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Kurt Russell Talks Ego and His Success in Hollywood #GotGVol2Event

Kurt Russell is legendary. He seldom plays the same role twice. He plays characters with names like “Snake” and “Wayland.” He now stars as EGO in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

There’s a seat at the table, and he sits for a moment and then stands and says, “Why don’t I just stand up…” and he did so he could see everyone.

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He plays off getting the role of EGO almost as if he is the last to have known:

“I was doing this publicity stunt for Tarantino’s movie, The Hateful Eight, and one day all of a sudden, you know, boom-boom-boom-boom my phone started to go off.  Which is very rare for me.  I don’t have much telephone action.  Then the people in the interview started to ask me, ‘Are you going to do this Guardians of the Galaxy?  Are you gonna play Peter Quill’s father?'”


Photo Courtesy Disney-Marvel

“I literally had no idea what they were talking about because I hadn’t seen the movie.  And I just said, No”.  I was thinking, “whatever this is, they’re excited about it. The next day the official word came through and I said, “Well, Guys, I need to read it and I need to see the movie.’ I saw the movie right away and fell in love with it; it just got better and better.  But more than anything else I was watching Chris (Pratt) and saying, “Yeah, I get that- I get that energy.  I get that, kinda that style.”


Photo Courtesy Disney-Marvel

“For me, it has to have the right amount of comedy. I felt very comfortable with James.  I thought his hand was really solidly on it.  He really knew what he was doing.  And then, of course, working with Chris (Pratt), primarily, that was just right.  As soon as Chris and I saw each other we just smiled, gave each other a hug and said this is clearly right. “

Like I said, Kurt Russell is legendary. He is adored by millions of fans.  He now adds Marvel to his resume and talks about this experience and the Marvel fan base.

“I’ve never done a Marvel movie.  I’ve done lots of Disney movies.  The fact that they came together, I think says they understand each other. You can have fans, but you might not. You never know what that’s going to be.  So, you just do what you’re going to do.”

He shares how he’s stayed authentic and a box office headlines through the years.

“I think the trick is, and what I’ve tried to do all my life is, as an actor who didn’t want do the same thing.  I just didn’t– for some reason that just repulsed me.  It made me not want to do it.  In Hollywood much of the time, if you have something that’s successful, the next thirty scripts you read are going to be in that zone.  I disappointed a lot of people by saying, ‘I get it.  I get why you want me to do it.  But, if you’ll notice, I just did that.  I don’t want to do that now.  I passed that math test.  I want to go on to this English test now.”

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And in saying that, and in doing that you create a confusion, and a whiplash sort of career where they can’t pigeonhole you, but they’re not necessarily happy about that.  Even critics and reviewers are not necessarily happy about that.  I guess a tendency is if we see something, like it, we then want to see more of it.  That also applies to movies where you see a movie you like so let’s do it again.” 

“So my job was to skip around genres.  Skip around characters.  Find stories that I liked, that I wanted see.  Characters that I wanted to play. Try to challenge myself with giving the director as many options as possible with takes so that he could put the movie together and have options to choose from for his vision.  When you do that you you’re putting a lot of trust in the director.  The other way of doing it is you give her one thing, which is not to say you don’t do that.  Miracle was a movie where I had to get in character and then stay there.”

“I think there’s room for both, and I’ve done that.  I just skipped around genres.  I really enjoy that.  That’s what keeps me going.  It keeps me fired up. “

Then the focus centered on his Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 character, Ego. He starts off sharing how much of himself is in Ego, and it turns hilarious.

“I have a healthy ego.  I do.  I think that’s important in our industry and our business and as a human being to have control of your ego.  But I think you should have a healthy one.  If you don’t have a healthy one you’re going to have other problems.  I love names and characters.  You can go back through my litany of characters and you’re going to find at least twelve great names.  I think that’s important.  And if they don’t have a great name, I give them a great name.”

He elaborates:

“I was very disappointed with when I read this script, the character’s name was J’son.  Jay-son.  And I said, “Yeah, well, fifteen Marvel people will know who this is.  That’s a weak-ass name.  Then later finding out that actually, his name is Ego the Living Planet  that’s more like it.”

If you haven’t seen the movie, this is the first scene so proceed to know this may be a spoiler.

The movie opens with Kurt Russell in 1980 circa automobile, as a 1980 circa Kurt Russell looking driver.

Surprisingly little to no CGI was used in a scene that involved Kurt Russell’s character, Ego.  Turns out, that effect was created with some make-up and not more advanced technology. He gives a nod to his makeup artist who has been with him for 28-years.

“We’ve done a lot of movies together where our goal was to, without the audience knowing it, help me arrive at what I need to do to set the tone for the character, the look for the character, the feel for the character.  I think we’ve achieved it many times.  Very subtly.  So much so that nobody knows what he did.

On Guardians, I’m really proud to point him out because we assumed, all of us, that we were just going to do heavy CGI special effects like they normally do.  And Dennis said to James Gunn and the cinematographer, “I know his face really, really well.  I can really do a lot here to bring him down. I de-age him some, does that help you?”

And they said, “As much as you can help.  Yes.  That helps very much.”

“When he was done and when I had the right hair going. I had the opportunity to see that, and begin to feel that and, in this case, say, “That’s a younger me.  It’s time for me to go to work and slip into all of that and take advantage of all of that, and go be younger.”

You can experience a young Kurt Russell in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which is out in theaters right now!


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