Everybody is talking about the latest blockbuster from Marvel Studios, the Guardians of the Galaxy. The only thing they are talking about more is Rocket Raccoon, the gun-toting hairball with an anger problem. Voiced over by Bradley Cooper, Rocket is shaping up to be the most anticipated character space has ever seen.
Director James Gunn says,
Rocket is not the happiest guy in the world. He’s a sad, malformed creature who has been taken apart and put back together again. He has experienced a lot of pain in his life and is grounded as a result and, because of that, is probably the heart of the movie in many ways, much like Groot, Rocket’s only real friend, who can only communicate with three words, yet his story breaks your heart.”
About Rocket Raccoon’s Character
Rocket is a mercenary, and a pissed off one at that. Genetically altered and enhanced he’s been traumatized by the hands of science. Now he’s callous and enraged. He’s grown into a bad ass weapons master with combat tactics and he’s ready to fight. As if a raccoon wasn’t sketchy enough, this guy has a vendetta and a gun, a huge gun. Oddly enough he’s got a best friend. Groot is his faithful sidekick and walking tree humanoid played by Vin Diesel.
About Bradley Cooper as Rocket
This is a first ever voice over experience for Bradley. Cooper says,
The whole process is so new to me. It’s like an education every time and it’s interesting.”
According to a press release from Marvel Studios, Bradley Cooper put a lot of work into being Rocket which involved a lot of development with Director James Gunn. He worked through the character connection with images and reading. Cooper says, “It was really just trial by error and just finding him based on what they had already shot.”
Bradley Cooper on Rocket’s BFF Groot
Cooper explains the relationship between Rocket and Groot, “It’s a very old school male friendship where no one’s feelings are talked about. Rocket is protective of Groot but at the same time you feel like maybe it’s a means to an end because Groot is his protection too. Rocket is a raccoon; he doesn’t have the ability to do things that this huge tree can.”
Bringing Rocket and Groot to Life
According to filmmakers, creating Rocket was no simple task. Charles Wen, head of visual development at Marvel delves into the challenges of creating an emotionally conflicted Rocket:
James Gunn was keen on wanting Rocket to emote, while simultaneously retaining his distinct characteristics and not turning into a caricature. We needed to find a blend of anthropomorphic characteristics as well as typical raccoon quirks to bring Rocket to life and give him his due. The challenge was, the more expressive Rocket became, the ‘cartoonier’ it seemed to make him. Ultimately, the elements that made him look genuinely tough and serious were born from performance—his gestures, the way he carried himself, his voice and stance, and the ease with which he used a gun twice the size of himself.”
During production for reference purposes and for the need to have something material for the actors to work with when becoming these near completely animated characters, both Rocket and Groot were played by fill ins. Rocket was played by James Gunn’s brother Sean Gunn and Groot by Polish actor and puppeteer Krystian Godlewski. James explains that the movement of both characters were formed from not only his direction but from Bradley, Vin, Sean and Krystian and that ultimately they are both the result of many people.
A Quick Bit of Nerd Lust for James Gunn
Director / Writer of Guardians of the Galaxy, James has come a long way from one of my favorite cult gore flicks, “Tromeo & Juliet”. Every gore whore, horror movie nerd knows who Troma Entertainment is, the gnarly indie film company founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz that made cult classics like, Bloodsucking Freaks, The Toxic Avenger, and SGT Kabukiman. Gunn left Troma in 2000 and since then has left a trail of movies, video games and a reality show leading up to Guardians of the Galaxy.
In theaters August 1, 2014 #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy