James may be the Gunn brother you most closely associate with the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- especially after his whirlwind reinstating as director of Guardians of the Galaxy 3 -- but Sean Gunn is an equally integral part of the super-franchise: Not only does he play Kraglin the Ravager, but he is the on-set actor for Rocket Raccoon in both Guardians movies, as well as Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. (You can see what that entails here.) As such, the Russo Brothers enlisted Sean to join their "We Love You 3000" tour to celebrate Endgame becoming the highest-grossing film of all time. "I am feeling absolutely loved 3,000," Gunn told ET during a recent stop. "And I'm giving it back 3,000."
With Endgame now available on Blu-ray and DVD, we hopped on the phone with Gunn to discuss what was cut from that climactic battle scene and get him to weigh in on rumors of Lady Gaga joining the cast of Guardians 3.
ET: Especially after seeing behind-the-scenes footage from Endgame, there's been this swell of newfound appreciation for the on-set work you do as Rocket.
Sean Gunn: Yes! I'm just taking it all in, actually. It's funny.
The Guardians cast must be used to you as Rocket by now, but how did the actors from the other franchises react when they saw you in your suit, walking around on your knees?
At the risk of sounding callous, I think you'd have to ask them. But I think that the hope is -- from my point of view -- that it looks a little weird for about a day and then you get used to it. It's one of the reasons that I'm there to play Rocket. It makes it more realistic, that the novelty of having a raccoon must be incredibly strange, but think for a minute and then you get used to it. And I think it's probably parallel to the novelty of a grown man crouching down and walking like an imbecile, but you get used to it very quickly and then it's just yet another thing you're dealing with on set. So, I think by the time we got to the scene that people see in the behind the scenes, I'd already worked with all those actors a lot, so by then, I think they were used to it, honestly.
My favorite stills I've seen are the ones of your face pressed against Hemsworth's prosthetic Lebowski stomach.
[Laughs] Yeah, that was delightful.
What are you thinking going into a day like that?
Well, it's a complicated process creating Rocket, and what works for me is to just approach it the way I approach any role. I try to experience the reality of it. What is strange to other people looking in, is not always as strange to the person experiencing it, you know? I have kind of built a career by being these weirdos, and I don't know what it says about me, but I don't see them as weirdos. [Laughs] I love those days on set, to give you the short answer, but I just try to find the realness in it.
Then you pulled double duty for the climatic all-hands-on-deck battle scene. I know the Russos talked about how they shot a lot more for that sequence and had to cut and reshape that battle as they went along. Did you film a character moment or a cool action bit for Kraglin that couldn't ultimately make it into the final cut?
Yes, I did. The stuff that I was able to shoot as Kraglin, I just think it was important from the standpoint that he was there to back up all his friends. He flew right in flying the ship and then he was there on the ground in the wider shot when we see the end of Tony. But I think Kraglin's presence means something.
Absolutely. Did you record any bits of dialogue with anyone on those days?
Very little. [Laughs] I didn't say much. It was mostly answering commands and things like that in the spaceship. But no, no big moment. Unfortunately, I didn't get reduced to tears as Kraglin. But maybe on the next one.
Who was on your spaceship with you? Or were you flying into battle solo?
Solo! It was a small ship.
You also played Rocket during the funeral sequence -- which is an incredible moment in the movie, but also just in how much must have gone into scheduling to make that happen.
Oh my god. I feel like that has to be a monumental moment in screen history. I mean, the sheer number of years of stardom and Oscar nominations and the years of service as actors that was in that single shot was mind-blowing.
I love the photo that Karen Gillan shared of everyone posing in their best formal attire and you're at the end with your stuffed Rocket and your gray sweats.
[Laughs] Man, I have the best day. I had the easiest day of hair and makeup. You know, I slip into my sweatsuit. I've still got bedhead from the night before. It's kind of the way to go.
I read that you did the tracking shot past all the heroes five or six times. Now, are you doing those for safety? Or with that many people on set, are you getting halfway through the line and then someone breaks and you have to start over?
No, no one's laughing there or anything, because that's a funeral scene. Five or six takes sounds right, and I think that is actually pretty remarkable to get it that quickly. Rhythm is everything in storytelling, so you're looking at how the camera's moving and the pace at which it's landing on everyone's faces. It's a tricky thing to get right, so I actually think five or six is pretty amazing. But it's like jazz, you want the rhythm to be perfect.
It looks like we won't be getting Guardians 3 until Phase 5. Is there somewhere you'd like to pop up in the meantime -- either as Kraglin or Rocket -- in one of the Phase 4 films or series?
Why, are you offering work? Is that what I'm hearing?
I'm always happy to and really grateful to be a part of the universe and when they call, I answer. That's all I can really say about that. I'm definitely excited to do Guardians 3 down the line.
Do you give James your wishlist as he's writing the script? Have there been things you've campaigned for or are campaigning for?
Never! Never! We're brothers, man, that's a sure way to not get what I ask for. It's funny but it's also kind of true. I'm respectful of that part of the process. He does his writing and when he's done, he gives it to me, then I'll tell him what I think or we'll work out stuff from there. But I like to let him do his thing when he's creating.
You probably can't say much -- if anything -- about what's coming, but a lot of fans were excited about the possibility of the Asgardians of the Galaxy. Now that we know Thor: Love and Thunder is coming before Guardians 3, do you think there is still a chance for a Thor crossover there?
I think that all those characters live in the same universe, so the idea that their paths might cross is not ridiculous, but I certainly can neither confirm nor deny any suggestion about when or where that might be.
Lastly, I have to ask, what did you think of the rumors that went around that Lady Gaga could join the MCU as Rocket's love interest?
Well, this is the first I'm hearing of it! So I'm intrigued. Tell me more. [Laughs] It doesn't sound well sourced. But we'll just leave it at that.