'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2': All You Need to Know About Breakout Star Pom Klementieff

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Dave Bautista and Pom Klementieff as Drax and Mantis in GOTG Vol. 2 (Disney)
Pom Klementieff and Dave Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. (Photo: Disney)

In a cast full of scene-stealers inGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Pom Klementieff still manages to make a big impression. The actress plays Mantis, an antennaed alien who doesn’t quite understand social norms — much like Drax (Dave Bautista), with whom she forms a hilariously awkward friendship. Mantis is also an empath who can sense the secret emotions of others, which plays into the larger plot about families lost and found. It’s a breakout role for Klementieff, 30, who seems to have come out of nowhere (when in fact, she came from France). Here’s everything you need to know about Pom Klementieff.

Pom Klementieff at the premiere of <em>Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2</em> on April 19. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Pom Klementieff at the premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on April 19. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

She’s a French actress with a Korean mother and a French-Russian father.

Klementieff had an usual upbringing as the daughter of a consul; born in Quebec, she lived all around the world before beginning her professional acting career in France. Her first film was 2007’s Apres lui (After Him), in which she played Catherine Deneuve’s character’s stepdaughter.

Her first English-language film was Spike Lee’s 2013 thriller Oldboy, in which she played the villain’s scantily clad bodyguard.

Klementieff prepared for her audition by taking boxing lessons, which impressed director Lee. She was still a nervous wreck when she had to fight co-star Josh Brolin. “He was coming toward me like he was a bull, and I had to be careful not to hit him in the face, because he’s the lead in the movie! If he has a bruise because of you — oh, my God!” Klementieff told SheKnows. She also wasn’t crazy about her Oldboy wardrobe. “It was weird being half-naked,” she admitted. “But with Spike Lee, you do anything he tells you to do. You trust him.”

OLDBOY, Pom Klementieff, 2013
Pom Klementieff in Oldboy, 2013 (Photo: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/©FilmDistrict/courtesy of Everett Collection)

James Gunn cast her as Mantis after a long search.

Gunn, who famously took a chance on the unproven Chris Pratt as his leading man in the first Guardians film, cast Klementieff after multiple auditions, including some “chemistry reads” with other cast members. Once cast, she helped shape the direction of the character, steering her away from the overtly sexual portrayal in some of the comics. “I think we’re creating something different,” she told Screenrant during a set visit.

You haven’t seen the last of her.

Klementieff will reprise her role as Mantis in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War and is likely to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (the date of which hasn’t been announced). She’ll also be appearing in August in the indie comedy Ingrid Goes West, alongside Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen.

Pom Klementieff describes how the character of Mantis appealed to her:

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