It’s rare when we have an interview with more than two talents at the same time. When Karen Gillan (“Nebula,”) Pom Klementieff (“Mantis,”) and Elizabeth Debicki (“Ayesha”) entered the hotel room with looks of excitement and a touch of shock, the small space was buzzing with electricity. Twenty-five mommy bloggers/Marvel fans plus these three badass Galactic women? The only things missing were beds to jump on and Nerf guns for an epic foam bullet battle.
Ayesha, Mantis, and Nebula
We had the honor of interviewing Karen Gillan on set last year, but this was our first encounter with Pom Klementieff and Elizabeth Debicki. Each is incredibly beautiful, funny, and full of life. The feeling of women empowerment in the room was tangible yet comforting and nurturing.
Q: You ladies all have very elaborate makeup in the movie, tell us about that process, or something that surprised you that we wouldn’t know about putting your makeup on each day.
Karen Gillan: “Well mine takes about four hours in the morning, and essentially I have the character’s skin glued to my face, which is really as close as I could possibly get to her which is pretty cool. And it’s kind of intense and slightly claustrophobic. [LAUGHTER] It’s definitely become part of my ritual, in terms of getting into character. One time I did a rehearsal without the makeup and I did not feel like her at all, so it’s sort of become like a vital part of the process for me which is kind of cool.”
Pom Klementieff: “For me it’s much easier because it’s my skin tones, so it’s like a beauty makeup in a way. And so I need two hours to get completely ready, hair makeup and clothes. Basically I wear a prosthetics on my forehead. It’s just the beginning of the antennas, and then with the C-G-I, they make it much bigger. The makeup artists are so talented. I mean, yours [points to Karen Gillan] won an Oscar…
I wear contact lenses in my eyes. Really big ones that cover my whole eye. You know, they’re- it’s like there’s no white in my eye almost. And so same, I feel like kind of claustrophobic. I have tunnel vision, so it makes me feel like in my own world, which is kind of good for the character too. The antennas I kind of like forget about them and people are like, oh you have something weird on your forehead but me I’m just like yeah whatever [LAUGHTER].”
Elizabeth Debicki: “I think I’ve got it the easiest because I just sort of sit there and someone paints me [LAUGHTER] and it’s kind of sticky and cold and but I love it- the first day I thought, you know, it was a bit overwhelming the whole paint situation. And then I came to set and I said hi to Zoe, and I said what time did you come to work and she said like three AM. And I had a very civil call of like six AM. Then I thought I am never ever complaining about makeup ever again. I also asked her for some tips…
And she said you just have to be very Zen, just be very patient. So I would just sort of plug into a podcast… I think it’s about an hour and a half and then with the wig cap as well. And then actually for me the most time consuming and hectic part of Ayesha is the costume and that gold dress is almost entirely metal. And it weighs so much. It takes about three women–we used to call it the Ayesha Taco because [LAUGHTER] the whole bottom of the dress is like a great big circular metal thing and it–they would fold it up like a taco and then I would walk up the stairs. And she sort of gets–wherever I get placed, that’s where I am for the day–and someone said, what does it feel like, I said, it feels like a small child is hanging onto my back. The bustle is so huge. But the same, it forms who you are and how you feel, it’s sort of and for Ayesha too, the choice to be that creature and the presence she wants to put out into the world is so much the hair and makeup and the costumes.”
Q: What’s it like being part of a film that has such a devoted fandom, especially for Karen because you also have Whovians to deal with.
Karen Gillan: “It’s such a cool sensation actually to be part of something that people actually care about because that’s not always the case, usually you’re trying so hard to just make people care about your project. You know, but with things like Dr. Who and this, I mean it just has like this built in fan base and they’re just so accepting and they’re so passionate, they just care about all the decisions you make and you just feel like really special for a second [LAUGHS].”
Q: As a follow-up with Nebula, we really get to see that other side of her and understand why she does the things that she does and has done in the past. How important was that for you to sort of show the audience that you’re really not a bad person–you just had bad things happen to you?
Karen Gillan: “Yes, thank you. In the first movie we saw her and she was this sort of evil super villain watching from the sidelines a little bit, but in this movie we really understand why. And for me, like it’s my job as an actor to sort of be her lawyer and explain to everyone why she is justified in doing these things and I think we achieve that in the movie, which is really cool. And it was just so important to me to give her those layers, because it’s not really interesting to just have a bad guy for no reason.”
Q: How was it filming that huge Nebula – Gamora fight scene and did you have a lot of stunt doubles and how did that work, because that was brilliant?
