Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Director James Gunn Discusses Working With Joss Whedon, Sequels, Marvel "Risks" & More

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist July 31, 2014 at 12:03PM

This week's "Guardians of the Galaxy" pushes the Marvel Cinematic Universe into strange and surprising places. And the person piloting that particular spaceship is co-writer/director James Gunn, who took a relatively obscure property about a group of intergalactic outlaws and turned it into one of the summer's more outrageously entertaining confections. It's both a break from your standard superhero fare and keeps totally within the pre-existing mythological framework—and it should both expand the brand and reinforce its power in the cinematic landscape. We talked to Gunn about how he snagged A-list stars, what the movie's chief influences were, the situation with "Ant-Man," and where Gunn (and the 'Guardians') fit into the larger cinematic puzzle.
Guardians Of The Galaxy

Speaking of outer space, you said you've been offered other tent poles—would you ever want to do a "Star Wars" movie?
I never want to say never… The thing about 'Guardians' was that I was able to turn them into my own thing. It's a Marvel movie but it's also a James Gunn movie. For me to make any tent pole movie, or any movie period, I have to feel like nobody else would make the movie exactly like I can. That's just a need that I have. I was attached to an A-list movie a few years ago and I didn't feel like that was the case, and I walked. I felt like anybody could have made that movie. Any director could have stepped in and done the same thing. I'm not so certain that would interest me.

I think the James Gunn Salacious Crumb movie could be pretty great.
If it's a Salacious Crumb movie, I'll listen to anybody. I'll listen to what they have to say. I'll tell you that.

Guardians Of The Galaxy, James Gunn

How much say did you have in this movie versus how much was dictated from Marvel?
Every single line in the movie is mine. We talked early on about having Thanos in the movie, which, believe me I was excited to have Thanos in the movie because a) I love Thanos and b) I want people who have seen "The Avengers" to go see this because we're connected to it. There was no fight from me having Thanos in the movie. But for me, I wrote a group of characters with the plot points I wanted to write and the stuff that's connected to the rest of the Marvel universe was very exciting for me to be a part of. To just sit down and create what the Infinity Gems are, I got to sit down and add to the overall Marvel universe and build up the Marvel universe, because I got to create that. And that was very exciting to me.

How closely did you work with Joss Whedon on the script?
Joss read the script a couple of times and gave me some notes. The biggest note was—he read the first draft and said, "There needs to be more James Gunn in this script." And I looked around at the other guys and they were like, "Yeah yeah yeah." Then I made it more me. And that's what the movie is today. That's Joss' biggest contribution—making it more of a James Gunn movie.

When did you start thinking about Brolin for Thanos?
It was about three weeks ago… No, Josh was definitely the last person on board and we worked for a couple of days doing his motion capture. He is great for the movie. I don't think he knew what he was getting into. I think he's overwhelmed by all the attention he's getting for Thanos. And I know he was really unprepared for the movie. He was really excited when he saw the film. It really felt good.

Guardians Of The Galaxy

What did you think of the whole 'Ant-Man' situation?
I thought it was sad. Because I love Marvel and I love the guys so much and I love Edgar—he's a dear, dear friend and one of the most talented guys in the industry. That they couldn't work out their differences was sad to me but based on my experience, it's not the same one that Edgar had.

Are you aware of the upcoming Marvel movie plan that's still mystery to fans?
I know most of what movies are coming out and I know most of what the plans are, but I'm not paid to oversee films in the same way Joss is. I'm really mostly in my branch, the cosmic branch, of the Marvel universe and where those things go.

If you had to pick one Marvel character to get their own movie, what character would it be?
"The Thunderbolts."

"Guardians Of The Galaxy" opens Friday, August 1st.

Fore more from this James Gunn interview, see "James Gunn Says 'Planet Hulk'/'Guardians of the Galaxy' Rumors Are "A Bunch Of Complete Bullsh*t""

This article is related to: James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy, Interviews, Interviews, Interview, Chris Pratt

The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.

E-Mail Updates