It's been a month since my trip to Tokyo, Japan. How did I get there? Disney invited Tribunnews to attend the media junket of its newly released Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the next sequel of the previous Guardians of the Galaxy. I got the chance to spend an afternoon with the director, James Gunn, and the casts, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Dave Bautista, sitting behind the lens and having unusual chat. I spent three days and two nights in the beautiful and vibrant city, to be exact in one of its luxurious five-star hotel. Just keep reading to know how the experience went.
Day 1: Pre-screening + Red Carpet Event
On the first day, I was invited to a pre-screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in Disney Company Headquarter in Tokyo. The pre-screening actually showed some notable 20-minute scenes of the film and, to be honest, even that was already entertaining for me. At that time, I met some international journalists and media crews from all across Asia. I quickly made friends with some TV announcers from Malaysia and Vietnam.
In the evening, we gathered again to attend the red carpet event. The event took place in an outdoor running stadium and it was fucking freezing as the sky became darker. But the crowd heated up anyway, as James, Chris, Dave, and Zoe walked onto the carpet. Everyone was literally going crazy. The cosplay people were screaming their name, the media crews were busy with the mics and cameras, and even the folks from Disney joined us to take photos and videos.
That moment became the very first time I saw Chris Pratt off-screen. He was standing not far from me and throwing smiles at anybody. I also couldn't believe my eyes for seeing the real-life Gamora walked on the carpet, looking all beautiful with her all-black outfit. As they got closer, the media crews became even more excited, taking pictures and screaming short questions. At that moment, I chose to just enjoy my time behind the crowds and take a lot of pictures and videos. Well, it's my first red carpet event ever, so it's great to really enjoy the view and feel the crazy moment.
I also spent a lot of time observing each one of the guest stars. Turns out James is a really warm and friendly guy, who kept on saying "hi" to the media people and kindly responded to almost all questions and shout-out requests. Dave is a kind of serious person but acted nice to everyone around him. Zoe, while being elegantly beautiful, is also loud and crazy, as she repeatedly screamed excitedly at her fans and couldn't stop admiring some cosplay girls imitating Gamora. Chris Pratt, however... is ultimately one handsome and humble goofball.
Day 2: Exclusive Interview
The second day was the day I've been prepared for: the interview day. Mind you that days before my departure to Tokyo, I was already being told about my possibility to interview the casts. A colleague of mine who joined Doctor Strange junket last year said Disney usually gives exclusive interviews. But on the junket he joined, he was signed up for a roundtable interview, along with other journalists. From that information, I prepared myself for that kind of collective interview.
However, turns out I ended up being signed up for 1:1 interview with the casts. Like, literally face-to-face interview. And when the Disney people told me about that, just minutes before the interviews, I was freaking the shit out. Because I only prepared myself for the collective roundtable interview. But still I had to suck it up anyways and said a weak "okay".
The day was saved by Wikipedia. I just browsed for some materials and ended up finding interesting facts about the film and the casts. I also read some articles on exclusive interview with the casts to prepare myself more. But, still, the quick preparation was overwhelming because apparently I was so nervous about the interview, hungry because I haven't had lunch, exhausted because I didn't really have enough sleep, and having brain freeze from 8 degree celsius.
The first person I got to interview was James Gunn, the director. I shook his hand, then mentioned my name and my country of origin. "Ah, Indonesia!," he said then. I was really nervous and my head even spaced out the minute I sat in front him. But, then his charming smile pulled me back to Planet Earth again and I started the interview by congratulating him on his new film. Then, I went on with the questions, which at first I just read it out from my phone.
Turns out James is really warm and engaging, so the conversation just flowed. I like the way he really listened to everything I said and responded without hesitation. He was also quite chatty, so he made everything really easy for me. I ended up to not really read everything on my phone and just focused on what he said and what else I wanted to know. I decided to spend the last minutes in that interview room to take a picture with him. When I asked him about that, again he said "yes" without hesitation. Someone in that room took my phone and James hugged me while posing.
