Back when Marvel was in the casting and pre-production stages for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper’s names were bandied about for the CGI characters of Rocket Raccoon and Groot. Given what we know about each actor, I automatically assumed that Diesel would go out for the gun-toting raccoon, while Cooper seemed a natural fit for the bizarre tree character.
It just goes to show you that Guardians, as directed by James Gunn, will be the superhero movie that keeps turning conventions on their heads.
Cooper was cast as Rocket Raccoon, and is still in the process of recording the voice of the unusual character, according to an interview with Collider that ran over the weekend. He admits that he wasn’t familiar with the comic at all, but he loved Gunn and was excited to collaborate with the director of Super. As for figuring out the approach to Rocket’s vocal tone, Cooper explained:
The one thing we debated was, you know, he’s seen as a cockney accent sometimes. We talked about whether we would do that, or do this sort of other guy from the city. We’re in the middle of [recording]."
Cooper went on the praise the work of his co-star, Chris Pratt, who plays Star-Lord in the movie and, I believe, becomes the leader of the misfit Guardians team. "Chris Pratt just blew me away," Cooper said. "I thought he’s just like the perfect guy."
But will Guardians be the perfect film? It’s based on a title the casual comic book audience isn’t familiar with (much like Cooper, and other members of the cast). The franchise lacks a household name, a Captain America or an Iron Man. And while there are bona-fide celebrities in the cast – from Cooper and Pratt to Zoe Saldana and Diesel – the series lacks a Robert Downey Jr., a mega-star on which it can rest its fate. Guardians will have to win people over with its effort, with its charm.
Now, all of this seems likely, if Gunn can nail the tone that was present in that amazing Hall H footage from Comic-Con last July. It was sarcastic, chippy, adventurous and fun. It was Star Wars mixed with Raiders of the Lost Ark, with a raccoon who fires two machine guns at a time. It has such potential. We’ll know soon enough if Gunn and his team are able to realize what Guardians has in front of them.
Guardians continues Marvel’s Phase Two work, leading up to Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Guardians of the Galaxy will be in theaters on Aug. 1, 2014. I wonder if a Super Bowl ad is in our future?