Adam Warlock is ready for battle. Will Poulter underwent Marvel’s boot camp to transform into Adam Warlock in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — and even he’s interested to see the final cut.
“There have been some challenges relative to the physical preparations for the character. I’m sort of hesitant to talk about it just because I don’t know what it looks like yet. So I’m sort of nervous to say anything until I’ve seen because I don’t even know if what I did or went through even worked yet,” the actor, 29, exclusively told Us Weekly, laughing. “But I will say that I was incredibly well supported and couldn’t have had more help in the respect of the diet and the training that was required. That was key. Certainly not something I went away and did on my own.”
Poulter’s casting was announced in October 2021, with director James Gunn confirming the news via Twitter.
“As you guys know I often strike down false rumors, so… um…Welcome to the Guardians family, Will Poulter,” Gunn wrote. “He’s an amazing actor and wonderful guy. See you in a couple weeks. #AdamWarlock #GotGVol3,” Gunn tweeted at the time.
Poulter replied: “Thank you, James. It’s a genuine honour to play this role and to work with you. I’m very excited to get to work.”
A relatively private actor, the Detroit star hopes that the massive franchise doesn’t change too much about his life now.
“I don’t know,” he said when asked if he’s nervous about what’s to come. “I sort of hope I can kind of let Adam Warlock do his thing and kind of retain a sense of kind of agency and independence from that as much as possible. I hope it won’t change too much. I don’t plan to use my social media any differently, for example. But I’m really grateful for the support I’ve had thus far from the Marvel community and from everyone involved with Guardians to date. I’m excited for people to see the movie and see what they make of it. … Very glad I was along for the ride.”
Luckily, Poulter’s loved ones create a sense of normalcy for him. “I’m grateful that I have a really kind of supportive family who wouldn’t let me kind of stray too far from the path anyway, you know what I mean? They’re gonna cut me down by size if I ever got a big head or anything like that,” he explained to Us. “A lot of my closest friends are people that I’ve known since I was five or six years old, so there’s that too. I’m really grateful that I get to do this weird and wonderful job, but I don’t feel wildly different from the kid who first started doing drama at school.”
The Maze Runner actor will star alongside Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel and Sean Gunn in the highly anticipated action-comedy. But before audiences see his debut (he noted that production wrapped in early May and there was no wrap party), Poulter can be seen in the musical heist film The Score.
“It’s very different, very different indeed. They’re hard to compare,” he said of working on a small indie vs. a massive franchise such as a Marvel blockbuster. “I mean, I think the impressive thing about Guardians is for its size and just how many things are going on at once. And the scale being enormous, you know, James never loses sight of the integrity of the characters, the dialogue, working comedic beats hitting. He’s not distracted or dissuaded by any of the sort of large-scale elements that are in play. So that’s really cool. And in that respect, they’re very similar. That whatever else is going on around you, it’s about making sure that there’s authenticity in the moment that’s being played out. And that’s what I turn up to work for.”
Poulter may not have bulked up for The Score, but he did show off his singing chops. The Midsommar actor plays Troy, a small-time crook who rethinks his life’s purpose when he falls for a waitress named Gloria (Naomi Ackie) when he stops at a roadside cafe with his accomplice Mike, played by Johnny Flynn.
“I was scared, to be honest. But it was such a fun element of the challenge, you know, I think even just to pretend for a moment that I could sort of kid anyone that I was a musician and go into a recording studio and record some songs was such a privilege. Like, when do you get a chance to do that? So that was a really, really fun element of the pre-production,” Poulter told Us. “And also, I think we all recognize that as a kind of heartbeat in the movie, the songs are beautiful, and Johnny is such a talented writer and performer. So to have him in the movie scoring the film and co-directing with [director] Malachi [Smyth], Naomi and I, through the performance of said songs was kind of perfect.”
He added: “It was all either pre-recorded or live takes. I don’t think we did any post work as far as the singing’s concerned. We were kind of well prepared in that respect and didn’t have to go in and change too much.”
For Poulter, The Score ticked off a lot of what he looks for in projects, noting that it “delivered on so many fronts creatively.”
“I think it’s an authentic connection with the character and the quality of the script more than anything else than it’s about kind of the creatives around it. And obviously the sort of the messaging, things like medium, genre size. All of that kind of is very much secondary and is kind of an afterthought to the sort of main concerns that I have,” he told Us. “It was so unique and so interesting. So unlike anything else I’d ever come across. [It] had such an amazing group of people attached to it at the point that I joined. And I think also I just really like the prospect of people getting to watch this thing and have a sort of version of the experience that I had when I read it.”
The Score is available On Demand. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set to be released on May 5, 2023.