Karen Gillan Talks Her Expanding Role in Guardians
When we stared our interview with Karen Gillan I didn’t even recognize her when she walked in the room. She was in her full Nebula make up and it looked amazing. I’ve been a fan of hers since her time on Dr. Who, so I was really excited about sitting down to talk to her.
We jumped right in asking her about how her relationship with Gamora changes in this film compared to the first movie.
I think we’re just going to really delve much further into it and w’ere really going to learn about their back story as well, which is really exciting for me as an actress to kind of explore. We’re going to learn that they have very severe daddy issues. When Thanos is your father like of course you’re going to have those. And they’re going to sort of really talk to each other. Usually they communicate quite physically. Like it’s sort of you know, sisters pull each other’s hair, they sort of try to kill each other. But they’re sort of going to talk and that’s really interesting I think.
We asked her for her thoughts on being back on the set and with the cast again for the sequel.
It’s so nice to be back. I feel like its such a usual line to say like we’re like one big happy family. But we genuinely are. Yeah, it’s great. Everyone’s really nice and it’s just so much fun to be on this set and they play music and it just really sort of joyous experience.
Since Gillan was in full costume, we asked her to share about how comfortable it feels when she wears it on set and during filming.
I mean elements are comfortable. [LAUGHING] I’m thinking– not like what I would choose to wear lounging around the house. I mean there are parts that are not very comfortable but it looks so cool so it’s worth it. She has a bit of a different look going on in this film so she gets a costume change which is very exciting. I do love the purple though, the original.
Her costume looked so detailed and with the change in her character’s look for this movie we wanted to know how long does it take to put on her make up and all her costume elements.
Okay, so I have been able to keep half of my hair for this film, which is very exciting. So that added an hour of just wrapping all the hair up in a bald cap. And then it takes about 2 1/2 hours to put the makeup on, which is actually quicker than the last film. The last film was maybe around five hours for the full process. So it’s significantly less time. I don’t know how that happened. And then to get into this is about 20 minutes. So I mean it’s quite a long process but it’s just so worth it. Sort of does half of the job for you as an actor because of the look.
Gillan’s role can be very physical at times in the film, so naturally we asked about her training routine.
Well, I work out with the Marvel stunt team and that is so ridiculous. Oh my God, like I come out and I like to take a nap. It is like with all the stunt guys and they’re like jacked. I do that as much as I can. And then whanever there’s like a fight sequence or something they have me do it, and then also the stunt girl, Kelly, Nebula’s stunt double, does it too and she makes me look good because I look like spaghetti.
There’s a few things going on with Gillan’s character in this film, so we wanted to know her thoughs when she read the script.
I e-mailed James the director and just wrote – oh my God, I can’t believe I get to do all this stuff. Because when I went on to the first film it was originally an eight day shoot. And I felt that was the end of my character as well. So when I found out I was coming back for the next film, I was like what? And it was really cool because in the first film they just kept on rewriting my ending. And I was just like okay, which one is going to be used? I don’t really know because we shot a few of them. And when I found out I was coming back for the next one it was just amazing. And he’s given her all this back story and we understand why she is so bad and she has motivations and it’s just sort of really fleshed out which makes me really happy.
We asked if we should expect a soft side to Nebula in this movie, Gillian was quick to share that we will see a different side of her, but she’s not sure it actually makes her soft.
Maybe, yes, maybe. I think so. I think we’re going to understand her more. We’re going to have a bit of empathy towards her. As to whether that makes her soft I don’t know because she’s you know, she’s still classic pissed off Nebula. But we’re just going to understand why she does the things she does and understand her relationship with Gamora in much more detail and maybe understand that Gamora wasn’t as nice as she makes out towards Nebula in their childhood.
Sitting down with Gillan, she’s nothing like her character Nebula. We asked what she does to get into character.
Obviously don’t makeup does half of it for me. Like it just feels really natural to just look into this really mean thing. But James the director, his favorite thing is when I’m acting and then like I break character for some reason and its just like what the hell? Like something outside but it’s cool though because I’m getting to play something that’s just completely removed from myself and getting to explore different sides of that. When you’re acting is quite nice. And I get good at an American accent, which is fun.
Next we discussed what drew Gillan to the role initally.
Its interesting when you sort of audition for a Marvel film you don’t really know that much about it. All I knew is that it was a female villain and that was enough to attract me to it because with these big films quite often a girl is the girlfriend or some sort of glamorous role. But this was totally different. And I was like wow, that’s really cool. My dad always told me to aim to be a Bond villain rather than a Bond girl. So that was kind of like a cool moment for me. So yeah, and then I just auditioned it felt like it was going to be a fleshed out interesting character with places to go. And she was just creepy, which is fun.
Gillan’s whole make up process is incredible. She talked about the pieces and molds that she uses daily. Unlike other characters in the film, her skin can be peeled off at the end of the day. She shared that the make up molds include oils for her skin, which makes her skin feels good. We then asked her about performing her own stunts.
I try to do as many as possible. I’m aware I do not look as good doing them as my stunt double. So I’m happy for her to do them just because she’s going to make the character look cooler. But I do have to do most of them. There was one where she had to drop from the ceiling really fast. I didn’t do that. But they want to be able to use you as much as possible just so that they can see your face in the shots. So I try to get involved. But there’s been one I was too scared to do. It was like being on wires and then we had to run at the edge of a cliff. It wasn’t too high but it was, and then like swaying really high like we were sort of jumping really far. And I was a little nervous to do that because I’d never done it before and they were fine with Kelly doing it. She did a great job. I was watching from the sidelines.
If you remember the ending of the last movie, Nebula loses a hand, we asked for Gillan to give us some details about the replacement.
Ooh, the mystery of the hand. I don’t want to give away anything but then is the hand really a spoiler? So she, she’s definitely got something in place of the hand that she chopped off, not necessarily a hand. So she goes on a mission to rectify this. So it’s a whole thing. She’s on the hunt to replace whatever is there. And then she does replace it with something really, really cool.
Finally we wrapped the interview by asking her who was her favorite character in the film besides her own.
Oh, good question. The new character Mantis is pretty great, and the actress who plays her is brilliant. I couldn’t imagine anybody else playing the role. But I’m going to say that my favorite is actually Drax. I think he’s the funniest person I’ve ever met on and off screen. Like he can make anything funny and he doesn’t try to and that’s why it’s so funny. His dry delivery, just how huge he is without dry delivery is like such a funny combination to me. Like everybody dies whenever he’s acting. Like everybody’s just dying.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens in theaters on May 5th, 2017.