Okay, the following will probably make you cry. Vin Diesel recently went on record as saying that playing the role of Groot helped him deal with his grief after his Fast and the Furious co-star Paul Walker’s tragic death last November.
For me, it was at a very important time that I did this. Because it was in December. It was the first time I was coming around humans again and the first time I was working again...playing a character that celebrates life in the way that Groot celebrates life.
Which... that’s beautiful enough, right? But then Diesel goes on to talk about his children, and their reaction to seeing Groot onscreen:
I took my kids to the screening to see this movie, and…something very beautiful happened in playing this role. Something that, as an actor, I never would have imagined. And that is that when my kids see trees, they refer to them as my brothers and sisters. The idea of being associated with trees like that, is remarkable, it’s so much more gratifying than you ever could imagine.
We’ll give you all a moment with that.
I was lucky. I was really lucky that that specific role came up.
We’re all lucky that Vin Diesel is willing to open up like this. Pop culture and geek culture can feel silly and ephemeral (especially during SDCC, where often enough we’re trying hard to make it fun and ephemeral) but it’s wonderful to have a reminder of just how important these characters can be, and how much comfort can be gained from them. Excuse us. We’re going to go cry harder than we did at the end of The Iron Giant.