'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' Stars on Competing With Baby Groot's Killer Cuteness

You knew from the closing moments of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy that director James Gunn had struck CGI gold with the introduction of Baby Groot, the diminutive Jackson 5-boogeying reincarnation of the Vin Diesel-voiced anthropomorphic tree. Sure enough, Baby Groot sees a growth spurt in screen time in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and he’s once again a major highlight.

Baby Groot is “completely adorable, and really works,” Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Star-Lord) told Yahoo Movies at the film’s Los Angeles press day (watch above). “And that was important in the execution of this film, just as it was important for Rocket [Raccoon] to work in the first movie. Because you’re giving these emotional lines to an animated character, and it’s really difficult sometimes for an animated character to evoke any emotional response from an audience.”

The tree tyke works so well he upstages his human counterparts. “Whenever you have to compete with cute little Baby Groot — it’s like you’re pouring your heart out in a scene — and you know this little tree is going to steal the scene,” said Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer, who has no patience for the twig). “It sucks, man… They’re not even paying attention [to you]. All they’re seeing is Groot’s big eyes and his innocent look, and they’re like, ‘Awww.'”

Gunn hinted that Baby Groot has a real-life influence: his young nephew, Will, “who has very big eyes and is cute. And I showed him a picture of Baby Groot for the first time, and he goes, ‘Oh, looks like me,'” the filmmaker revealed. “So I think there’s a lot of Will in there. But I think Baby Groot’s kind of just his own little animal.”

As Gunn put it: “He does have that very strong, super cuteness, super baby feel. Only he kills people.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens May 5.

Watch Chris Pratt riff on Star-Lord’s first words to the Avengers in Infinity War:

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