The Belko Experiment is written by James Gunn and directed by Greg McLean, and tells the story of the Bogotá, Columbia-based titular company. One day, where everything seems absolutely normal, the world turns upside down as the windows and doors come crashing down with steel gates that have trapped everyone inside the office building. A voice comes over the intercom and instructs everyone to kill on command. All hell breaks out and the only question left by the end of Gunn’s latest lightning rod is who will emerge alive when all is said and done.
Starring in the film is James’ brother, Sean, and at the recent LA press day for The Belko Experiment, we had the chance to sit down with him to talk about what makes his sibling so sensational as well as why his latest film foray is one terrifying turn into the human condition.
See wha the had to say below, and enjoy!
WGTC: What’s it been like for you now that the world is finally getting to check out the crazy, insane brilliance that is The Belko Experiment? The script’s been out there for years!
Sean Gunn: I’m really happy to be able to share it with an audience finally. I’d known that it existed, actually, my brother told me about the story and about writing the script. But I hadn’t read it for a while. And then he called me and said, “Hey, I think we may be actually making this movie. So, you should read it.” I love it. It’s not always an easy read. I mean some of it is really intense. But that’s what attracted me to it, as well.
WGTC: It’s a commentary on so many different things. What was the thing that spoke to you the most?
Sean Gunn: You hear questions from people where they say, “Would you do this if you had a gun to your head? What would you do?” And it always seems like such a silly proposition, because it’s like, “Well, who’s putting a gun to my head? Why do I have to make these decisions?” And I think that that’s what this movie sort of does is it forces you to ask, “What would you do if you were forced to do it?” It’s a very uncomfortable question for a lot of people. And yeah, it’s terrifying.
WGTC: What do you like most about your character, Marty?
Sean Gunn: He never really engages in the killing part of it. He’s always trying to find a different solution. I think that even though Marty and I are very different as people, that’s how I would be, I think, in that situation. I like to believe that I would be, at least.
WGTC: This film is just another example, I think, of James’s wildly creative mind. What’s it been like for you to be there by his side?
Sean Gunn: It’s super cool, because he’s my brother. And I’ve watched his work since I’ve been a child. I’ve always known that he had a gift for storytelling and for building worlds. Sometimes I have a front row seat for it, and then sometimes I’m actually in the middle of it. I hope that we work together for the rest of our lives. I certainly don’t need to do every single project he’s involved in. But I hope and I trust that if there’s a good role for me, that we’ll do it. He’s the easiest director for me to work with.
WGTC: I’m sure you and James made little movies as kids, is that how you fell in love with acting?
Sean Gunn: I think it did. I’m the youngest of six. When you’re in a big family, you get put to the test right away. Do I like being the center of attention? Or do I not like it? You have to make that decision a lot growing up. I knew from a very young age that I liked it. If you don’t want to get on stage in front of people and if you can’t embarrass yourself, then it’s probably not the profession for you. I was doing that right away, with my brother too. He’d put me in these movies. As we got older, he’d put together little projects and I would always participate. As I got older, I went to school. I started doing plays, I learned about the craft of acting, and I started love acting for different reasons. I think I started to love acting because it brought me closer to people and made me more compassionate.
WGTC: If The Belko Experiment somehow was moved to a movie set, who do you think among the actors and the producers would be the first to jump to the having to kill to survive? I know the hairstyle people are probably really vicious.
Sean Gunn: Here’s what I know. I know that the first thing that we’d do is we’d all get together and kill (Michael) Rooker, because I’ve been on movie sets where I was thinking about doing that anyway [laughs]. So I think that would be the first thing. I wouldn’t mess around with the wardrobe department and the hair and makeup department. They’re killers, so that would be pretty scary. I think that we’d kill the producers first. Sorry, it’s just how it is.
WGTC: Speaking of Rooker, you’ve worked with him before many times. Is it nice to see him on set for this one? Or are you getting sick of that guy by now?
Sean Gunn: You know, it’s funny. He’s a necessary evil for me now [laughs]. It seems like everywhere I go Rooker’s there. We’ve been good friends for a long time. We do conventions a lot and we’re together. It seems like we’re together all the time. And we’ve got all this press coming up for Guardians 2 as well. I secretly love Rooker, but don’t tell anyone that.
WGTC: You do a lot of mocap work for your brother as Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy and the sequel, as well as now in Infinity War. Is it something that you would revisit again for somebody else, or is it just a situational thing here?
Sean Gunn: Yeah. I’m open to it. I’m really not out there chasing that work. I’m learning a lot about the process and how it works creating a CGI character from scratch. It’s certainly fun and gratifying work. But yeah, I could see myself moving a little more into it if people are interested in it.
That concludes our interview, but be sure to check out The Belko Experiment when it opens this Friday!