James Gunn‘s tenure in the MCU will go down as one of the franchise’s most talked about. From his Marvel career getting derailed by decade-old tweets, losing his dream job of completing his Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, to getting hired by the Distinguished Competition to direct Suicide Squad, only to be hired back as the Guardians director several months later. Today, a lengthy interview was published by Deadline where Gunn candidly details his experience going through the ordeal.
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. 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 gets introspective as he recalls his emotions seeing his career get toppled by people he’d be known to clash with on Twitter.
The truth is I had a lot of anger at myself and I really had to try to put that aside. Because in the same way where I know what I’ve done wrong, I know that I’ve done a lot of wrong things in my life, things that led to this moment. I had to realize what I needed to do differently in my life. That was a part of all of this. But in the same way I needed to not be lashing out at whoever fired me, or whoever spread links online, or cut up pictures to look like this or that, I also had to let go of some of that rage towards myself as well. Otherwise, I just wasn’t going to be able to make it through.
Things took a turn for Gunn when he was immediately hired by Warner Bros. to helm the sequel of Suicide Squad. When asked about how he came to grips with losing the franchise he launched from obscurity, he had this to say:
Yes. I was writing Suicide Squad and thought of Guardians 3 as being long gone. I guess it was a possibility for a while, but the initial conversations with Alan weren’t, “Let’s figure out if I should come back.” It was, “Let’s talk about this.” It was like the break-up of my marriage. I got divorced, and then had those conversations with my ex-wife: “Let’s get along as well as we possibly can and be kind to each other because we’re both a large part of each other’s lives.”
Alan Horn took a lot of heat from critics for pulling the trigger on Gunn’s firing. However, several reports also indicated that Horn was crucial in Gunn’s return to the fold. That despite his firing, there was an interest in working things out with the director. Gunn elaborates on this in the interview as well.
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.
Gunn was also asked about the current social climate in Hollywood and how wrongdoings and questionable behaviors are being exposed more than ever.
There’s a lot of really positive stuff that’s coming out of all of this, and one of those positives is I was able to learn. People have to be able to learn from mistakes. If we take away the possibility for someone to learn and become a better person, I’m not sure what we are left with. I’ve learned all kinds of things about myself through this process.