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Chukwudi Iwuji Talks ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’, Playing the High Evolutionary & More – Interview

We had the privilege of speaking with Chukwudi Iwuji about his role in the highly-anticipated film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, now showing in theaters. Iwuji, a British-Nigerian actor, has an impressive background in film, television, and stage productions. He has worked with James Gunn before, most recently appearing in a recurring role on the HBO Max series Peacemaker.

Iwuji’s career has been marked by a diverse range of roles, from his breakout performance as Hamlet in the Public Theater’s production of Hamlet in 2018 to his work on popular TV shows such as When They See Us and The Underground Railroad. He has also appeared in notable films such as John Wick: Chapter 2 and The Fifth Estate.

With his exceptional range and impressive track record, Iwuji is poised to make a lasting impact on the entertainment industry, and we were privileged to gain insight into his experiences, particularly in regard to his work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as the High Evolutionary.

Check out the interview with Chukwudi Iwuji below:

With all of the different characters that Iwuji has portrayed throughout his career, I asked him what inspiration he used to find his character. Iwuji said, “Apart from this incredible script that gave me all the pointers and gave me a lot of direction within the language, you know, at the end of the day, I’m an actor who’s grown up on movies. And I’ve seen them and have my inspirations in actors like Gary Oldman, Peter O’Toole, and Denzel [Washington], Viola [Davis]. You know, people who ground–it doesn’t matter how big the role is or their performance is, it’s always grounded and based in truth. And I had this grandest of characters to bring to life. He’s a mixture of a James Bond villain and mad scientist, and doctor. He’s all these things, and James said to me, ‘Ground him. Make him real.’ So, that was it. I let my imagination play, I followed the trajectory, I had great lines in it, you know what I mean?”

I wanted to find out what Iwuji thought about the filming process and working with this ensemble cast, but especially what it was like working with CGI creatures and if he experienced any challenges with that on set.

“I was lucky that a lot of my interaction, as you know, in the movie’s with Rocket, and that’s played by Sean Gunn. Sean played Rocket, and he’s done it throughout the movies. So having him there, having a set of eyes look back at me, and me being able to do what I believe acting really is, which is reacting more than acting, was very helpful.”

Chukwudi Iwuji Talks 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3', Playing the High Evolutionary & More! - Interview
Chukwudi Iwuji as the High Evolutionary. (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)

Since Gunn likes to have music on set and the use of music throughout the Guardians franchise has such impact and importance to the films, it was great to hear Iwuji’s response to the use of music in the film.

Iwuji said, “And you mentioned the music, and the music is such a big part. And James, he plays the music on set. So the music that’s going to play in the movie, he will play it. So if you know James plays this amazing piece of music, and then he says, ‘Oh, by the way, this is going to be in slow motion.’ Oh, that does something to you as an actor because you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be walking in slow motion.’ You know? That adds fun to it. But a big factor is laughter, like there was so much laughter on set, even though it goes to very dark places because people are really happy to be there.”

Since this is Gunn’s final Marvel film (for now, at least), I ended the interview by asking Iwuji if he felt any particular pressure playing the final villain in this last chapter of the Guardians saga.

Iwuji said, “If there was pressure, it’s your usual actor’s imposter syndrome. Pressure that came from me out there was not from the outside, and because James showed his faith in me by giving me this coveted role that he could have given to anyone, you know? The rest of the cast was so welcoming, saying, ‘Oh, we’ve all heard about you from James. We’re excited to work with you.’ From Kevin down, it just seemed like everyone was ready for us to bring this thing home. But the only pressure I felt is that usual pressure of going, ‘This is a great franchise. I hope it’s not me that brings it down.'”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now playing in theaters.

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