Disclosure: This post is part of my all expense paid trip to Los Angeles, CA provided by Disney. However, typos, misspelled words and opinions are 100% mine
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 took the world by storm, and it’s no surprise. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 was one of those rare sequels that meets the bar set by the original, and even more impressive, exceeds it. As part of my trip to the D23 Expo, I had the opportunity to participate in a group interview with two amazing actresses – Karen Gillan, who played Nebula and Pom Klementieff, who played Mantis. I was excited because while the core Guardians get most of the love, I found Nebula and Mantis to be incredibly well fleshed out, funny, and unique characters.
Talking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
Shortly after the Infinity War panel where Disney brought pretty much every hero in the film out onto the stage, we met Karen and Pom backstage to talk a little about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, their characters, and the upcoming Infinity War. Both ladies were incredibly warm and friendly, and you could tell that they were eager to talk with us about things. I really enjoy that because it makes the process much more fun and friendly.
D23 Expo Audience Reception
The crowd went crazy when the stars of Infinity War took the stage, so our first question was how these ladies felt about an auditorium full of hard core fans going crazy for their appearance.
“Oh, it was amazing,” Karen said, “It felt electric to have like 7,000 people passionate about something that you’re involved with in some way, and it’s just like totally different sensations to anything I’ve ever experienced. It felt electric.”
The New Mission: Breakout Ride
Karen said she’d love to go on the ride, while Pom had some sage advice for Karen and anyone else who wants to give the ride a try.
“Maybe not eat too much before,” she said, “Because it will be like up and down. Yeah, it’s really crazy.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Fan Feedback
When asked about her take on fan reception of the film, Karen said, “I feel like it’s been received really well by the fans. When we were making it, (it) definitely felt like we were making something special, and everyone was delivering, and it just felt like everything about the first film was so good (and) kind of amplified in the second film. So I feel like we took it to the next level.”
Nebula Becoming a Hero
In the first Guardians, Nebula was the villainous pawn of Thanos, and by extension, Ronin the Accuser, so we had to ask her about how the fans felt about her character’s transition to being a hero rather than a villain.
“Well, no one was really mean to me,” she said. “I think maybe children are less scared of me now, and now they’re willing to take pictures with me, so I’m happy.”
How They Identify with Their Characters
Karen shared that she and almost everyone really could identify with Nebula’s insecurity on one level or another.
“My character is the sister that’s the least favorite,” she said, “She’s not as good at fighting. She’s less attractive. She’s got no hair. She feels inferior, and I think everybody can probably relate to that in some capacity.
Pom said she believes that insecurities are something everyone can relate to, saying, “The moments that move me the most are when she (Mantis) doesn’t believe in herself, and she just needs someone to believe in her.”
Karen and Pom on Avengers: Infinity War
Now that Karen and Pom have been in both Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and are currently in the midst of filming Avengers: Infinity war, we had to ask them about their roles in the upcoming mega film. Of course, at this stage, they’re not at liberty to part with very much information at all, they did share a bit of their on-set experience with the other Avengers actors saying that “they’re all really cool, professional, but also goofy and it was really fun”. They added that the cast is great to work with.
The Avengers cast is known for being made up of people who love to have fun with each other, so one of the other bloggers asked if anyone had played any pranks on them while on-set. Nothing noteworthy has happened yet, but it did lead to a story from the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 set that Karen reminded Pom of.
“Oh, yes,” Pom said, “It’s true. I was with James Gunn and Dave Bautista, and we were rehearsing a pretty emotional scene. You remember in the movie when I touch him, and I see what he went through in his life? And at some point, we saw Michael Rooker, and he was showing his butt by the window. I’m like, ‘okay?'”.
I have to believe that at some point, cast shenanigans will ensue.
Karen and Pom on the Evolution of Mantis
When asked about Mantis’ evolution as a character throughout Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and into Avengers: Infinity War, Pom couldn’t think of anything immediately, however, Karen had some thoughts.
“I feel like your character has to face a lot of her fears,” she said, referencing Avengers: Infinity War, “like what we were doing the other day because you seemed like you were nervous to do things in the film.”
Pom agreed. “Yeah, it’s true. Like my character in real life, I was upset. I was like, ‘I don’t think I can do it’, but it worked out well.”
Karen on Her Biggest Challenge for the Films
“The biggest challenge for me is probably the makeup process,” she said, “just because it’s really intense. I mean, it takes about 4 hours in the morning to get ready. But it’s so cool the way I turn out. It’s so worth it, but it’s a challenge to get up at that time and go through that on a daily basis.”
Karen on Inspiring Change and Empowering Women and Girls Who Look up to Superheroes
Girl power has made huge leaps forward over the past couple of years, and part of that has been more strong female roles in the Marvel films. When asked about her thoughts on inspiring women and girls, Karen said, “I feel like it’s about time. I mean, we’ve been craving this for a long time, and with everyone in the Marvel universe – and also Wonder Woman – it feels like there’s a real movement.”
An Impromptu Gift
What a great time listening to Karen and Pom talk about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and Avengers: Infinity War! Nebula and Mantis are two favorite Marvel characters to date, (Mamacita Power!) and being able to chat with the women behind the rolls was a wonderful surprise. It was just one of the incredible experiences that made the D23 Expo one of those trips that will stick with me forever.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 on Blu-Ray and Digital August 22, 2017!!