Dave Bautista (Drax) and Zoe Saldana (Gamora) and Director James Gunn are in Singapore to promote the latest movie from Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy.

Guardians of the Galaxy joins the ranks in Marvel Cinematic Universe which already boasts powerhouses such as the Iron Man trilogy, the 2 Thor movies, The Incredible Hulk, the Captain America movies and of course the Avengers.

The good folks at Disney gave us the opportunity to catch a 17-minute peek of the movie itself and hosted a press conference where the stars could share a bit about Guardians, their experience putting it together, Bautista’s reaction when he got the call and how playing Gamora empowers Zoe and James’ driving ideal behind the movie:

Q: Zoe, as the only female in the main cast, how does it feel to the leading woman battling for the galaxy

Zoe: It feels great and it’s empowering. It delivers a very strong message to young women that besides being beautiful and delicate flowers, you can also channel your strength and not be afraid of it. It’s very rewarding where you can climb a tree and grab a weapon… and even though you’re in the land of make believe you feel like you can do all these things and feel really empowered.

I’m actually really happy to say that I’m not the only female in this cast…. Karen Gillan really did an amazing job. I was not only surrounded by amazing male actors but also another female actor – sometimes being the only female can get lonely.

James: Karen and Zoe were a lot of fun to watch on the set…. you have these fight scenes where you have these 2 superpowered females fighting each other and their like 2 female Clint Eastwoods… like tough and battling it out and then I’d say ‘CUT’ and they’ll all girly.

Q: James, now that you made a multi-million blockbuster like Guardians, would you make another movie like ‘Slither’ again?

James: I really do whatever I feel like doing in the moment… and so I’m not sure what I’m going to do next…. it could be another Marvel movie or it could be something else that comes up in the last minute. I pretty much do what I believe…. and I don’t approach  a small movie like ‘Slither and ‘Super’ any different from a big movie like Guardians of the Galaxy.

I do everything I can fully with my heart, as true as I possibly can and I’ve been really fortunate to have had producers like Marvel who have given me free reign even though it’s such a large budget.

Q: Of all the movies in the Marvel Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy has the least source material. Did this add more pressure or encourage you further?

James: I feel that since they’re not as well known as Captain America or the Avengers it gave us free reign… and it feels more at home on screen than it is in the comic books…  so I felt it really gave me freedom to do something interesting with it and create these lovable characters.

Q: The Marvel Universe is getting so big and this is the last movie until ‘The Age of Ultron’. How much did you work with Joss Whedon on this and how much pressure was there from Marvel?

James: Well I’m very fortunate in creating the first leg of the Marvel cosmic brand… Joss and I have been friends for a long time and the biggest note he gave was to make it more ‘James Gunn’… and I said it’s your funeral.

We had to work together in casting Thanos as he appears in stuff that I do as well as stuff Joss does…. other than that I really had free reign and it wasn’t so much having this movie lead somewhere but creating a really great foundation so it could lead somewhere… to create something that has substance.

Q: Drax as a character has been played many different ways in the comics. A strong ‘Space Hulk’, dumb and not so bright, then really bright and calculating. What kind of Drax are we going to see here?

Dave: It was one of the hardest parts for me cause he’s changed so much over the years and there really was no reference for Drax… It’s kinda weird now ’cause I think I might be the reference for Drax in the years to come… but the greatest thing about Drax is that he’s a very literal character and it leads to a few good laughs. I always tell people that at the core of Drax, he’s heartbroken… there’s this insane, sociopath side to him… I don’t think he sees anything wrong in killing. He has a heart that’s bigger than his brain.

Q: Zoe and Dave, it took hours to get your make-up done. How did you pass the time?

Zoe: I thought it was going to be harder but we worked with amazing make-up artists that create a beautiful serene space…. so you make conversation, pick a playlist and sometimes you pass out… and you wake up GREEN… and you forget you get makeup done and you’ll be like ‘what happened to my face!

Dave: By nature I’m a very ‘Zen’ person… so I just zoned out. It was really cool cause i’d close my eyes and I wasn’t Drax… and then  I’d open my eyes and I was Drax!

Zoe: He really was… we were getting done in different trucks and I used to ask “how’s Dave dealing with it?”… cause usually I heard that men just freak out… but no he was just Zen and just stands there…. he meditates… and i was like ‘oh god!’.

Q: Dave I read that when you read there role that you were so overwhelmed some tears were shed. How true is that?

Dave: That’s not completely true… I literally broke down. I was driving and my Manager called and he got my Agent on the phone who told said ‘Congratulations Mr. Drax’. I literally just broke down. I drove home and I was just a mess – but it was a big deal or me. It as a life changing decision when I left wrestling and went for audition to audition and I finally landed my dream role.

James: I think one of the best moments in making this movie was speaking to Dave right after that…  from the beginning sometimes you met actors you really like but aren’t good for the role… I really like Dave and liked him so much as a person that I was rooting for him and he had to go through a series screen tests to get the role… and he proved himself to be the best by FAR… despite some stuff that was said in the press, Dave Bautista is the only person we ever offered the role to….. because he was THAT good. I say that about all the cast – people that I liked as people and are the best fit for the role.

I think one of the things about Guardians of the Galaxy is that it’s a group of oddballs and outcasts who were plucked from obscurity in Marvel comics, and we all feel like that  – my last movie cost $3 million it was an Independent film, Dave is a wrestler who people didn’t think of as a real actor, Zoe has been pushed to the sidelines her whole life because she is a person of ‘colour’ from a place where not everybody is from in the industry, Chris Pratt was a chubby guy when he got this role… Vin Diesel is a weirdo and Benicio is a weirdo and the biggest weirdo is Michael Rooker by far.

We’re just a group of oddballs and outcasts who came together and made this movie made something that’s something we feel really good about and the parallels are very interesting to me all the time. I think through this process we’ve really come to love each other… you’ll hear us all talk how much we all like each other. The thing is, usually they’re lying… but we really mean it.

Q: What advice do you have for people who feel like they are oddballs and outcasts?

I think the first think to remember when you feel like an oddball or an outcast… at the end of the day there are more of us than there are of them. So many of us from the time when we were kids were pushed aside, treated as second-class citizens, made fun of, mocked or told we couldn’t do something…. but we are the majority and we feel like the minority.

Q: Dave how different is it kicking ass in the ring and on the screen?

Dave: It’s so very different… the only similarity is that there’s a camera pointed at you… that’s where it ends. Wrestling is so big, broad… so conversational. Acting is a whole lot more intimate and intimidating. It couldn’t be more different.

Pics from the Red Carpet Event

All I can say is that I’m hooked on a feeling and can’t wait for the Guardians to be out – especially if the sneak peek was anything to go by. So if you haven’t seen the trailer yet (where have you been? I mean really?) here it is:

Guardians of the Galaxy opens on 31 July in Singapore.

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