Baby Groot may be small, but he sure can hold his own. After all, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opened with our pint-sized hero dancing around casually while the rest of the team took on the giant Abilisk — that takes some guts.
However, during a panel discussion at the Heroes & Villains Fan Fest in London this weekend, Yondu actor Michael Rooker revealed that Baby Groot had a far more difficult time behind the scenes than he ever did fighting off the likes of Ego.
It all started when the star was asked what his favorite Yondu scenes were in the Marvel franchise. Unsurprisingly, Rooker revealed that one of his highlights was the sequence where Baby Groot tried to help Yondu and Rocket escape their cell, hilariously bringing them the wrong object each time.
Rooker explained to the audience that:
"His [Groot] memory doesn't really work very well and I don't think he understands my language, so it's very difficult for him to get what I'm trying to tell him. He [Groot] keeps bringing back these different objects. Its a hilarious scene, a beautifully crafted scene, and probably one of the most technically difficult to do in the movie."
Agreed. The way in which Baby Groot tries his hardest to help out Yondu and Rocket is both heart-breaking and hilarious in equal measure. However, what most people might not realise is how difficult it was to film scenes like this with CGI characters. After all, as Rooker himself said;
"They are not real. The only other person who's there with me is Sean Gunn doing the lines for Rocket for me. It was very interesting and quite difficult [to shoot]."
Fortunately for Rooker though, help was on hand to try and make the acting experience as realistic as possible — which was admittedly difficult, given that he was working alongside a talking raccoon and a dancing sapling. Instead of simply imagining Groot's presence, the crew working behind the scenes of #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy Vol. 2 would actually create replicas for him to act against.
Michael Rooker revealed that:
"They have little puppets. Baby Groot would walk in and he'd be stuck on a stick. The puppeteer would walk him in like he walks in the movie."
So far, so good. However, this also meant that the puppets were sometimes subjected to the same sort of abuse that Vin Diesel's teeny character endured in the film.
Remember when The Ravagers toyed with Baby Groot and poured liquid over his head? People say Thanos is a Mad Titan, but nothing made us madder than seeing everyone's favorite version of Groot tormented like that. Sadly, the puppet endured similar treatment on set during this scene.
Michael Rooker relayed how this went down, explaining that:
"They even soaked him [Baby Groot] down in one take, so when he walked in, they would be sloshing water and leaving a trail... so that my response to Baby Groot would be as natural as possible."
While it's tempting to call #Marvel out for lying to us in the film's final disclaimer, "No raccoons or tree creatures were harmed during the making of this film," the reality is that the Baby Groot puppet didn't suffer too much. After all, as Rooker himself said during his panel;
"Let me break it to you. They are not real. I'm the only person. The only other person who's there with me is Sean Gunn doing the lines for Rocket with me."
There you have it, folks. Sure, Baby #Groot's puppet may not have had the best of times on set, but things would have been a whole lot worse if Ego had gotten his wish and remade the galaxy in his image. Fortunately, that's what the Guardians are there for... Well, when they're not dancing or taking their clothes off, that is.
Do you prefer Baby Groot or Adult Groot? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!