Vin Diesel Guardians Interview: Why I Am Groot
I felt pretty prepared for every other Guardians of the Galaxy Interview, all except this one. The last interview of the day, the last interview of my dream Disney trip, and I was pretty nervous. And it’s not just because Vin Diesel is a huge name in the industry, or that I didn’t do my research. I think that I was the most nervous on how he was going to receive “the mommy bloggers.” To say I was surprised by our Vin Diesel Interview would be an understatement. And it all started the moment he walked into the room and with a huge smile and hands up in the air, he exclaimed…”Oh, Mommies!!!”
I think you could feel the whole room exhale as soon as he said those 2 words. The guy’s smile was just infectious. Relaxed and laughing, Vin Diesel shared with us about accepting his role, becoming an iconic Marvel character and family.
What do YOU love about being Groot? What attracted you to the role?
I come home. So, 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 had gone to Comic Con and they were asking him — 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, someone delivers this huge book of conceptual art. [Hand motions for a gigantic sized book] 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.
Jump cut to: they’ve seen the movie.
They’re singing all of the songs in the house. I wanted to share the music with them, like we all want to share — 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.
But the best thing about having played this role is something I never would have anticipated as an actor. I never would’ve seen
this coming. I knew when I did the voice of Iron Giant that it would be cool for my kids to say “my dad is the Iron Giant.” But I didn’t anticipate what the effect would be from playing Groot, and this is what it’s been.
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, and them thinking — and how appropriate. What a beautiful thing. And something you would never even think is possible. I mean, we’ve never seen trees in that light. I mean, we, I guess, in 1939, when “The Wizard of Oz” came out, there was a little something us people that kind of saw that saw, you know, okay, the tree can have some kind of feelings, if they’re pulling apples from the tree. This, I feel, has gone to the next level. And I never thought…I never thought I’d be so proud of it. But you know, in some ways, Groot is nature’s ambassador, and there’s something beautiful about that. And just the idea of talking about, for me, you know, movies should promote or provoke conversation, right?
Did you have any influence with the effects in the way that Groot moves?
What they did, and what they do a lot now, is that they film you while you’re recording, and they’ll try to pull — they’ll save some for references, and they’ll try to pull some mannerisms, and try to incorporate that. What I did is, I went into the recording booth as a seven-and-a-half foot tree, in essence. I was wearing jumping stilts while I was recording. Kinda crazy. They had to adjust the mic, and they had never had to do that before. And it was pretty intense. And it was one of those things that I started doing last year, because I just wanted — sometimes, you don’t need a whole lot. You just need one thing, or a few things, that get you into character, that get you into the spirit of the character. And what I wanted to do is be seven-and-a-half feet tall, and I was seven-and-a-half feet tall, and it felt like I was adding something.
Was it your choice to go “in character” like this?
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, “[Insert explicative] 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.
Besides “Fast and the Furious 7,” do you have any projects coming up that we can see you in?
I am about to do a movie called “The Last Witch Hunter” about a 700-year old New Yorker. And I feel sometimes like I’m close to 700 years old. It is going to be very cool, and we just cast Michael Caine. Which is for me, you know when Judi Dench did “Chronicles of Riddick” or when I had the opportunity to work with the late Sidney Lumet for “Find Me Guilty,” it’s always a big deal when I get to work with people that I’ve been such fans of for so long. So I’m just so excited to see what happens when the camera starts rolling, and it’s me and Michael Caine. You just know it’s gonna be good.
And you would think the interview is going to end there. A few handshakes and a group picture and we’d be on our way. But no. Vin took the time to bust out in full on karaoke rendition of “Hooked on a Feeling” with our group. We told him emphatically to get a Twitter account. And then the biggest surprise of all, he said this:
I love the mommy bloggers. You know mommies are the first super heroes, you guys.
To see another side of Vin Diesel and share it with you has been amazing, surprising and had me missing my kids. Being Groot is more than just a role he plays. It’s a part of his legacy that he wants to leave for his children. I thought it appropriate to leave you with this final quote from Vin and our interview. It really just sums up Why Vin IS Groot.
It’s been really special, and it’s, you know, I do movies that are not necessarily for kids. So, to do this and to be able to share this with the little ones, and for them to be so excited about it and so proud of it, and to think of trees differently. They will never look at a tree the same way. No one will, after this.
Guardians of the Galaxy will be released in theaters on August 1, 2014.
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Missed the fun? Check out my other exclusive Guardians of the Galaxy Interviews!
- Chris Pratt, aka Star-Lord HERE
- Zoe Saldana, aka Gamora HERE
- Dave Bautista, aka Drax HERE
- Director James Gunn HERE
Disclosure ~ I received a free trip of a lifetime from Disney as media to conduct this interview. All opinions here are my own and I’m still just freaking over the fact that he told me my shirt was cool. Be sure to follow Saving Said Simply via Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for more reviews, giveaways and more.