This was shortly followed by him speaking to the LA Times:
"As an actor, not everything has to be the most obvious choice.
And sometimes, the best thing you can do — as far as Steven Spielberg and his advice — is to defy expectations. So if everybody thinks you’re going to go for this one thing and you flip it entirely and go for the strangest Marvel character, it’s interesting. And when something is interesting, it’s inspiring."
"That’s the thing — I’m so busy. The audience wanted Vin and Marvel, Vin and Marvel. But I’m too busy to do a six-month role. So what Marvel came up with was really interesting. … I am watching a social wave influence and in some ways guide their thinking."
Similar to The Hulk, Groot is known for having a limited vocabulary and in the comic-books has only ever stated:
"I am Groot."
It's unknown if Groot's speaking role will be expanded upon, yet it would be safe to presume that by the limited involvement of Diesel in the project, the character will not be re-imagined as a talkative woodland sidekick.
I'm in danger of repeating what I wrote about The Lone Ranger and the dangerous path that Hollywood is treading. I cannot fathom why Marvel Studios have taken the decision to sign Vin Diesel for such a limited role. As he's merely voicing the character in a small capacity and is in no way involved in the motion capture of the character, why is a studio that is intent on reducing costs hiring such a high profile actor? I can't imagine that by having Vin Diesel's name attached to the film, this will somehow transform the project into a box-office juggernaught.
This resonates with the ridiculous inclusion of voice talent in recent animated films. They hire as many celebrities as possible, cram them into a film as the voices of minor characters and are surprised when the film tanks at the box-office.
Furthermore, the cost of the animation borders on equaling that of a small nation. An absurd amount of money to feed the bottomless void of talentless talent.
Traditional film trailers for animated features have focused on outlining the narrative and highlighting the key aspects of the characters.
However, in recent years trailers for animations have instead focused on the voice actors involved in the film by revolving around a very long and very boring list of actors, musicians and minor celebrities.It's a direction that, from a logical standpoint, makes little to no sense. Children do not care if Queen Latifa is voicing a parrot or if Lady Gaga is playing a chirpy chipmonk. All children care about is if the film is good fun, an opinion also shared by parents. Since the dawn of cinema, parents around the globe have been pushed, prodded and kicked to go and see the dreaded children's movie. With their beloved snottlings, parents have witnessed princes and princesses, talking animals and banal musical segments. Indeed, the first film that my Great Grandfather saw was 101 Dalmations. Disgusted by animated dogs and an energetic audience of smelly children, he dragged my poor, enraptured father out of the screening so that he could spend the rest of the afternoon with a bottle of whiskey. With the arrival of Pixar, the landscape of animated children's films completely changed for the better.
It saw a revival of fantastic storytelling, quality voice actors and above all, a highly enjoyable plot. This marked a new era, as the parent became the one who pushed, prodded and kicked to go to see the film.
In recent years, there has been a slump in quality and a rise in quantity of CG animations.
We are once again teetering on the edge of an abismal void of lack luster storytelling, fart jokes and animated merchandise. While Vin Diesel is not on a par with Snooky voicing a sunbathing chimp, it further enhances the principle that the actor has not been chosen to bring to life the animated character. Diesel will in no way be involved in the character's physical presence on screen as he will not be a part of the character's motion capture. Instead, Diesel is simply muttering: "I am Groot".
As outlined in my previous article, Hollywood is heading in a direction that is seeing the costs spiral out of control. Spearheaded by Robert Downey Jr, Marvel Studios was recently criticised for it's firm grasp on costs and was featured in a well publised conflict with the cast of The Avengers.
It has been estimated that should the wage demands of the cast be met, The Avengers Age of Ultron will have to gross over $1 billion to break even.
In the wake of the success of Fast 5 and Fast 6, I can't help thinking that to purchase an association with the Vin Diesel brand will have come at an inflated cost.
For a studio who is keen on keeping costs to a minimum and who has a focus on delivering a quality product, I do not understand why they have not hired a band of unknown actors who have an onscreen chemistry and are an embodiment of the fictitious creatures. Much like Star Wars or how so many other projects of this nature have been cast, groups of actors were brought together and screen tested as a group. Successful applicants were hired as a unit as opposed to individuals thrown together. This resulted in a magical onscreen bond that is impossible to replicate through sheer luck. Guardians of the Galaxy requires traditional method actors in certain roles, who as a group, would run bare arse naked through woodlands to prepare for their roles.
By prancing around as trees or raccoons, it will bring a flare of authenticity to the roles, as the actors will become their roles, opposed to actors playing their roles.
This is a major factor as to why certain roles fail to engage audiences. In the first three Indiana Jones films, Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones.
In the Crystal Skull, Harrison Ford is merely playing Indiana Jones.
This is a vital difference between success and failure and while the performance of Groot may not be hindered by Diesel's involvement, it may signal the direction that Rocket Raccoon is headed.
Much like the characters King Kong or Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, as an audience we cared little for who was providing the voice of the character or who was involved in the motion capture process.
All we were/are interested in is if the character is engaging and entertaining.
I firmly believe that this should extend to Groot and Rocket Raccoon, yet I hope I am wrong and that luck will play it's part in the casting of the characters.