Anyone who knows anything about Kurt Russell- the legendary actor behind classic John Carpenter heroes like Jack Burton, Snake Plissken, and R.J. MacReady- must’ve jumped right out of their seat when it was announced that he would be playing Chris Pratt’s father in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He recently sat down with io9 to discuss his role in the upcoming film and to draw connections between his early work and Pratt’s performances. Russell practically invented the “sometimes heroic/sometimes hilarious cool dude” archetype, so it makes perfect sense that he play “Ego” to Pratt’s “Star-Lord.” Turns out, Russell is just as aware of this as the rest of us. Here’s what he had to say:
Russell immediately felt a connection to Pratt’s work when he first watched Guardians of the Galaxy:
“Within about three minutes of watching Chris, as soon as he kicked one of those lemmings, I went, ‘Okay. That’s cool. That’s my kinda guy. I know where that kind of goof comes from.”
“That kind of goof” can be seen all throughout the 1986 classic, Big Trouble in Little China, where the film’s silliness is matched only by the intensity of its action scenes. It’s interesting that Russell connected with Pratt’s character so early in the film. One could only imagine what he thought about the dance-off that concludes the climax of Guardians of the Galaxy!
Russell’s contemporaries didn’t quite understand some of his early, now-iconic performances:
“It’s fun to be living now in a time when a younger generation understands what I was doing. The older guys, my age, they didn’t know what… I was doing. They really didn’t. You can go back and read about it. It was like, ‘What is that?’ I think it’s funny.”
Look who’s laughing now! Russell is currently enjoying a new renaissance of his career simply by revisiting character archetypes he established decades ago. He was originally John Carpenter’s go-to leading man, and now he’s starring in contemporary blockbusters helmed by modern masters like Quentin Tarantino and James Gunn.
Russell appreciates the fact that modern fandom has allowed him to continue to work on the kind of quirky projects he likes working on:
“So to be at this point in my life and be able to not only… have a generation that accepts you for what you were doing before anybody else was… to be able to take that and grow that, it’s nice. Because it has a lot to do with my personality and the way I look at life and stuff. And so, it’s a nicer time for me than it was 30 years ago… and yeah, it’s a bit of an opportunity to take advantage of the way I created some guys in the past that you guys, the people your age are more in tune with. You understood it.”
Many movies are released into theaters and then they drift into obscurity. The ones which are cherished and ultimately remembered are the ones which resonate most with fans and cinephiles. This is why masterpieces like Escape from New York and The Thing are perfect examples of cult classics. It’s good to see that Russell understands the relationship between the dedication of his fans and the legacy of his early films.
Russell’s work with Pratt on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 involved a lot of experimentation:
“We really work a lot together and we did many different scenes together. And that gives you the opportunity to play them many different ways. And because they both know their universe so well, it was fun for me to be able to sort of come in and go, ‘Okay, well, here’s where I’m going on this one,’ and then be able to just turn it around on another take.”
It won’t be long before we can see the fruits of their labor… Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens in theaters on May 5th, 2017. Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more information on this and other projects as it breaks!