While in L.A. for the Guardians of the Galaxy Press Junket, I had the amazing opportunity to interview Vin Diesel. What an awesome experience. I’m going to admit it, I had some butterflies in my stomach as the interview time got closer and closer. However, the moment he walked through the door, my butterflies vanished. I could feel the energy he had and could tell he truly was excited to talk with all of us.
Vin plays the character Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy, which will be in theaters on August 1st. He is actually the voice of Groot only, since Groot is a large talking tree! I can’t give away too much about Groot just yet, but be sure to check out my full review of Guardians Of The Galaxy late next week. I will say that you will fall in love with Groot. I definitely did. Although Groot only has a few lines in the movie, Vin made him amazing. He took the part very seriously. To get into character, Vin walked on stilts that made him 7 1/2 feet tall. That is some SERIOUS dedication if you ask me. He also wore the stilts while in the recording studio.
Below is our interview with Vin Diesel, and a few of my thoughts as well:
When Vin entered the room, we all clapped and cheered. We had screened the movie the night before, and were so excited to meet Groot! The cheers were received well by Vin, who decided to make a second grand entrance:
VIN: Wow look at this wonderful reception. You guys! You didn’t have to make me feel that good. My God! This is like…I need to walk in again.
VIN: You are incredible guys.
QUESTION: We Love Groot!
VIN: Oh, I love that. How did you get that? (He is pointing at our Groot and Guardians of the Galaxy T-Shirts) How did you get that? I love, love that you’re wearing that shirt. First of all, I love that you love Groot. But what do you love about Groot?
Reply: There’s so much! (everyone is laughing)
QUESTION: What do you love about Groot, and what attracted you to the role of Groot?
VIN: I come home. Kevin Feige called. First of all, the people that get the most credit for me playing Groot are those people on my Facebook page. Because they manifested this union between myself and Marvel when nobody had an idea of what we could do. As you know, I had to shoot “Fast and the Furious 7” a little bit longer than anticipated. And there was really no schedule to be able to do a six-month role. And the persistence of the social media somewhat forced us all to be really creative. So, Kevin Feige sent over – he had gone to Comic Con and they were asking him about it and I was at Comic Con too for “Riddick” and they were asking me, “What is the involvement between Vin and Marvel?” And then they asked him. And we felt like, oh my God, we’d better come up with something fast. And he called me and said, “I’m gonna tell you about this character. Don’t think I’m crazy. I hope you will like it. And I’m going to send you over some conceptual art.” So, I get someone delivers this huge book of conceptual art for “The Guardians of the Galaxy.” And it’s the first time that I had ever seen what they were doing with Groot, which is not like anything you have ever seen in any of the comic books. It’s an original Groot. And I went into the living room, and the kids were there, and I opened up the book, and it was a double-truck picture with all of the characters. And I said to the kids, “What character do you think they want Daddy to play? And I was asking them, and they answered in seconds. I was praying that they would lead me in feeling good about this role. And they all pointed to Groot, and they thought Groot was cool.
My thoughts: I loved this answer from Vin Diesel. He mentioned his kids often throughout the interview. You could immediately tell what a great dad he is to his kids. He lit up every time he talked about his children. I think I teared up 3 or 4 times through the interview. I’m 99% certain that the photo above was taken while he was talking about his kids.
Here are two more times that he mentioned his kids during our interview, again with such love and emotion:
VIN: They’re (referring to his kids) singing all of the songs in the house. If I wanted to share the music with them, like we all-we all want to share Jackson 5 with our kids, right? So, it became one of those things where it was one of those movies that was just remarkable to share with your kids.
VIN: When my kids are in the back seat, we’re driving, whenever they see trees they say, “Look, Dad. It’s your brothers and sisters.” You can’t beat that. I mean, nothing I would try to teach them about life and respect for nature could have been as effective as them seeing Daddy as Groot.
QUESTION: Was that your choice to go in dressed as the character? And how long did it take you?
VIN: Well, I really kept it about kind of being this towering kind of innocent character. The innocence of the character is what’s so attractive. So, yeah. It was my idea to go above and beyond. And I guess people were like, “Damn, this guy’s taking this serious. It’s only three words, dude.” So we have, literally — you know, I have worked more days on this than I have words. Surreal.
QUESTION: I wanted to know on set, who do you feel as though you had the most chemistry with, and who was the biggest prankster? I bet it was you.
VIN: Well, I’m always a prankster. The irony is, I wasn’t on set. I was in the recording booth. Which is another fun thing about this character, how much work they were putting into creating this character in the CGI space. I was always a fan of what Andy Serkis was doing for Tolkien, for “Planet of the Apes.” And I always loved the idea of doing some kind of performance art like that. I started doing a version of performance art. When breakdancing started in the Eighties, it was only performance art. And New York City, when somebody would walk by and see me dancing on the corner, with the crowd around, and handing my hat out, yeah, I was that dude. Can you believe that? Literally, like, if it was the Eighties, I’d be dancing for you right now, and I would take my hat off and say something cute like, “I take credit cards too.”
My thoughts: This shocked me! I had no idea that Vin Diesel used to dance on the corners in New York City for money! Imagine seeing him!!
The interview ended with a group picture, but not without some Vin Diesel fun! On the way out the door to take the picture he broke into a song which ignited a group sing-a-long and some serious dance moves by Vin and us bloggers. What were we singing? “Hooked on a Feeling”. So much fun!!
Vin’s last words to us: I love the mommy bloggers. You know mommies are the first super heroes you guys. Let’s give one for the dads! And that’s tweetable! Thank you so much guys. You guys made me feel so good!
Guardians of the Galaxy will be in theaters August 1st.
Stay tuned for my FULL review of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, plus more amazing interviews from the producer James Gunn, and the amazing cast including Christ Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Dave Batista.
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Disclosure – I was invited to the #GuardiansoftheGalaxyEvent . Costs and expenses for my trip were covered but all opinions expressed are 100% my own.