Vin Diesel plays Groot in the new Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy! When getting this opportunity to interview him, I was ecstatic. Ever since watching the very first Fast & Furious I have crushed on him. I have always wanted to hug Vin Diesel but knew I had to keep the interview professional. By the end of the interview I was dancing and singing with him—literally. There is a video somewhere of this, I just don’t have it, so you have to take my word for it!
Let me paint a picture for you…Vin Diesel walks in the room and gets an EXTREME warm welcome from 25 Mommy/Dad bloggers. As the cheers happen, he mentions he needs to hear them again. He leaves and reenters the room saying, “You didn’t have to make me feel THAT good!” I am able to snap the picture below so I can cherish this moment forever.
Before watching the movie, I was told that the only line that Vin Diesel has in the movie is “I am Groot”. So of course I wonder how easy of a role this would be to play. I was surprised to find out that Diesel wore walking stilts and really got in character during the roll. As some of you may or may not be aware but when an actor plays a voice they are video recorded so that the movie/artist/CGI techs can help capture their expressions and emotions to add them to the character. So if you ask Diesel…”Who is Groot?” He is sure to answer…”I am Groot.”
Question: What attracted you to the role of Groot?
Vin: I come home. So. Um. 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 sent over — he had gone to Comic Con and they were asking him about — 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 — 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. Jump cut to: they’ve seen the movie.
They’re 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 — we all want to share Jackson 5 with our kids, right? But what better way to do it than Baby Groot? So, it became one of those things where it was — 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, I — 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’d — 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?
I mean, in the best sense, when we take our kids to the movies, if we can walk out of there and have — I mean, Bambi was that, right? Or, you know, when people came out of “Iron Giant,” there was the whole discussion of the deer, and, you know, death, and what that was like, and it was an opportunity for kids to talk. But the idea of sacrifice at the end, which Groot is demonstrating is — that’s a wonderful conversation to have with our kids.
So, 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.
Questions: I just wanted to know if you had any influence working with the effects guys in the way that Groot moves?
Vin: 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.
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: Besides “Fast and the Furious 7,” do you have any projects coming up that we can see you in?
Vin: 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, whenever — when Dame 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.
***Then it was time for a picture. Vin lead all of us to singing…”Hooked on a feeling…” Vin left letting us all know, “I love the mommy bloggers. You know mommies are the first super heroes you guys.”***
A man of few words but his character said so much.