Karen Gillan: “That was amazing fun actually and I’m not the best fighter in the world, I kind of looked like spaghetti [LAUGHTER] and Zoe was amazing and so she was just giving me all these pointers. She was like ‘If you turn your head like this and strangle like this, then you’re going to look really cool,’ and I was like ‘Yeah!’ [LAUGHTER] So it was great. I really enjoyed it, I did a version of all the stunts and then an amazing stunt double came in and made me look cooler and it was cool because it was emotional as well, it was physical and emotional this battle between the two sisters and it was just really interesting to me.”
Q: For Mantis what was it like being insulted by Drax all the time?
Pom Klementieff: “It was really funny but I had to not laugh [LAUGHTER] just laughing inside, no it’s fun. She’s innocent, she’s like a child so whatever he tells her she’s like, ‘Okay, if you say so,’ you know?”
Q: You all play three strong female roles in the movie in your own different ways. What do you want little girls to take away from your female characters?
Pom Klementieff: “That it’s okay to be imperfect and to not be like everyone else–to be just maybe weird sometimes and it’s you. And that’s what makes you interesting.”
Elizabeth Debicki: “Well for Ayesha- [LAUGHTER] don’t be like Ayesha [LAUGHTER] someone said on the carpet, ‘And what similarities are between you and Ayesha?’ I’m like, ‘None, I really hope none.’ [LAUGHTER]”
Mommy Blogger: “She doesn’t take no for an answer.”
Elizabeth Debicki: “That’s true, she’s very- I think the thing about Ayesha is she is very justified in what she’s doing… You know, he steals from her and she’s going to get what she wants back. And I think, you know, she’s very strong. I suppose her moral compass is slightly askew and she’s slightly merciless. Maybe her strength and also that I suppose what I like about her is that she isn’t perfect, she’s actually quite fallible. Even though–the irony is they’re genetically modified to be perfect and she’s extremely imperfect, so I guess the same thing in a way but yeah- I would say you could look at Ayesha and then decide to be compassionate. [LAUGHTER]”
Karen Gillan: “For me in your character [Ayesha] I like seeing a woman in a leadership position–a woman can be the boss absolutely.”
Elizabeth Debicki: “Yes. Absolutely yes.”
Q: How did you get into your characters?
Pom Klementieff: “I think it’s just about listening and being in the moment and just have fun. We talked with James about the character and I brought my touch and my maybe what I lived in my past and how and some weirdness and I had fun with it. Because it’s not like it’s a biopic, it’s a character, an alien who’s bug-like and I mean it’s a crazy world around her and you can invent whatever you want. So I just wanted her to be like an insect. Lind of like her position is like this and she’s kind of like nervous so she kind of like cleans her hands like a preying mantis and like Mr. Burns in The Simpsons [LAUGHTER]. She’s kind of applauding something. Because I wanted her to be at the beginning when you see her in the movie, you’re like is she good? is she bad? what’s happening? And she has these really black eyes so you can’t really go through her soul, you know, like what’s happening? She’s alien. And yeah I don’t know I had fun with it. Sometimes I’d be like tilting my head like a dog, when they’re like asking a question. And I don’t know- it’s my own stuff, so I’m sure you don’t see what I thought but you’re like oh- you know, I don’t know. [LAUGHS]”
Q: For Elizabeth and Karen you’ve been part of the Marvel family for a while and like you said earlier, Marvel fans are very passionate, very loyal. For you two ladies, what’s it like now being in the Marvel family and would you like to see your characters expand a lot more within the Marvel family?
Elizabeth Debicki: “It’s actually a huge privilege as an actor, like Karen said, to be a part of something that people really want to see and that they care so deeply about. And I suppose the first interaction I had with it was at Comic-Con last year… and there’s so many people there and they’re so–it’s sort of like pure joy that just shoots out and it’s incredible. I found it very overwhelming and I kept getting very emotional in interviews just after, because it’s rare in life to be a part of something that people love so much and they care so much about. Strangely enough I wasn’t really nervous about watching the film or being there last night, usually I get very nervous. But I just had the sense that I’d seen it already and I think it’s wonderful. But I just sort of knew that it was going to be accepted with such love. And I had hoped that we would be too. Because we’re new to it.”
Pom Klementieff: “I think it’s not just a Marvel movie, it’s a James Gunn–you know–I think he’s such a genius. And he really reinvented the super hero movie, he made it something really human. It really talks about family and I mean you saw the movie–there is action, it’s also hilarious, and it’s also so moving and heart breaking it’s so many things at the same time. And the music is just, hah yeah, I remember this music and then some of the stuff, you’re like, oh I have to look it up. And so some stuff about the nineties with the stuff that you remember from your past. I mean it’s so many emotions I think and I think it’s really special.”
And there it is. Pom said it best. “It’s really special.” The entire team responsible for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (and Volume 1)–from everyone behind the camera to those in front of it, it’s a work of true genius.
These lovely ladies were a joy to be around, and I can’t wait to see more of them in the future.
See Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 starting at midnight TONIGHT!!!