The next person is Chris Pratt. The LO told me that I only have around two minutes to move from James's interview room to Chris's. Thank God I already prepared questions for Chris way before the interview schedule. When I entered the room, Chris was just finished sipping on his Starbucks coffee and checking his iPhone. I approached him to shake his hand while saying, "Hi, I'm Ruth", but I got a brief hug instead. My mind was blown up. Seconds after he pulled away, I was just stood there with a blank head, then walked slowly to the seat in front of him.
He actually already responded to my introduction with a "hi", but yet he then asked me, "What's your name again?". When I mentioned my name again, he asked, "Groot?", the name of a character in the film. And from that moment, he would repeatedly and jokingly call me "Little Groot", as what he said: "Cause you're so little and cute you remind me of Baby Groot!". He even still called me "Little Groot" after the interview, whenever we bumped into each other in the corridor.
Overall, he was a sweet and funny guy. He always joked whenever he could, while at times was also being serious on answering my questions. I like how he always showed appreciation and was really humble on anything.
Again, I used the last minutes to take a photo, but this time no one seemed to care to help me. Then I just asked Chris whether he wanted to take a selfie instead and explained to him that I was unable to take a selfie for my arms were too short to take us both in a frame. Because he is really tall and big! With my short arm, I would only be able to take a picture of me and his wide-ass chest. "Yes, of course! Oh, please let me hold your phone!" he said. From what I've ever read, I knew that Chris isn't really keen on selfies, especially with his fans, so I found the selfie moment really exceptional.
Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista became the last people I got to interview that day. For this last interview, my mind had already calmed down and more likely to relax. Also, I got much time to wait for my turn to interview, so I could really rest my nervous self. After facing two interviews with only one interviewee, this time I finally wasn't really alone, because I got both Zoe and Dave in one interview.
Again, I shook their hands while introducing myself, then sat in front of them. At first, I was kinda nervous about Dave, because I thought he wasn't really an outgoing person, in contrast with Zoe, Chris, and James. But, turns out Dave was really warm and quite talkative. When he was talking, his eyes would give some kind of warms and loving look. Whatever he would put his eyes on, it would be like he was admiring it. Zoe, however, was an honest and open person. Compared to Dave, she definitely talked more than Dave, and I can see why both of them was mixed in one interview.
Many people who have already watched my interview videos asked me that how come I acted so calm and behaved while interviewing them. Even a friend of mine said that it seemed like I didn't really look excited during the interview. Disclaimer: it's definitely not like that. The thing is, deep down inside, I was screaming excitedly like crazy that if I didn't hold myself harder, I would exactly squeal like some crazy-ass fan-girl in front of them. I am a fan of the film, so what can I say? I even freaked out when I was told that I had a chance to interview them face-to-face.
But then again, I have to remember that I was working there. The interview was part of my job because I was there as a journalist. So, apparently, I had to hold whatever over-excitement I have in me so that I could just sit there with a sober mind and did the interview professionally (at least that's what I tried to do). What you see in the video is me trying to keep calm and keep my head straight to the questions and answers. Besides, the interview was under five minutes, so clearly I didn't have time to do anything other than asking questions.
And to keep my head straight in such short period was freaking hard! Between the talks, I sometimes felt a little dizzy because the excitement is too much and it mixed with a high-level of nervous. At times I just wanted to hit my head to the wall because it was all just fucking unbelievable! How can I handle the facts that I was laughing with Dave Bautista and being briefly hugged by Chris Pratt? Hell, even Chris Pratt sitting in front me was like a crazy delusional thing in my head.
So, now, I feel really blessed. Up to now, I still can't believe it happened. Still can't believe I did it. But, still am grateful for that. Since that, whenever I'm in doubt or afraid to do something, I always say this mantra to myself: "You've broken the limit. You've pushed past your comfort zone." I always an introvert at heart and what I did in Tokyo was totally not the usual me. Felt great, though. Looking forward to push further, outta comfort zone.
have you watched 'guardians of the galaxy vol. 2'? 🙌🏻 . since so many of you asked for the full video of me held interviews with @jamesgunn @prattprattpratt @zoesaldana @davebautista, here's another sneak peek ✨ . please just head over to @tribunnews for the full version of the selected videos 🙏🏻 . still grateful for the opportunity, kudos to @disney and @marvelstudios 💖 . #gotgvol2
Photographs by Ruth Vania Christine and Walt Disney Company