5 things you don’t know about Guardians’ Baby Groot

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - SANDY CO­HEN

LOS AN­GE­LES — Baby Groot was born at the end of the first “Guardians of the Gal­axy” film, and the ex­trater­res­trial, tree­like crea­ture is a tiny, scene-steal­ing su­per­hero in “Vol. 2.”

Voiced by Vin Diesel, the com­puter-gen­er­ated char­ac­ter can only say one thing — “I am Groot” — but it means ev­ery­thing, and his in­ter­ga­lac­tic com­rades al­ways seem to un­der­stand his (of­ten foul-mouthed) mes­sage.

Groot can grow his arms and legs into twisted branches that can open doors and draw­ers and pull him into and out of tight spots, but here are five things you don’t know about the adorable woodsy hu­manoid:

1. More than a screen star, Groot also ap­par­ently took on var­i­ous du­ties be­hind the cam­era. Stay tuned through the clos­ing cred­its of “Guardians, Vol. 2” to spot Groot’s con­tri­bu­tions through­out. “I am Groot” worked in graph­ics, spe­cial ef­fects and var­i­ous other de­part­ments. Groot’s name ap­pears through­out the cred­its, which are worth sit­ting through for the in­evitable Mar­vel movie-end­ing “Easter eggs” that hint at fu­ture ac­tion.

2. Baby Groot is an un­of­fi­cial Earth Day am­bas­sador. Mar­vel, which con­sid­ers Groot to be “the gal­axy’s top tree,” joined with the Dis­ney Con­ser­va­tion Fund and the Na­ture Con­ser­vancy to plant a tree ev­ery time the hash­tag #GrootDanceBomb shows up on so­cial me­dia. Mar­vel aims to do­nate $250,000 by the time the film opens Fri­day.

3. Baby Groot’s sweet ap­pear­ance be­lies his ter­ri­ble tem­per. “He’s com­pletely adorable, but has a lot more anger is­sues than adult Groot did,” says writer-di­rec­tor James Gunn.

4. Costar­ring along­side ac­tors Dave Bautista and Chris Pratt, who both stand over 6 feet, was a chal­lenge for the 10-inch-tall Baby Groot — and for the cin­e­matog­ra­phers fram­ing the shots. They used a sculp­ture of the diminu­tive char­ac­ter, which was cre­ated en­tirely in CGI for the film, and spe­cial cam­era rig­ging to cap­ture Baby Groot’s per­spec­tive amid the other superheroes.

5. Fran­chise star Pratt, who plays Guardians leader Star-Lord, knew early on in the film­ing that he could be up­staged. Dur­ing the open­ing se­quence, while the Guardians battle a mas­sive, multi-jawed space slug, the cam­era stays fo­cused on a danc­ing Baby Groot in the fore­ground. Gunn re­called Pratt look­ing over at the sculp­ture of Groot in the scene and say­ing, “Dam­nit, he’s go­ing to steal the whole movie.”

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Don’t let the big eyes fool you, Baby Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel, has a ter­ri­ble tem­per.

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