In an exclusive interview with Deadline, James Gunn discusses what it was like to be let go from Disney/Marvel Studios and find his entire career in disarray. Social media backlash came in full force against the Guardians of the Galaxy director and nearly ended his employment with Hollywood. After switching sides from Marvel and being hired to take on a DC project in the form of a reboot of the Suicide Squad (DC, desperately trying to get their sh*t together), Gunn was forgiven and reinstated to take on the third entry in the Guardians franchise.
You hear in Hollywood that everybody’s cutthroat. That’s true of a section of this industry, but there’s also a lot of really good people.
Deadline began their conversation with Gunn by asking how it felt to be asked back by Alan Horn, CCO and co-chairman of Walt Disney Studios. Gunn had this to say:
“I was about to sit down and talk about The Suicide Squad with DC and I was excited about that. Alan asked me to come talk to him. I really believe he is a good man and I think he hired me back because he thought that was the right thing to do. I’ve known him a little, going back to the Scooby-Doo movies. I’ve always liked and admired him. I was touched by his compassion.
You hear in Hollywood that everybody’s cutthroat. That’s true of a section of this industry, but there’s also a lot of really good people. I’m always attracted to finding that goodness in places we don’t expect, often in the characters in my movies. I got a little bit teary-eyed in his office. And then I had to go tell Kevin Feige I had just decided to do The Suicide Squad, so that made me very nervous.”
Gunn went on to add that he didn’t blame anyone but himself for his firing, and acknowledges that in his role, he has the responsibility to shoulder his actions and carry those with him for the rest of his days. He acknowledges that his words alone got him into trouble and that he will need to far more considerate going forward if he is to be accepted by audiences far and wide in the future.
There is a lot to be said about a man who made a huge mistake and owns up to it the way Gunn has. There will always be those that disagree and those that will never support someone who has made these mistakes. Sure, at the end of the day Gunn is a wealthy Hollywood director and you do not owe him anything. But we need to accept that everyone messes up, even when they know better. Making a mistake, accepting that, and dedicating yourself to making it right is all one could hope to do. And if we can see that someone is willing to take full responsibility for their actions and the consequences that come with it, then we owe it to them to try and learn to forgive.
We support you, James Gunn.