This Karen Gillan interview came as a surprise. While on set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we weren’t totally sure who would be available and she wasn’t even on our list. So, when Nebula walked in, we almost fell out of our seats! When in full costume and makeup she looks JUST like how she does on screen. It’s so cool!
Karen Gillan Interview – Nebula
It was hysterical to see her whip around the corner and into the room and then be all smiles. As the misunderstood and angry sister in the movie, we don’t get to see what the real Karen Gillan is like at all. It was such a contradiction to see her as Nebula, smiling and being so, super sweet. Her voice is adorable with her Scottish accent, and her demeanor is that of an excited, bubbly girl.
How has Nebula’s relationship with Gamora changed in this film?
KG: “I think we’re just going to really delve much further into it and we’re 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, of course you’re going to have those. And yeah, they’re going to sort of really talk to each other. Usually they communicate quite physically. You know–sisters pull each other’s hair, these, they sort of try to kill each other. But they’re sort of going to talk it out and that’s, that’s really interesting I think.”
What is it like to be back with the cast?
KG: “It’s so nice to be back. I feel like it’s such a line to say ‘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’s just really sort of a joyous experience.”
Will you talk about your costume a little bit? Is it comfortable?
KG: “I mean elements of it are comfortable. I’m thinking–it’s not like what I would choose to wear lounging around the house. I mean this is not very comfortable but it looks so cool so it’s worth it. Nebula 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.”
How long does it take to put your makeup and everything on?
KG: “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… I don’t know how that happened. And then to get into this is about 20 minutes. 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 you look like this.”
You have a very physical role. What do you do to prepare for that as far as your workouts?
KG: “Well, I work out with the Marvel stunt team and that is so ridiculous. Oh my God, I come out and I have to take a nap. It is with all the stunt guys and they’re like jacked. So yeah, I do that as much as I can. And then whenever there’s like a fight sequence or something they rehearse with us, 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.”
What do you do to pass the time during the makeup process?
KG: “Today, I genuinely napped throughout the entire makeup process. Yeah, it’s great. I mean, I don’t know if I could manage that every day because you know, it’s a lot of like, ‘look up,’ and ‘now we’re going to put stuff on your eyes.’ Today I managed to do it. What else did I do? I used to watch the Avengers to sort of get me into the spirit.”
What was your first reaction when you read the script for Vol 2?
KG: “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 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 then 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.”
Are we going to see a softer side to your character?
KG: “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. Like that’s her default face. 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.”
How do you get into character because you seem very bubbly and nice? So, how do you go to that place?
KG: “Obviously this makeup does half of it for me. Like it just feels really natural to just look into this really mean thing. But James, his favorite thing is when I, I’m acting and then like I’ll break character for some reason and it’s just like ‘what the hell?’ 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 to do a good American accent, which is fun.”
What initially attracted you to this role?
KG: “It’s interesting when you 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 you know, 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.”
When you got to see the first film and see how it ended were you satisfied?
KG: “Yes, yes. It was really cool. Like a lot of that was done in reshoot as well. I was really happy. He gave her a really, sort of cool, bad ass ending. And it was open as well, which was very exciting. Yeah, I didn’t think I could look that tough, to be honest. So it was cool.”
What did you find was challenging for Volume 2 versus Volume 1?
KG: “I guess probably just delving further into the history of the character and I am finding that balance between playing an evil villain people will love to sort of hate but trying to, to tell the truth and not make her likable because that’s not what I’m setting out to do but to just serve the role in the right way. I don’t know. Does that make any sense? [YES!] Okay great. Yeah, I guess it’s just been more of an acting challenge because there’s more to play with.”
How quickly did you find out about part two?
KG: “I think I knew that I was going to be coming back from the first film. I didn’t know in what capacity so I actually only found out a few months ago, before we started shooting. I actually just got the script delivered to the house and I was like ‘okay, what am I doing?’ And I was like ‘whoa, this is kind of good.’ So yeah, that was–I didn’t find out too far in advance. They keep it under wraps.”
Regarding your makeup, is this a headpiece over here?
KG: “Yeah, it’s just a head piece over here and then it’s all makeup. This is all, like it’s basically a second skin. It’s all glued to me. This is like a chin implant almost. It comes like here and then this goes up and then all the way back. And then this is put on separately, this eye. The guys do a really good job and I love the fact that the two guys that do it are these like huge tatted men. They create this look and they’re like ‘uh, she looks good.'”
Are you stained blue?
KG: “No, I don’t–I’m not painted like the other ones so I think it’s a little easier for me. They just peel off at the end of the day. Yeah. It’s quite good for the skin. Yeah, but it’s quite good to take off because they use all these natural oils which is great for the skin.”
Do they reuse the same pieces?
KG: “Some of them they’ll reuse but most of them they’ll just throw away and then they just have to keep making molds of them every time. Yeah, it’s actually incredible what they do.”
Do you do a lot of your own stunts?
KG: “I try to do as many as possible. I’m aware I do not look as good doing them as Kelly, 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. 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 off the edge of a cliff. It wasn’t too high but it was raised 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 like ‘we’re SHOOTING!’ and I was like ‘what?!’ Kelly did a great job. I was watching from the sidelines.”
We’ve heard a couple of you say you’re like a family on set. Can you tell us about the laughter and fun behind the scenes?
KG: “It just kind of feels like what you see on screen–that sort of banter–that sort of nature to it. That’s what it’s like off screen. And they play music, which really lifts people’s spirits and the music’s sort of an integral part of these films. Also, everyone is really nice in the cast. Like there’s not one person that’s a bit like, you know, standoffish or surrounded by people. It’s not like that at all. And it all filters down from the top–that’s from James, the director. He sets a really good tone for everyone and casts nice people. So, it’s good. I enjoy it.”
Did you read any of the comics?
KG: “I did. I read the Infinity Gauntlet, which I hear is going to be in the next Avengers, or they’re going to make them. I don’t know. That’s what I’m presuming… but yeah I read that and I was like this character is really cool. It was the best one for me to read for Nebula research. And it was great. It’s so good. It’s so good.”
Can you tell us about Nebula’s new hand?
KG: “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, though. 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.”
Besides your character, which is your favorite Guardians of the Galaxy character?
KG: “Oh, good question. The new character, Mantis, is pretty great. Pom, 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 with that dry delivery is like such a funny combination to me. Everybody dies whenever he’s acting. Everybody’s just dying of laughter.”
What’s next for you?
KG: “I am writing something that I’m really excited about. Can’t really talk about that yet but that’s not interesting. But I’m creating something. And then I have a couple of films coming out. One called The Circle, which is an interesting film about a tech company. And another one called In a Valley of Violence, which is a western. So, look out for those!”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is in theaters everywhere May 5th! Get your tickets!