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Although Bradley Cooper rightfully receives credit for bringing Rocket Raccoon's voice to life in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, the responsibility of depicting the character's physicality falls squarely on the shoulders of director James Gunn's brother, Sean. Motion capture work is notorious for presenting actors with its unique set of challenges, and it seems that the act of portraying Rocket is incredibly strenuous for Mr. Gunn. The actor explained:
It can be very demanding physically, yes. But the places I feel it the most are my ankles, feet, and ribcage. I need to stay in good shape or I am huuuuurting at the end of the day.
Sean Gunn recently took to Reddit for an AMA session about his career as an actor, and his comments about portraying Rocket give us a new appreciation for the character. As it turns out, playing the diminutive raccoon is no easy feat for a fully grown man, and the part is consistently physically grueling for him. This revelation certainly makes quite a bit of sense. Although he does not have to get into fitness model shape for any shirtless scenes -- that honor falls to Chris Pratt -- he must remain in peak physical condition to adequately capture the agility and quickness of Rocket. After all, that's one of the most important traits that he brings to the team.
In addition to his responsibilities as Rocket, Sean Gunn has also been tasked with portraying a Ravager in both Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Check out shot of him as Kraglin alongside Michael Rooker's Yondu below.
Of course, in response to Sean Gunn's answer, one specific Redditor pointed out something that we're all likely thinking right now: why not make Bradley Cooper do the motion capture work for Rocket and save Gunn the hassle? We don't have a definitive answer for that, but something tells us that an Oscar nominee like Cooper has the necessary Hollywood clout to avoid getting into that uncomfortable suit. It's just one of the many perks of being an A-lister.
That said, things seem to have improved for him between the first Guardians of the Galaxy film and the sequel (as well as Infinity War), as he has "upgraded" from a tight-fitting mo-cap suit to a much more comfortable gray tracksuit. Gunn said:
On GotG2 and on Avengers I've been upgraded to a grey track suit. It's way more comfy and stylish.
As visual effects technology continues to improve and advance in unexpected ways, moviegoers have started to gravitate towards motion capture acting as a legitimate artform. Although actors like Sean Gunn and Andy Serkis do not necessarily get much recognition for their work portraying mostly digital characters, many audiences have started to argue that motion capture acting should receive more acknowledgment from major awards shows like the Oscars. That's a glass ceiling that has yet to break, but if it does, I wouldn't be surprised if more people start heaping increased praise upon Sean Gunn for his portrayal of this badass Guardian of the Galaxy. He certainly deserves it.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will blast its way into theaters later this year on May 5. In the meantime, check out our 2017 movie premiere guide for more information concerning the rest of this year's major film debuts!