted of silver and gold flecks.

What would they like to do in the future? Gillian would love to direct. Rooker hopes to continue what he does and get a few more great roles. And he never wants to direct. Ever. Rosenbaum shot back, “I would not want to be directed by you.” Just imagine:

Rosenbaum: “What do you want me to do?”

Rosenbaum (mimicking Rooker’s gruff voice): “Whatever.”

Rooker: “That’s exactly what I’d do! Do it the way you want to do it! Get the @*#! out there and do it!”

Joking aside, the four panelists are thrilled to be a part of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Gunn had nothing but praise for his brother’s terrific writing and directing (yes, James Gunn and Sean Gunn are brothers). “I’m never surprised at anything my brother does because he’s really good and has been really good for a long time.”

After a discussion of the Great Conspiracy of the Blue Moon, wherein (according to Rooker) James Gunn and Rooker conspired to paint Rooker’s derriere blue so he could moon some of his fellow actors (with added reference to possible tattoos thereon), the panel concluded that great writing and great characters have made the Guardians of the Galaxy movies such huge successes.

Please, may we have some more?


Author of the article

Debbie Yutko lives near Atlanta with her husband and two cats. When she isn’t gardening, rescuing homeless kittens, or cramming math formulas into teenagers’ brains, she can be found stringing words together at her computer and dreaming of adventures in far-off lands. She is a lifelong reader of Science Fiction and Fantasy and a veteran of Dragon Con, where she enjoys attending panels and working with the talented staff of the Daily Dragon.