After a few months of speculation, we now officially know what Vin Diesel's role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be. The Fast & Furious 6 star has confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that he will indeed voicing the tree-like alien Groot in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy.
Diesel first announced that he was taking meetings at Marvel Studios back in late June, but has kept his potential role a secret. He has hinted at possible characters - such as Vision - but the biggest clue came this past weekend when he posted an image of the cosmic hero comic book character on his Facebook page. The LA Times caught up with him today at a Hollywood Foreign Press Association luncheon and the actor confirmed the role.
One thing that may confuse fans about this particular casting assignment for Diesel is that even for a voice-over role the part of Groot isn't very challenging. As you might expect from a walking tree, the only thing the character knows how to say is "I am Groot." But apparently it is all part of the actor's plan to always keep everyone guessing. "As an actor, not everything has to be the most obvious choice," Diesel told the newspaper. "And sometimes, the best thing you can do — as far as Steven Spielberg and his advice — is to defy expectations. So if everybody thinks you’re going to go for this one thing and you flip it entirely and go for the strangest Marvel character, it’s interesting. And when something is interesting, it’s inspiring."
What also helped negotiations along, however, is that the part was just small enough to fit into Diesel's incredibly busy schedule. In the next few months he will be doing the press tour for Riddick, and production on Fast & Furious 7. Taking on a smaller role, the star says, allows him to just give the audience what they want. Said Diesel,
"That’s the thing — I’m so busy. The audience wanted Vin and Marvel, Vin and Marvel. But I’m too busy to do a six-month role. So what Marvel came up with was really interesting. … I am watching a social wave influence and in some ways guide their thinking."
This casting news puts Diesel in the core group of the Guardians of the Galaxy, which also includes Chris Pratt (as Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (as Gamora) and Dave Bautista (as Drax The Destroyer). Also in the cast are Lee Pace (as Ronan the Accuser), Michael Rooker (as Yondu), Karen Gillan (as Nebula), Djimon Hounsou (as Korath), Benicio del Toro (as The Collector), John C. Reilly (as Rhomann Dey), and Glenn Close (as Nova Prime). The only key character that doesn't have an actor signed on just yet is the gun-loving Rocket Raccoon, but hopefully we will be getting news about that part some time in the coming months.