‘The Bubble’: Karen Gillan Didn’t Ask Chris Pratt for Insight While Filming, but ‘Should Have’

The new Netflix comedy is loosely based on Pratt and his co-stars’ experience filming “Jurassic World: Dominion”


Netflix’s new pandemic comedy “The Bubble” may have been partially inspired by the struggles of filming “Jurassic World: Dominion,” but Karen Gillan didn’t actually ask Chris Pratt for any firsthand accounts from his time on set while they were filming. She wishes she would have, though.

The comedy, starring Gillan and a whole slew of other famous faces, tells the story of a group of actors trying to film “Cliff Beasts 6” at the height of the COVID pandemic. Of course, because of that, their production starts up and shuts down multiple times, trapping the cast in London for months. At no point are “Jurassic World” or its stars ever directly mentioned, but the parallels are there.

According to Gillan, her “Guardians of the Galaxy” co-star Chris Pratt actually realized the basis of the film while in conversation with her, and she realized asking him for more insights could have been beneficial.

“As Chris pieced it together, like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, is this based on our experience on ‘Jurassic World?’ I was like, ‘I should have hit you up for more anecdotes, advice and stuff I could play around with,’” Gillan told TheWrap. “I should have done that. That would have been good.”

And though the “Jurassic” undertones are there, “The Bubble” is about the struggles Hollywood faced as a whole during the pandemic. For Gillan, the hope is just that those who watch it on Netflix just go into it for a good time.

“I just hope that people have a little kind of moment of levity in these strange times,” she noted. “Just, I want people to have fun, forget their cares and worries and just have a laugh. And that’s it. Just simply that. Just some fun.”

You can read TheWrap’s full conversation with Karen Gillan below.

How was this movie pitched to you? Did Judd Apatow come at you like, ‘I want to do this super ridiculous movie about filming a movie in the pandemic?’ What was the pitch, and what made you say yes?

Honestly, it was exactly like you just described. Like my agent said that ‘Judd Apatow is making a movie and he is interested in meeting with you.’ And honestly, I was ready to sign on just at that, because I’m such a big Judd Apatow fan, have been for a long time. His style of — because I grew up watching a lot of American comedies. And I remember, gosh, it was a while back, when ‘Knocked Up’ came out, I remember thinking I would love to do something like that. Like that seems right up my street, like the type of thing that I would be able to do. So now the fact that I have made a movie with him is actually still mind-blowing to me, because it seems really far-fetched.

But basically, yeah, it just, it was a conversation. And he explained what the film was, the script hadn’t been written yet. So I was just like, ‘Yep, count me in!’ Because also I know how much improvising he does. So it was kind of like, there definitely was a full script, but I knew that the process was going to be very kind of loose and flexible.

How many of your castmates had signed on? Were you the first, and then you just got to watch as people like Leslie Mann, David Duchovny and others came on?

I think I was the first! Yeah, I was like ‘OK, this is working out rather well.’ Yeah, I was pleased about that.

I really am curious how you approach a script like this from an acting standpoint. How seriously do you approach a character like Carol? Do you go in knowing that you’re doing something purposefully silly?

You know, I just approached it like I approach every character. Even though it was like a more sort of silly comedy, I took it just as seriously in terms of working out her emotional arc. Which is more difficult because this style of film is kind of like, there’s a lot of scenes that we filmed that we didn’t know where they were going to land in the edit, you know? So it’s like, I did kind of plan out an emotional arc and then at a certain point, you just have to cast your fate to the wind, and Judd is gonna make it all make sense in the edit.

But I came in pretty prepared. But then also, I knew that it was going to require so much improv. So for me, the biggest challenge was — because I’ve never really done that before — was kind of like, switching off the thing in your brain that judges yourself before you say something. I think that was the main skill I walked away from the movie with, which is that I was able to turn that off, and now I’m improvising in all sorts of movies that I never would have before. So it’s kind of fun.

Tell me about a moment that was improvised in the film that made it in that you’re really happy with, or that made you laugh really hard.

I mean, oh, a ton of the movie is improvised. A lot. And there was a full script, but I mean, there’s multiple moments in every single scene. For me, one of the bigger challenges was when Judd said, ‘OK, you’re on a lot of cocaine and drugs. Now go on a rant about how you’re a hero, and you’re here to save everyone and you’re going to get them out of here.’ And that’s all he said. He’s like ‘Go’ and I was in front of all of these amazing improvisers. And I remember thinking, ‘OK, there’s just no way but to just like jump in at the deep end.’ And it was quite a long run as well, that I had the most fun doing that I’ve had in a really long time. Like this is all I want to do now. Can I just only play people that are ranting while on a lot of drugs?

I want to ask about how a few of your Marvel co-stars get shoutouts in the movie. You’ve previously mentioned that Chris Pratt pieced together that “The Bubble” is loosely based on his cast’s experience on “Jurassic World” in front of you, and your agent, played by Rob Delaney is also Mark Ruffalo’s agent in the movie. Were you trying to get just as many MCU characters in there as you could to mess with them?

Gosh, no, actually! That would have been Judd’s doing. (laughs). But yeah, as Chris pieced it together, like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, is this based on our experience on ‘Jurassic World?’ I was like, ‘I should have hit you up for more anecdotes, advice and stuff I could play around with.’ I should have done that. That would have been good. Next time!

Next time! So, there’s a lot of dancing in “The Bubble.” And you crush it. You’re a TikTok star. But who was the best dancer besides yourself? Who really crushed it?

By leaps and bounds, Iris Apatow was a better dancer than the rest of us. Like, she puts us all to shame. I think she used to be a cheerleader, so she’s got some skills. But we had to do dance rehearsals so much, I can’t even tell you. Like far more dance rehearsals than any acting rehearsals. It’s a lot. These routines were intricate. They were choreographed by Sia’s choreographer. It was serious stuff, like we were in there all day, every day. They’re like screaming ‘More! You got to get on the frequency! Channel it!”

Well speaking of Iris Apatow, you get to slap her. In a movie with her mother in it, and her dad directing! What kind of pressure was that?

It was awful! I remember Judd being like, ‘Slap her.’ And I was like, ‘I don’t want to. I don’t want to hit your daughter.’ And he was like, ‘OK, slap me on the arm.’ So I did. And he was like, ‘Right, do it to Iris, on the face.’ I found myself holding back a little bit and he kept being like, ‘You gotta go for it more. More.’

What did Iris say?

She was totally cool about it! She was fine with it. I think I was just like, ‘I don’t want to slap this really nice 18-year-old.’

Amazing. OK, we have to talk about all the cameos in “The Bubble.” A lot of fun ones, Daisy Ridley really threw me for a loop. But also, James McAvoy. And you got to have a wonderful scene with him. You get to get tackled by him.

Yes! That actually happened. Funnily enough, we did the tackle for real, by accident. We were both running so fast, and then he wanted to just give Judd like the beginning of the grab, because that will cut better within the stunt. There was no stunt required because we actually both went down with the momentum. So that really happened. And you can see me like screaming with terror as it’s happening and that’s real.

But at least now you can say that in your lifetime you’ve been tackled by James McAvoy.

Yes. And I will be saying that a lot of dinner parties.

I would imagine that’s a very small club that you’re now a part of, if there’s anyone else.

Yeah, maybe the only! I kind of want to be the only member of that club.

“The Bubble” is now streaming on Netflix.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.