While at SXSW to promote her new horror film “Oculus,” we of course had to talk to actress Karen Gillan (“Doctor Who”) about her upcoming role as the villainous Nebula in Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Many pundits have earmarked “Guardians” as a risky move for Marvel, given the studio’s run with better-known characters like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. And while most critics have had their fears alleviated by the first trailer, the success of the movie was never in doubt for Gillan.
“I always had total faith in the project, because the people who are making it are so brilliant, and have a long history of great films,” Gillan told MTV News. “So I knew it was in great hands.”
She did add that unlike a Spider-Man movie, though, Guardians is potentially a risk for the studio. But with risks, come rewards.
“I just think it’s a new direction for Marvel, it’s really, really funny,” Gillan added. “It’s not taking itself seriously at all. It’s tongue in cheek. And just to see people be excited about that new tone is cool.”
Even if the movie is comedic, and Gillan herself is very funny in real life… The deadly Nebula is far from a laugh-a-minute.
“Okay, so Nebula does not find herself funny,” Gillan said, laughing. “I find her hilarious. But she can’t find herself hilarious, that’s not scary.”
Glimpsed in the trailer, and a bit further in one of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” profile pieces released immediately after, it looks like Nebula will be dusting it up with good-guy Guardian Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana.
“Yeah, there’s a big girlie fight sequence, but it’s not that girlie,” Gillan said. “They made sure there weren’t any nice pirouettes or anything like that.”
And to hear Gillan tell it, it seems like Saldana may have a distinct advantage where the fight is concerned.
“She’s really experienced in the physical stuff, she was a ballerina,” Gillan recalled. “She’s really amazing at all of that stuff. She barely required any rehearsal, she was like, ’I can do this.’ I required two months of rehearsals every day that I wasn’t shooting, because I looked like spaghetti when I started.”
There’s another advantage Saldana has during their one-on-one: hair. The normally longhaired Gillan shaved her head to play Nebula, which led to a slightly somber situation on set.
“It was the saddest thing in the world,” Gillan said. “They’d use a big industrial wind machine when filming her, but when it was on me, it was like, ’Turn the wind machine off,’ and it was like beeeeup.”
When it comes down to it, though, this fight scene is the most important scene for Gillan’s character.
“This is the integral one for my character, because it’s not just a physical battle,” Gillan said. “Their relationship goes very deep, and there’s a huge history between them. So there’s a lot more to it than just the physical.”
“Guardians of the Galaxy” opens in theaters on August 1.