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James Gunn asked Chukwudi Iwuji to play major GOTG3 role right off Peacemaker dance floor
"It was one of the few genuine times of my life where I was speechless," Iwuji recalled.
If you’re watching Peacemaker — James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad spinoff that focuses on John Cena’s eponymous character who fights for peace, no matter who he has to kill to get it — you’ve no doubt enjoyed the earnestly elaborate opening dance number, where the actors dance to Wig Wam’s “Do You Wanna Taste It.”
Chukwudi Iwuji, who plays the character Murn on the show, had even more on his mind that day besides remembering his moves — the day they shot the dance sequence was also the day that James Gunn offered him his mysterious major role in Marvel’s The Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
“I was talking to Jennifer Holland [who plays Emilia Harcourt on Peacemaker] and James came up to us and said, ‘Do you two want to come see the last take of the sequence?’” Iwuji revealed in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “And then James said, ‘Oh, by the way, I want to talk to you about something….I want you to be [Iwuji omits character] in Guardians of the Galaxy 3,’ which I can’t say, sadly, because I can’t say the character. So that’s how it happened. I literally went from dancing on the soundstage to James saying, “Come over here, I want you to be in Guardians of the Galaxy 3.”
Gunn brought Iwuji onto Guardians early on in the Peacemaker production, and he and Gunn did a screen test for the Marvel higher ups to seal the deal. “[James Gunn had] written this script four years ago, so it was literally his first chance to hear it,” Iwuji said. “So for me, it was like workshopping a new play. We did these two or three scenes and we spent almost three hours on it. They built a set. There was a camera. It was intense. He put me through the wringer and I left nothing down. We did it. So it was up to him and Kevin [Feige] and the powers that be to decide if it’s what they wanted, and thankfully, it was what they wanted and here we are.”
Details about Iwuji’s GOTG3 character have remained tightly under wraps, though Iwuji did provide a vague description, calling his Marvel character “extremely powerful” and “complex.”
“James and I were talking about it, but he’s certainly one of, if not the most complex characters we’ve seen in the freaking Marvel universe,” he continued. “So he’s deeply complex and deeply powerful, and I hope intriguing. I hope I bring that to it.”
We’ll finally (finally!) find out Iwuji’s character and see his intriguing performance when Guardians of the Galaxy 3 premieres in theaters on May 23, 2023.