Joining the cast for the second Guardians Movie, Kurt Russell plays Ego, the Living Planet, who introduces himself near the start of the movie as Peter Quill’s father. We got to talk to the cult movie star about how he got into the Guardians, how you prepare to play a planet, and what song he’d most like to hear in a Guardians movie.
So, what was your relationship with the original Guardians movie when you joined this one?
I was doing publicity for Hateful Eight, and suddenly one day my phone started going off a little bit, people around me were buzzing and asking “Hey, are you going to do this? Are you going to play Peter Quill’s father?” and I just didn’t know what they were talking about. I didn’t have any relationship with it at that point. I just told them “Hey, I don’t know anything about this.” I hadn’t been approached. Then the next day I was, and I said okay, I need to see the movie and read the script, like with anything. So I got a tape and watched it, and that was my first taste of the movie.
And what did you think of it?
I understood within 10 minutes why they were looking at me as Quill’s dad, it went back to a lot of movies I’d done. It was a good idea, it made sense. Very rarely do I bring the right baggage as an actor, but for this one I did. I was immediately filled with the feeling of “Okay, I wanna do this…” but also “I don’t wanna be responsible for anything that’s not great.” I want to be a part of something that’s as good or better than the first, so let’s make sure we do that.
And since your character is a planet who’s as old as the universe, I wonder… how do you even start to prepare for that?
Yeah. “Well, you’re gonna play a god…” [Laughs] The truth is, when you see that you immediately realise there’s no parameters. You can do anything you want. And that made me think of concentrating the focus and bringing it back to what’s relatable, and in this case that was the relationship between father and son. That’s what James [Gunn] focused on, and that gave me a cornerstone to hitch my performance onto.
You interact with most of the cast in some way, so who was your favourite to work with?
I worked mostly with Chris, and what’s amazing about the Guardians is that they’re all cast perfectly. You can’t dislike any of them, Groot is maybe the cutest thing since E.T. But Chris, Star Lord, he’s the guy we relate to. He’s half-human. He gives us that aspect, and I think Chris plays him very sympathetically.
The soundtrack’s a big deal for both of the Guardians movies, so were there any songs you’d have put on if you had your say?
As I told James [Gunn], if you think the 70s and 80s make for good soundtracks, take a look at the 60s! There’s a couple of groups in there that weren’t bad. Although if I was to throw one in there from the right time period… I can envision Star Lord coming down the stairs to Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top. Yeah. I think that’d work.
Kurt Russell, thank you very much!
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is in UK cinemas from Friday.