James Gunn’s career trajectory has seen him catapulted from
screenwriting at Troma to
helming the blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, the latest movie from Marvel
Studios. Gunn was responsible for not only bringing some of comics’
most unusual superheroes to the big screen but also unlocking the
doors to the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Wired.co.uk talks with the outspoken director on his quirky
filmography, putting the Guardians team together, why fans of the
superhero Nova shouldn’t get their hopes up, and making Rocket
Raccoon’s ‘mushface’ perfect.
Let’s start with some of your earlier films — you
started off working with Troma, writing Tromeo and
Juliet. What attracted you to the studio?
Nothing! I just had an opportunity to get a job at this place. I
went in and thought I was going to be hired to do some personal
assistant work or special effects or something, and instead Lloyd Kaufman
offered me a hundred and fifty bucks to write a screenplay. So I
was like “alright!” [Tromeo and Juliet] was my opus.
You wrote the live-action Scooby-Doo movie,
where you turned Scrappy-Doo
into the villain. Why do people hate Scrappy?
He’s a little piece of shit. I have had a few little kids who
were very, very upset though. Sorry kids?
You worked with Zack Snyder on the 2004 remake of
Dawn of the Dead. Do you feel responsible for those
endless fan debates over fast versus slow zombies?
I suppose yes, but I don’t care, and I think it’s the dumbest
argument. Who gives a shit?! I’ve argued with a few people about
it, and it’s like “I don’t care. If you like slow moving zombies,
the go see a slow moving zombie film. They’re not real man!” People
argue with me about the “scientific accuracy” behind it, and I’m
like “are you fucking kidding me? They’re dead people running
around eating people!” First of all: they’re dead! They’re zombies,
and they eat other people, but they’re dead and THEY’RE not eaten,
so the whole thing doesn’t make sense in the first place!
I don’t really think so. I don’t think of those movies as tongue
in cheek — I think of all of those movies as totally sincere.
There’s a certain amount of ironic elements in Super and
The Specials at least, but I still think there’s a lot
more similarities between those movies [and Guardians] than
differences, if you take aside the budget and the spectacle nature,
all that stuff.
Were you into the Guardians comics?
Oh yeah, actually more the earlier guys. That’s more my time. I like the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning run [referred to by fans as ‘DnA’,
and the basis for the movie team] a lot and I think it’s the best,
quality wise, but I like the original team a lot.
The DnA run had a larger cast — were there ever plans
for more characters on the team?
No, I never put anyone else in. In one of the drafts, there was
the character of Bug, who was
killed in the prison, but I thought it was stupid. I didn’t really
like anyone else — I thought the five was good. I was adding
enough other characters to begin with, like Ronan, Nebula, and
Yondu to the script. For me, I really like Nebula and Yondu anyway,
so it was fun to add them.
You have Michael Rooker starring as Yondu, but do you
have plans for other links to the original team?
I’m saving them. You’ll have to wait and see, but I definitely
have plans for other Guardians.
At the same time, your Yondu is very different to the
comics. Why go for drastic changes than create a new
Because he’s got an awesome power and I like Yondu. You know, I
always liked the Ultimate
Comics when they came out. The way you would know certain
characters in the 616 universe, and
then you’d see new spins on them and different ways those
characters would appear in the Ultimate run, because it was an
alternate universe. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is yet another
alternate universe, so I think it’s more fun to play with
characters that exist in the comics and see their alternate
personalities than there is to just make up other people. I think
that’s more fun for the comics fans.
Kevin Feige has that Nova
was considered for inclusion at one point. What happened
I think certain people really like Nova. Quite honestly, I
really don’t care. He’s not a favourite character. I don’t know
whether he’s ever going to show up.
Why the strong focus on the Nova Corps
I think they serve a purpose? I like the Nova Corps, I just
don’t like Nova that much! He’s okay, you know? I just don’t like