Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has opened up for the first time about being fired and rehired by Disney. Gunn’s old tweets making light of paedophilia and rape were brought to light by some American conservative publications. He was fired within hours.
Talking to Deadline, Gunn said, “I don’t blame anyone. I feel and have felt bad for a while about some of the ways I spoke publicly; some of the jokes I made, some of the targets of my humor, just the unintentional consequences of not being more compassionate in what I’m putting out there. I know that people have been hurt by things that I’ve said, and that’s still my responsibility, that I wasn’t as compassionate as I should be in what I say. I feel bad for that and take full responsibility.”
He added, “Disney totally had the right to fire me. This wasn’t a free speech issue. I said something they didn’t like and they completely had the right to fire me. There was never any argument of that.”
Gunn’s firing sent shockwaves across the industry. But his career was far from over. Rival studios flocked to get him involved with their properties, foremost of them DC Films and its owner Warner Bros who immediately hired him to do a reboot of Suicide Squad. Gunn is both writing and directing the film, which brings back a few characters from the 2016 film, and also adds new characters.
He said, “The Suicide Squad, it just instantly started flowing. I don’t think I’ve had as much fun writing a script since maybe Dawn of the Dead. That’s what this whole movie has been like.”
Dawn of the Dead was a remake of George A Romero’s 1978 film of the same name. It was also the directorial debut of Zack Snyder, who was helming the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) until it fell apart after repeated critical failures, most prominently 2017’s Justice League.