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INTERVIEW – ‘I Am Groot’ Season 2 Director Kirsten Lepore on Going Weirder and Wilder, James Gunn’s Blessing and More

I Am Groot Director 1 min

If there’s one thing every Marvel fan needs, it’s more Groot. Everyone’s favorite Flora Colossus (Groot’s species) is back for a second season of the joyfully fun and cute series, I Am Groot.

Last year, with the release of the first season, I spoke with director/writer Kirsten Lepore, who also serves as executive producer on the series. Now that the show is returning for its sophomore season, we connected again to talk about her approach to another season of shorts.

Six years ago, before she worked with Marvel, Lepore went viral for her animated short, Hi Stranger, a wonderfully weird and strangely comforting film that is too bizarre to explain. It currently has 2.7 million views on Vimeo and helped Lepore get bigger opportunities, including I Am Groot.

Lepore looked back on her journey over the last six years, including working on Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film. “That is pretty cool. I’m not great at looking back and reflecting…The past few years have been a wild ride, working on Marcel the Shell and working on [I Am Groot], and we’ve been working on Groot for three years now,” Lepore said. “I feel like all of these characters are strange, they’re weird, and I love that about them. And also they have an elegant simplicity to them that is relatable to so many people….”

The beauty of I Am Groot is that the shorts appeal to a broad range of audiences, including children and parents. “I’ve never been able to make purely kid content because that’s not going to be interesting to me as an adult. As an adult making things that I guess are family friendly, I naturally gravitate to things that I would like, and I guess the things that I like are cute, weird, wonderful, but also kind of strange, but not so adult that it alienates the kids. I think there’s a weird sweet spot that happens there where everybody can get down with that, unless you hate weird things. But I don’t know anybody who really hates weird things,” Lepore said laughing.

Talking about her creative approach to season two, Lepore talked about how she had the freedom to really explore the fun and weird topics that she wanted. “We definitely tried to one-up ourselves and get weirder and wilder…that’s kind of the perfect example of how wonderful it’s been to work for Marvel, is that they have been completely supportive of my strange ideas and choices….” Lepore said.

The Guardians of the Galaxy are obviously very important to James Gunn, who directed all of the feature films and the Holiday Special. Lepore talked about how she earned Gunn’s trust and was able to tell her story with his blessing. “I really feel like we had the full blessing in season 2, because [Gunn] wasn’t that involved,” Lepore said. “It was sort of like ‘Okay, everyone has seen season 1, and everyone feels really happy with it,’ and I feel like I got the keys to the kingdom in a way…so I just felt really good and supported moving forward in that way.”

I Am Groot season 2 premieres September 6 on Disney+.

Groot in I Am Groot Season 2
Groot in I Am Groot Season 2

Official Synopsis:

The troublemaking twig returns to mischief in the second season of “I Am Groot.” This time, Baby Groot finds himself exploring the universe and beyond aboard the Guardians’ spaceships, coming face-to-face—or nose-to-nose—with new and colorful creatures and environments. Vin Diesel is back as the voice of Groot in five all-new shorts. Kirsten Lepore, writer/director of season one, returns in the same capacity for season two. The supervising producer is Danielle Costa; producers are Craig Rittenbaum and Alex Scharf; executive producers are Brad Winderbaum, Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Kirsten Lepore. Dana Vasquez-Eberhardt is co-executive producer. 

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist. To support the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, donate to the Entertainment Community Fund.

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Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture.  He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.

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