Marvel Comics’ best-known, tree-like sentient being, Groot—a character that became widely popular through the action comedy Guardians of the Galaxy—gets his own animated show on Disney+ this week.
Written and directed by CalArts alum Kirsten Lepore (Film/Video MFA 12), I am Groot is a collection of five original shorts starring Baby Groot. The show stars Vin Diesel, voicing the titular character, and Bradley Cooper playing his pal Rocket Raccoon.
For those not familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Baby Groot is a mischievous sapling who finds fun and trouble across galaxies. He’s a plant of few words, with “I am Groot” being the only three words in his vocabulary.
In a recent interview with Variety, Lepore was asked about the inspiration for the comedy in the series:
There was definitely a little bit of Looney Tunes in there for sure. One of the things we had conversations with Brad [Winderbaum, head of streaming for Marvel Studios] and Kevin [Feige, head of Marvel Studios] about was this idea of Buster Keaton-esque comedy, where it’s mostly without dialogue; it’s all very physical comedy, but it’s very smart. You can be very smart with the gags and how you attack them. So that was one of our biggest inspirations.
Lepore, a well-known animator who created the viral hit “Hi Stranger” in 2016, is on a roll this year for her big-screen work as well. She served as the animation director for Dean Fleischer-Camp’s Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and for visual effects work on the Daniels’ action-metaphysical comedy Everything Everywhere All at Once.