There are plenty of outlandish moments in Marvel Studios’ summer blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy (and if you haven’t seen it yet, be warned that the SPOILERS for the movie start immediately). But arguably the most gloriously weird scene in the film doubles as its climax: when Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) distracts villain Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) from destroying an entire planet by singing from and dancing to The Five Stairsteps’ “O-o-h Child.”
When recently asked about the outtake by BuzzFeed News, Pratt burst into laughter. “We were filming what was essentially, you know, the climax of the entire movie … and I was dancing,” he said, still laughing. “I was standing there … in front of 200 extras in full alien makeup. And none of them knew what the hell was happening either. They thought they were on a serious movie because of all the time and the effort that had been put into their makeup. So I just had this energy of, like, What am I doing?!”
Pratt said he didn’t work with a choreographer on the scene, nor did the script really specify how exactly he was supposed to be dancing. “But I did have a pretty good sense of the era from which I would be drawing dance moves, given that Quill draws all of his pop-culture references from a certain time frame of basically 1985 and earlier,” he said. “So I thought he wouldn’t necessarily be doing the Dougie because he wouldn’t know what that is. … I did some research on [’80s dancing], and it happens to be right in my dance wheelhouse anyways.”
At a certain point, Pratt said he just ad-libbed passing off the dancing to Gamora (Zoe Saldana). “I was just trying different things, because I was just so nervous that what we were doing wasn’t going to work,” he said, laughing again. (It’s best just to think of Pratt laughing through almost this entire interview.) “I’m not even sure whose idea it was, but they just sprung into the idea that we would [all] do the entire dance-off. … At that point, [we thought] if this whole thing doesn’t work, at least we’re going to have a helluva time and a lot of fun doing it.”
Fortunately for Pratt, the movie did work, enormously so. Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel Studios’ most successful franchise launch since the first Iron Man in 2008. It is the highest-grossing film in the U.S. so far this year (with $330.5 million at the box office), and the second highest worldwide (with $770.1 million). Marvel has naturally green-lit a sequel, with co-writer-director James Gunn returning, set for May 5, 2017. And if Pratt had any trepidation about what his character was doing on camera in the first film, that has long since disappeared.
“James has my utmost respect and trust,” he said. “I don’t even pretend to think that I would be the one who could best say what’s next for Quill. It’s so absolutely born out of his brain that I’m just looking forward to doing whatever he wants me to do, basically.” Even — or, perhaps, especially — if that includes busting a move on the battlefield.
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