Actor Kurt Russell is on board for the upcoming Marvel comic book movie “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”
Studio Marvel announced that the “The Hateful Eight” actor is appearing in the film, which is a sequel to the 2014 box office hit about people living in space, including Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and raccoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper), who become a superhero ensemble.
The new movie is set to come out in the summer of 2017.
Marvel also revealed in its announcement that Elizabeth Debicki of “The Great Gatsby,” “Oldboy” actress Pom Klementieff, and “The Knick” actor Chris Sullivan have joined the production.
Fans are of course wondering whether Russell has signed on to portray the father of Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord, the identity of whom is currently a secret. Marvel’s summary of the film reads, “'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.”
Russell has also appeared in such films as “Escape from New York,” “The Thing,” and “Death Proof.”
While Marvel superhero movies are led by actors such as Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Paul Rudd, the films have also brought on various well-known actors to play supporting roles, either as villains or other key players, and some of the casting decisions have even seemed like messages to the audience in a meta fashion.
When Robert Redford was cast in the 2014 movie “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” for example, he was appearing in the Marvel film that had the same mood and some of the same elements as the 1970s political thrillers the actor had appeared in such as “All the President’s Men.”
“Directors Anthony and Joe Russo have acknowledged that ‘The Winter Soldier,’ which finds Captain America (Chris Evans) dealing with a deadly new enemy and cloak-and-dagger intrigue, draws its inspiration from 1970s political thrillers, a genre that once provided Redford's bread and butter,” Los Angeles Times writer Oliver Gettell wrote. “’The Winter Soldier’ finds Redford paying homage to those roles and – spoiler alert – playing against them.”
Meanwhile, actor Anthony Hopkins came on board to portray superhero Thor’s father, Odin, in the Marvel films. Thor, Odin, and others in their kingdom have an old-fashioned, formal way of talking and dress in capes and armor. Hopkins is known for, among other projects, having appeared as King Lear onstage and portraying monarch Claudius in a 1969 film version of “Hamlet.” (In addition, the first “Thor” film was directed by Kenneth Branagh, who has directed various Shakespeare film projects.)
“It’s a superhero movie, but with a bit of Shakespeare thrown in,” Hopkins told MTV at the time. “It’s a big, big broad thing. This is a bit of a Shakespeare movie as well, on a big scope.”
One of Russell’s most famous roles is in “Escape from New York,” which takes place in a dystopian United States and features protagonist Snake Plissken (Russell) encountering various colorful characters such as the Duke of New York (Isaac Hayes) and a person known as Cabbie (Ernest Borgnine). Unusual people living in a science fiction setting certainly echoes elements of “Guardians.”
Russell’s experience in the sci-fi genre had been noted by critics back when the actor's appearance in “Guardians” was only a possibility, with Vulture writer Jackson McHenry writing, “Seemingly doubling down on his commitment to pulpy, old-fashioned sci-fi, [‘Guardians’ director] James Gunn wants Kurt Russell (‘Escape From New York,’ ‘The Thing,’ ‘Stargate’) to play Chris Pratt's father in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’” while Silas Lesnick of the website ComingSoon.net noted when discussing the possibility of Russell being cast that “Russell, who stars in this month’s ‘The Hateful Eight,’ is no stranger to science fiction, having headlined notable genre entries such as John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ and Roland Emmerich’s ‘Stargate.’”