Groot — whether a delightful baby sapling, a rebellious teenage tree, or the botanical badass who stole every scene of Guardians of the Galaxy — is a fan favorite of the MCU. The Marvel breakout brought to life by star Vin Diesel, who plays Rocket Raccoon's buddy and plant of few words, even stunned his co-stars, including seven-time Oscar nominee and Guardians of the Galaxy's own Nova Prime Irani Rael, Glenn Close.
At the junket for his upcoming non-Marvel superhero film Bloodshot, Diesel told SYFY WIRE that stretching the boundaries of what a comic book character could be has been an important component for his blockbuster role selection. Bloodshot is a complex character, but nothing's as challenging as getting emotional payoffs from an alien tree. It even impressed a costar with a distinguished resume outside of the superhero world.
“I remember coming out of Guardians of the Galaxy," the actor remembered, "and Glenn Close saying ‘Who would agree to do three monosyllabic words — and then make people cry in the theater? Who would agree to that?’”
Diesel also explained the story behind his casting, and his newfound relationship with the character, to SYFY WIRE. Asked about his son's role in choosing Groot, Diesel explained that now he's taken much of his personal superhero origin story to heart.
"Marvel sent over a book of superheroes. And [my son] pointed to this tree and I looked at him like 'Really?'" Diesel said. "He was only 3 years old. And I’m like, OK, he’s saying something here. He’s saying something here. I go off and think, ‘Does my son think that I’m the vassal of nature?’" It's an odd, childlike notion to pick a tree as a hero — but there's a beauty in it for Diesel and his family.
"I remember, it’s so funny now that I'm thinking about it, I remember we’d be driving up at the country house and every time we’d see a tree he’d say, ‘Look, Dad, your brothers and sisters.’ So because of that — and because the group has been such a delightful experience and a delightful association — I learned to, when we are thinking superheroes, to trust the wisdom of our youth.”
That wisdom won't be dormant for long, as Groot looks to return to the big screen when filmmaker James Gunn returns to helm the third Guardians of the Galaxy film — aimed to start production later this year.
Reporting by Tara Bennett