All photos courtesy of Disney/Marvel
Karen Gillan Interview | Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – Let’s Give Nebula a Hand #GotGVol2
Would you believe that one of the most sinister ladies from Guardians of the Galaxy is one of nicest in real life? Originally from Scotland, this actress’ wonderful accent and bubbly personality didn’t seem to match her rough Nebula look. Karen Gillan, aka Nebula, sat down with us for an exclusive interview as we discussed her surprise comeback to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. What odd advice helped her land this role? What will we learn about this villain during this film? What will change with her relationship with Gamora? And what happened after Nebula cut off her hand?
Bringing Nebula Back
It’s so nice to be back. I feel like it’s such a line to say like we’re like one big happy family, but we genuinely are. Everyone’s really nice and it’s just so much fun to be on this set. There’s not one person that’s a bit standoffish. It’s not like that at all. And it all filters down from the top of that’s from James, the director. He sets a really good tone for everyone. And they play music, which really lifts people’s spirits, and the music’s sort of an integral part of these films. It just really sort of joyous experience.
A Villain’s Life for Me
When auditioning for the role of Nebula, Karen Gillan didn’t know much about the character. But Gillan took some odd advice from her father – turned out to be the best advice ever.
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 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. 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.
A New Look for Nebula
Nebula seems to get a whole new makeover for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Not only does she wear extremely similar colors to the new Guardians theme (red leather, hmmm?), but her hair and makeup get an upgrade too. Of course the coolest part is she’s explaining the process while in full costume. Pretty sweet.
Nebula has a bit of a different look going on in this film. She gets a costume change which is very exciting. I have been able to keep half of my hair for this film. So 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. So it’s significantly quicker. And then to get into this [costume] is about 20 minutes. So it’s quite a long process, but it’s just so worth it. It does half of the job for you as an actor because you look like this.
This (pointing to her blue skin) is all basically like a second skin. It’s all glued to me. This is like a chin implant almost.And then this is put on separately, this eye. 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. It’s quite good for the skin actually to take off because they use all these like natural oils, which is great for the skin. It’s like a facial. Today, I genuinely napped throughout the entire makeup process.
Getting into Character
How does this sweet Scottish lady get into the pissed-off Nebula spirit?
Honestly, this makeup does half of it for me. Like it just feels really natural to just look into this really mean thing. What else did I do? I used to watch The Avengers to get me into the spirit. But James the director, his favorite thing is when I’m acting and then I break character for some reason and it’s just like, “What the he**?” 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 a good American accent, which is fun.
[I’m] finding that balance between playing an evil villain people will love to sort of hate, but trying 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.
Family Feuding with Gamora
One of the great things about a sequel is diving further into character’s back stories. And it’s obvious that we are going to learn so much more about Nebula’s relationship with Gamora. It’s not all hair pulling and killing each other after all.
I emailed James [Gunn] and just wrote, “Oh, my God, I can’t believe I get to do all this stuff.” When I went on to the first film it was originally an eight-day shoot. And I felt that was the end of my character as well. So, when I found out I was coming back for the next film up I was like, “What?!” 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 didn’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 [Nebula] 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.
I think we’re just going to really delve much further, and we’re really going to learn about their back story as well. 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 they’re going to really talk to each other. Usually they communicate quite physically — sisters pull each other’s hair, they sort of try to kill each other. But they’re going to talk and that’s really interesting.
Will We See a Softer Side?
Nebula and soft don’t seem to go together in my mind. But Karen Gillan promises that Nebula may just surprise us all.
I think so. I think we’re going to understand her more. We’re going to have a bit of empathy toward her. As to whether that makes her soft, I don’t know because she’s still classic pissed-off Nebula. 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 [to be] toward Nebula in their childhood.
Give Nebula a Hand
We couldn’t help but notice that a part of Nebula’s costume appeared to be “missing.” Her hand (remember the one that she chopped off in Guardians 1?) wasn’t the usual blue color as we would see on screen. That made us think that she got some sort of “replacement” for Guardians 2.
Oh, the mystery of the hand. I don’t want to give away anything, but then is the hand really a spoiler? So she’s definitely got something in place of the hand that she chopped off, not necessarily a hand though. She goes on a mission to rectify this. 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.
I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of excited to see what Nebula finds as a replacement hand. Will Nebula officially join the Guardians of the Galaxy and become one of the “good guys?” Or will her past keep her as the villain we know? Catch up on all of the Guardians of the Galaxy fun, including exclusive interviews from the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie + Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2:
- 50 Things I Learned On Set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Chris Pratt Interview
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Zoe Saldana Interview
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Dave Bautista Interview
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Michael Rooker Interview
- Vin Diesel Interview for Guardians of the Galaxy HERE
- My First Chris Pratt Interview for Guardians of the Galaxy HERE
- My First Zoe Saldana Interview for Guardians of the Galaxy HERE
- My First Dave Bautista Interview for Guardians of the Galaxy HERE
- My First Director James Gunn Interview for Guardians of the Galaxy HERE
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 blasts in theaters May 5, 2017. What do you think Nebula’s new hand will be?
I was invited to attend an all-inclusive press trip to the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in exchange for this posting. All Marvel-loving opinions are my own. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians via Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for more of your of the latest Disney movie updates!