I got the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Blu-ray this week and immediately fire it up with the directors commentary turned on. That is one of the reasons why I buy movies, I like to listen as the cast and/or crew talk about the making of the film. The behind the scenes stuff fascinated me and director James Gunn is a great one at these commentaries. I’ve listened to some and it’s nothing but self-congratulatory non-sense while others drill so far down into the minutia of film-making that you feel like you were on the set.
Gunn is unique in that he seems to genuinely like the actors he works with and uses them over and over again. He refers to a lot of them as his friends and you get the feeling that really is the case. He seems to have a lot of personal moments with guys like Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista and he shares those which makes you feel like part of something special. He is a creative soul that looks at film making differently than some. The importance of music to him is greater than I’ve come across in other directors. He works on the soundtrack very early on and has it playing on set to help create the mood for the scene. Some directors don’t even think about the music until post-production.
There are certain actors that Gunn says he won’t make a movie without and the top name on that list is Michael Rooker. Where Rooker’s role as Yondu was important in the first film, it became huge in the second and was by far the breakout character of the film. Gunn was fascinated by the fan reaction to Yondu, how he only got minor grief for moving away from the Native American fell of the character in the comics and even ditching the bow… but fans were very upset that Yondu didn’t have the big red fin. That’s why Yondu gets his tiny fin destroyed and replaced in the film… to make fans happy. He also says his favorite moment in the film and the one that still makes him laugh was the face distorting trip to Ego.
Gunn also talks about the decision to write the fate of Yondu. He tried to work around it, having the character saved, but it just felt wrong. And as much as he never wants to do a movie without Rooker, he knew he had to kill off Yondu. I’m guessing there will be a flashback to Yondu in the third film.
The commentary track is a lot of fun and Gunn shares insight into his working with Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell as well as shares his thoughts on the Stan Lee cameo and how it might not mean what we thought it meant. If you’ve picked up the move on Blu-ray or DVD, the commentary track is well worth the time to listen to.