What is it about father-and-son relationships that drive our science-fiction blockbusters? Ever since Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) found out the hard way that he has a despicable dad, we have been interested in the familial ties that bind our big-screen heroes, and Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) is no different. A key subplot of the first Guardians of the Galaxy revolved around the identity of Quill's off-screen father, and in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we'll finally meet the man, personified by Kurt Russell. But as Russell tells us, during a recent trip to the Atlanta set of James Gunn's sequel, he had no clue what a Guardian of the Galaxy even was until geeky movie journalists like myself kept telling him he needed to play Pratt's on-screen dad. Russell recalled:
Chris Pratt has remade himself in the mold of Kurt Russell, circa Tango & Cash or Big Trouble in Little China. In movies like the first Guardians of the Galaxy and, after, Jurassic World, the one-time comic relief on NBC's Parks and Rec transformed himself into a charismatic but still believable action-movie leading man -- rough around the edges in the right amounts, and capable of making the audience chuckle as he gets the girl and saves the day. That used to be Kurt Russell's bag. You can understand why James Gunn would want to cast Russell as Ego the Living Planet, extraterrestrial father to a half-human Peter Quill.
Chris Pratt certainly gets the connection. On the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 set, he told us:
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters on May 5, and the cast has been pumping it up pretty hard. I think they know they have something impressive on their hands. To read more from my trip to the set, click here. But I'd also advise you to head on over to the next page. I'm going to include a long story from Kurt Russell, about the time he and Goldie Hawn sat down to watch the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, before Kurt agreed to star in the sequel. It's such a perfect Kurt Russell story, and you can read it in his voice, so it's almost like being next to him, listening to him tell it. Really, it's so great, and I think you'll like it.
So, spending time with Kurt Russell is unlike anything else. For people my age, we grew up on this icon of genre cinema, from Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York to The Thing. Kurt Russell's a silver screen god. But he's also a BORN storyteller, and listening to him talk about screening the first Guardians was such a treat. Here's his full blockquote. It's long, but it's worth it.
This answer came from us asking if he realized that Chris Pratt modeled his Star-Lord after Russell's own Big Trouble anti-hero, Jack Burton. Russell smiled as he began:
It is really fun, Kurt Russell. And it's going to be even MORE sun having you in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is in theaters on May 5. And for more information on all Upcoming Marvel Movies, click those words.
Disney and Marvel also shared with us the official character poster for Ego, so click on over to the last page to see Kurt Russell in all of his Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 glory!
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.