Summer movie preview: Karen Gillan takes villainous turn in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

First Published      Last Updated Apr 24 2014 09:30 am

'Guardians of the Galaxy'

It's fun to be bad, Karen Gillan says.

"You get to just really indulge in that evil side," Gillan told an audience last week at Salt Lake Comic Con's FanX. "You don't have to worry about finding redeeming qualities in your character."

Gillan, best known for her role as the fiery companion Amy Pond on the BBC science-fiction series "Doctor Who," makes a big splash this summer in "Guardians of the Galaxy," the latest movie from Marvel Comics universe, opening Aug. 1.

In this spacegoing adventure, she plays Nebula, part of an evil gang alongside the nasty Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace).

"We go around antagonizing everybody, and making life difficult for the Guardians," she said in an interview backstage after her FanX appearance. "And Nebula's cool because she has a cybernetic eye and arm."

When Gillan's agent approached her about the role, she said, "the first question was, 'Are you willing to shave your head?… It's for a Marvel film.' I honestly thought there's no way I'm going to get it."

Shaving her trademark ginger tresses was a big change, and "for the transformational aspect of it, it was just what I want as an actor," Gillan said. "It was perfect for me, because it made me feel like a different person. It made me feel intimidating for the first time in my life."

Part of playing Nebula involved training for a spectacular fight scene with one of the Guardians, Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana).

Gillan's advice for the FanX crowd: "First of all, never fight with Zoe Saldana." Backstage, she added, "It took me two months to learn a sequence that took her two days. … The time and effort that goes into a Marvel [action sequence] is insane."

Being in "Guardians of the Galaxy" also means Gillan — who made her American film debut this April with the horror movie "Oculus" — is now part of the ever-expanding Marvel universe.

"They sent me this letter saying, 'Welcome to the Marvel family,' and I'm having it framed. It means that much to me," she said. "It's the coolest thing ever."