James Gunn discusses being fired, Marvel/DC differences

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James Gunn has been talking openly about a turbulent couple of years, ahead of the release of The Suicide Squad.

James Gunn really has had an interesting couple of years. Back in 2018 he was fired by the top brass at Disney, following a campaign in certain media outlets to drudge up old tweets that he had previously apologised for. However, things worked out pretty well for the filmmaker, with Warner Bros offering him a film to direct in the DC Extended Universe, whilst Disney would eventually walk back its hasty decision and restore Gunn at the helm of the Guardians Of The Galaxy franchise.


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Gunn’s first DCEU film for Warner Bros is The Suicide Squad, which launches here in the UK on 30th July. Ahead of its release, the director has been chatting candidly to the New York Times about the last few years.

With regards to his firing, he expresses his shock at the time, stating that “it was conveyed to me by Kevin Feige [the Marvel Studios president]. I called Kevin the morning it was going on, and I said ‘is this a big deal?’ And he goes, ‘I don’t know.’ That was a moment. I was like ‘you don’t know?’ I was surprised. Later he called me – he himself was in shock – and told me what the powers that be had decided. It was unbelievable. And for a day, it seemed like everything was gone. Everything was gone. I was going to have to sell my house. I was never going to be able to work again. That’s what it felt like”.

Gunn refrains from being too negative about the issue of widespread online criticism, arguing that in some cases, it has merit.

“I understand people’s preoccupation with that term [cancel culture]. But it’s such a bigger issue than that. Because cancel culture also is people like Harvey Weinstein, who should be cancelled. People who have gotten cancelled and then remain cancelled – most of those people deserved that. The paparazzi are not just the people on the streets – they’re the people combing Twitter for any past sins. All of that sucks. It’s painful. But some of it is accountability. And that part of it is good. It’s just about finding that balance”.

Gunn, in the article, also discussed the immediate interest from Warner Bros, and the fact that they were willing to offer him their most valuable asset, the Superman character, straight off the bat, as well as the creative process that led him to Suicide Squad. 

Finally, Gunn also discusses the difference between working for the two companies, stating that, along with the clear differences in the films that they make, their creative process is different too:

Yes, but not as many as people probably think. There’s no doubt Kevin Feige is way more involved with editing than people are at Warner Bros. He gives more notes. You don’t have to take them and I don’t always take them. Then again, I had more problems. If you saw the first cut of Guardians 1, it had more problems, because that was my first time making something so gigantic and there’s some learning to what works and what doesn’t, carving away the excess stuff.”

These are just snippets of a much longer interview in the New York Times, which is definitely worth checking out. The Suicide Squad will be with us on 30th July.

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