To clarify, Slate didn’t appear on screen in “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.” Cosmo was a special effect, realized through advanced CGI. In order to give the special effects artists some visual context, however, Slate did perform as a stand-in for Cosmo, giving a reference as to Cosmo’s size, position, and lighting. Fur textures and movements were then recreated on a computer. It is unclear why the filmmakers didn’t just hire Slate and skip the middleman, but I’m not the director of multimillion-dollar blockbusters.
But having Slate on set was a distraction for Gunn, and Slate seemed to fall in love with the director. Ceretti, while describing her SFX process, shared the cute factoid that “James loves dogs. So James would start playing with Slate and then by the time we were rolling, Slate was like, ‘Oh, I’m gone. I don’t know. I want to play.'”
Gunn, meanwhile, is a dog owner. On his Twitter account in 2022, Gunn announced that he had adopted a dog that he named Ozu, presumably named after the masterful Japanese film director Yasujiro Ozu, maker of “Tokyo Story” and “Floating Weeds.” He adopted Ozu from a pet shelter in Studio City, California called Wagmor Pets, and he briefly wrote a Twitter thread describing the process of selecting him and training him to live in a house. Ozu is a wiry little dog and, given Gunn’s affection for Slate, probably well-loved at Gunn’s home. It seems that Gunn adopted Ozu while he was filming “The Suicide Squad” in Panama in 2021.
Gunn, sadly, owns no raccoons.