The High Evolutionary and his recorders

Miriam Shor Knows Rocket Fans Are Upset With Recorder Vim

Talking with Miriam Shor the day after I saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was a journey because I had to instantly tell her that Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) is my favorite. And almost as quickly as I brought it up, she knew that fans were going to be angry for how her character treats Rocket in the film. Shor plays Recorder Vim, the assistant to the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji). And she’s one of the reasons that Rocket was abused. Which led to an interesting conversation where I had to separate my love for Rocket Raccoon for the brilliance that is Miriam Shor. Don’t worry though, the minute I said Rocket is my favorite, she started apologizing.

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“I’m so sorry. My kids haven’t seen it yet, but I’m literally like, I think we have to rent an Airbnb cause I don’t think they’re let come home,” she said and honestly? Might be a smart move. Because Recorder Vim and Recorder Theel (Nico Santos) really happily do the bidding of the High Evolutionary. Which includes a lot of abuse towards animals that will have you thinking about Recorder Vim and Recorder Theel. “I saw the movie the first time last night and when his hand, like the beginning of it, when his hand reaches for that unbelievable baby raccoon? I was like…oh no.” Shor said about seeing the movie with an audience.

But it wasn’t a shock to her that I felt so strongly about Rocket. While filming, Shor and Santos knew it would be hard for fans. “And I knew it while we were, there were moments where Nico Santos and I were like, we might have to hire security.”

The evil of Recorder Vim

The beauty of a good villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe though is that they stay with you. And Record Vim definitely will. Because for all the pain that the High Evolutionary inflicted on Rocket, Floor, Teefs, and Lylla, he was able to do it because of Record Vim and Record Theel. “There’s some angry fans and I’m one of them. Because of course I love Rocket too,” Shor said. “James Gunn, he understands we all love Rocket. He built a whole movie around it, because he knows, he understands that’s who we are emotionally connected to.”

Which had me asking Shor whether or not the villains appeal to her as an actor. “It’s fun because as someone who believes, anyway, that I could never harm, that’s just not in me,” she said. “I just don’t walk through the world with that kind of violence underneath things. But when you are acting and when you’re in a movie, you create a bubble of imagination, if you will, where you can do these things, you can explore those things. Because there’s a natural human instinct to go to dark places. That’s not out of the realm of who we are. As a species, obviously, you know, any history or just look at the news today.”

She went on to talk about how fun it was to dig into that darker side for Recorder Vim. “It’s a scary thing to believe about yourself and to indulge in and to think about,” she said. “And often I think we just push it aside because it’s too frightening. But what acting can do is that you can indulge in those things in a philosophical and safe way. Right? So, and then have fun with it.” For Shor, it also came from her own love of sci-fi too. “Like, I fly with the nerds so proudly,” she laughed. “I’m a card carrying member. I’m no pariah. But, you know, the villains are delicious. In that world. And when you were in the backyard play pretending, of course you wanna be the hero and you wanna have the lifesaver and all the cool toys, but you never forget those villains. There’s even just shots like film shots of pictures that stay in your mind of certain villains that you can pull up immediately because there’s something about it that’s just amazing.”

Sinister characters, hilarious actors

Speaker 2: (05:51)
Yeah, I think that’s by design. I I think it shows that James Scott is really smart. because one of the things he, well, I mean he is, it’s not, it’s undeniable, but, but one of the things he understands is that is he knows how to walk that line between, you have to be committed to the emotional truth. Mm-hmm. , you have to be, or we don’t care. We’re not gonna sitt through all that. You know, or we might, but we’re not gonna, we’re not gonna walk away and we’re gonna forget mm-hmm. , you have to be committed to the emotional truth and you have to make it fun, you know? Yeah. You have to do both of those things. And, and he, and that is hard to do when you’re talking about something really upsetting, like the rocket, you know? Yeah. Oh, sorry, I’m outside. I thought it would be like delightful, calm and I had a little, little beverage outside and instead it’s so loud. But, um,

And later when we spoke about music in Gunn’s work, Shor talked about Iwuji bringing classical music in for the High Evolutionary that Gunn went on to put in the movie. But for Shor, Recorder Vim is cold and unemotional in a way that the High Evolutionary is not. “So she’s a recorder. She’s built to observe that and she’s a scientist, right? So I was like, okay, why would she do these things? Let’s make her built to be unemotional,” she said. “And to only observe and to be utterly scientific. And I was like, well that’s kind of a way in, right? But why would someone do the worst things if they can convince themselves? It’s because they’re doing it. It’s merely for observation and science and these non-emotional, practical reasons that have a value then they can do really, and have done really terrible things. So starting from that place is great because when the full impact of all the emotion hits you because you’re gonna die, you know, all it becomes crashing down and you makes that moment feel really big.”

She went on to talk about how that comes into play with Recorder Vim’s idea of a soundtrack. Because she wouldn’t have one because that would require an emotional tie. “She would not have a soundtrack, right? So she would be like, no, that’s not my place. My place is simply to observe everything else because I am above, I am beyond that emotional tie to anything,” Shor said. “I’m simply here to do these very specific scientific things. And then you can’t deny in those. Well, there’s a couple scenes I have with Chuck where like the music is playing and she’s forced to reckon with it and you know what she chooses to do that, I don’t wanna spoil it, but is like, is is based on that. So I think what’s sad about my character is that she wouldn’t have a song.”

_______________________________

You can see Miriam Shor in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, in theaters now!

(Featured image: Jessica Miglio/Walt Disney Company)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.