Why 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' star Will Poulter is Marvel's new golden boy

 Will Poulter is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new golden boy.

For real, the British actor was painted gold and had a gem planted on his forehead to play superpowered man-child Adam Warlock in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” It was all pretty wondrous for Poulter, 30, from the makeup sessions to his flowing costume.

“I never thought in my entire life I'd be answering questions about my cape,” Poulter says, laughing. “We often talk about superheroes wearing capes and expressions like ‘Not all superheroes wear capes.’ Some of them wear capes and get their (butt) beat and it falls off five minutes into the movie. Guilty.”

Poulter chats with USA TODAY about his MCU debut, comedy skills and an adorable space sidekick.

New ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ star embraced his inner kid as Adam Warlock

Will Poulter stars as the superpowered but immature Adam Warlock in Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."

Adam was first teased in a “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” end-credits scene but the formidable dude, a creation of the villainous High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), makes his debut having come out of his “womb” too early. Poulter says he enjoyed exploring Adam's evolution.

"When you first are introduced to him, he's very much like a newborn. And then by the end of the movie, you do see someone who closer resembles an adult – or someone who is at least making some decisions as to who they're going to be in the future.”

Will Poulter is a longtime movie veteran at the age of 30

Will Poulter made his movie debut in the indie British film "Son of Rambow."

The London native has been in franchise fare before, including “The Maze Runner” and “Chronicles of Narnia” movies, as well as "The Revenant" and "Midsommar." But he got his first big break as a teenager in the 2007 Sundance Film Festival coming-of-age comedy “Son of Rambow,” about two English schoolboys who re-create the Sylvester Stallone action movie “First Blood.” Poulter says he’s “really lucky” to have a Marvel role come along at this point in his career.

“Son of Rambow” was “a very wholesome, friendly and gentle introduction into the industry," says the Emmy-nominated actor (for Hulu's "Dopesick"). "It's been really lovely to see how the tiny independent film that I made in the U.K. over the course of a summer with a really kind spirit and good people having fun and taking care of each other. And then I'm in a huge movie like (‘Guardians’) and it's made with the same sort of attitude and points to the fact there's no excuse for any other way of doing it.”

The British star busted out his comedy chops in ‘Guardians 3’

Will Poulter (bottom right) starred alongside Emma Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis in the 2013 crime comedy "We're the Millers."

Poulter has shown his sense of humor in movies like “We’re the Millers” and cops to his sketch comedy background as a youngster being integral in his Marvel outing, given the “improvisation and the playful nature” of Gunn’s film. “That's wild when you're dressed up as a superhero and you're on a huge franchise movie set.”

He was “always that kid who was joking around a lot,” Poulter says. “Whether I had good timing or was actually funny is up for debate, but I definitely gave it a shot and probably bugged a bunch of people with it. Humor was a coping mechanism for me a lot of the way through school and growing up. It's been something that I've leaned on certainly throughout my life.”

Yes, he got Marvel ripped but also looked out for his mental health

Will Poulter gets a high-profile debut into the Marvel universe with "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."

Like his “Guardians” co-star Chris Pratt and Captain America himself Chris Evans, Poulter hit the gym and got himself in superhero shape, though “I wasn't put under any real undue or unsolicited pressure from Marvel,” he says. “I was fortunate that I'd been working out relatively steadily for a few years just for my own mental and physical well-being."

“Guardians” involved "ramping things up a bit, and I was fortunate I was able to do it with a team of people who helped me do it in a way that was safe and natural and protected my mental and physical health long term,” Poulter says. “My task was to get into the best possible shape in order to act like a superhero. So it's not a physique that I think anyone should really like be trying to aspire to or hold them to any standards other than what makes them happiest or most comfortable.”

Adam Warlock flies into future Marvel adventures with his pal Blurp

Adorable and fuzzy Blurp bonds with Adam Warlock in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."

Poulter's next film is the upcoming drama “On Swift Horses,” based on the Shannon Pufahl novel and centered on a love triangle between a Korean War vet (Poulter), his new wife (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and his gambler brother (Jacob Elordi).

And he's ready for a return trip as Adam Warlock. Hopefully Blurp is part of those upcoming adventures: Poulter’s character befriends and is humanized by the fuzzy, four-eared, computer-generated critter. “I’m a dog lover and he reminds me of cute ugly dogs,” the actor says. “At the start of the movie, (Adam) comes across as quite monstrous and aggressive. He finds his way a little bit more and comes into his own and establishes his own identity for himself later on. That was a cool thing to play and Blurp was along for the ride.”

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