In Guardians of the Galaxy (in theatres August 1st), Karen Gillan plays a role that is pretty much a polar opposite from fan-favorite Doctor Who companion Amy Pond. While visiting the set of the upcoming Marvel film, Screen Rant interviewed her on shaving her head for the role, on Doctor Who and Marvel fans, the makeup process involved, and much more.
On the costume & makeup:
It’s certainly the craziest I’ve ever worn! Also, I don’t have my contact lenses in right now, which are normally – I just have completely black eyes. It’s so cool! It’s really intense going through this makeup in the morning, but it’s amazing! I think it takes about four and a half hours now. I think it was five originally, so when it first happened, I was like “what is this? What’s going on?” (laughs) But also it’s so worth it, because I see bits of footage that we’ve shot and it’s just so amazing, it’s so worth it.
So this is my costume… I’ve got this arm… It’s quite intense! There’s many layers. There’s all sorts of weird suits underneath to pull me in at all the right places. I was like, “so that’s how they look like that in those films!” (laughs) Yeah, there’s purple…
Basically, she’s only slightly robotic – she has a cybernetic arm and eye, but her personality remains the same. In my head, she was put together by a doctor who could actually restore personalities again. This is her modification – she just got mangled in some sort of accident, I think.
On shaving her head:
Well I was told even before I auditioned that the actress who got this would have to shave her head, and I didn’t think I was gonna get it (laughs). So I was like, “absolutely, I will shave my head! Sure!” (laughs). Then like three screen tests later, it was “oh God, this might actually happen.” And then I got the part, and then I thought about it seriously, and I was like, “I absolutely want to shave my head for this.” Because, I mean, the opportunity is too good to pass up.
On Nebula’s ultimate goals and sibling rivalry:
I think Nebula’s a really interesting character. What I really like to play around with is how jealous she is as a person. She’s Gamora’s sister, and there’s a lot of sibling rivalry going on. That’s the most interesting aspect about her character to me. So I really played with that and what it can do to a person, because jealousy can consume you and turn you bitter and ugly, and I’ve kind of played with that.
And she’s a total sadist. (laughs)
Basically she is a lieutenant of Ronan the Accuser, a daughter of Thanos, and sister of Gamora. They are on this holy mission to kind of cleanse the galaxy of all that is weak. That is her ultimate objective and what’s been drilled into her as a kid. So she is brainwashed by these people, and she just wants to impress, and achieve, and be as strong as possible. That’s her ultimate goal.
On reading the comics and being a part of two ‘geeky’ franchises:
I guess it’s just kind of turned out that way, which I’m not complaining about because the roles are amazing. I mean, I loved working on Doctor Who, that was so much fun and the character was really great. And this is a totally different character but kind of in the same genre. I don’t know! It’s just sort of turned out that way, but I’m glad that it has! People on twitter were really nice, so that’s good! (laughs) That’s how I can gauge something like that, otherwise I’m not sure. But yeah, people seemed really happy about it. All the Doctor Who fans were really passionate about this as well, so yeah, it was nice.
I read the Infinity Gauntlet which was really cool! I’m not a huge comic book reader, I had just one in my house, The Incredible Hulk. So I did some research on that. I was reading that before I got my hands on this script. This is kind of reinventing that whole thing anyways, so I understand why [Director James Gunn] would’ve said [not to go too much into the comics].
On working with director James Gunn and fleshing out the character of Nebula:
I kind of based it on, I researched Spartans a lot, that whole lifestyle. It’s crazy, and it feels very similar to this thing. Also, to keep it interesting as well, I kind of find her battling emotions coming back in. She’s fighting to not have any emotions, basically, because that’s as strong as you can be. So there’s an internal conflict going on there.
It’s been really amazing working with James. He’s the best! He’s just so much fun, as well. I’ve never worked on a set where you receive notes over a microphone, and I don’t think he’s ever done that before. Because of the scale of this film, there’s just no way you can run in and out of the set, so it’s like you’re getting notes from God! (laughs) “Can you do that with more of a smile?” But yeah, he’s really great, and he just makes it really free, and allows us to take risks. He’ll say, “Let’s do another take, and this one’s for you to have fun,” and that’s great as an actor. We get to explore and go to places.
Read the rest of this interview here. What are you most excited to see in Guardians of the Galaxy? Let us know in the comments!