The scandalous James Jean.  About the man who fixed the suicide squad

The announcement that James Gunn will be responsible for the unofficial sequel to David Ayer’s highly unsuccessful “Suicide Squad” has intrigued audiences around the world, not just those with glowing faces after Marvel’s endless battle with DC. Born in St. The American Lewis has long been seen as one of the most creative entertainment creators who, in addition, enjoys the creative handling of standard superhero themes, which he has already demonstrated in his previous films, prior to the first Guardians of the Galaxy. However, the task he faced was very difficult, as evidenced by, for example, the winding fate of the new production.

Originally, work on the second film in the series was planned for 2017, which, however, was prevented by several factors, the most important of which was probably the complete flop of David Ayer’s production, which is generally considered very unsuccessful. It lacks both a coherent theme and a bit of craziness, which should characterize the story of a group of comedic outcasts who are fighting an evil greater than they are. The failure of this film made Warner Bros. I decided to look for a new manager, and on the list of interviewees there was a paid one. Mel Gibson, Daniel Espinosa, Robin Fleischer, and David Goyer.

For a long time, Jaume Collet-Serra seemed to be the favorite to take the lead in the production of the new film, but in the end he decided to do “Journey to the Jungle” and in the future he will work on the new DC movie “Black Adam”. At the end of 2018, the name Gunn finally appeared, who was appointed as a potential screenwriter and director. As befits him, he immediately began active work on a complete rewriting of the script for the second film, which, interestingly, the producers could not clearly describe as a sequel or reboot (he simply called James Gunn “Suicide Legion”). What we finally saw is in fact a very specific creativity, consisting of various elements, however, above all, carrying the pleasure of playing with cinema, which has characterized James Gunn from the early stages of his interest in filmmaking.

The unbearable son of Troma

Born in 1966 to an Irish immigrant family with five siblings, James has been interested in taking pictures from an early age. As his first and most important cinematic experience, Jan mentions the childhood films “Night of the Living Dead” and “Friday the 13th,” but without emphasizing the overwhelming sense of awe that everyone who has seen a horrible movie knows from a very young age. . The artist mentioned above all the feeling that arose after the above-mentioned product offerings that their realization did not have to be expensive, and therefore was not beyond the reach of a young man with great imagination. So the next step was to try to produce their own amateur work, which includes the first cheap zombie movies filmed by 12-year-old James and his brother with his brother, during which they used all the tips on creating suitable or cheap makeup. Special Effects, read in Fangoria’s cult magazine.

Thus, he was not far from collaborating on semi-professional filming groups, although the future director first graduated from the local university, and then also studied at the prestigious Columbia University. He described his stay there as an expensive waste of time, referring, of course, to the huge amount of money he had to pay for said studies, which in fact he did not prepare for his future work. It is clear that the representatives of his university did not like these words, because to this day they hardly admit that Gann studied there. In general, it is not surprising if we take into account that the future director spoke much more warmly about a completely different place, which, as it turned out, formed him as a mature artist.

We are talking about the famous (in) independent brand Troma, which became popular at the turn of the 80s and 90s thanks to very specific productions, including the legendary “Toxic Avenger”. Jean devoted himself to a book for this period of his career with the comprehensive title: “Everything I Want to Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger,” which he wrote with the company’s legendary founder, Lloyd Kaufman, in many places calling him his godfather and the man to whom he owes his career. . Jean made his debut in the 1996 movie “Tromeo and Juliet”, about which he wrote the script for the film. The disengagement with which William Shakespeare’s legacy is treated is perfectly expressed not even by the title itself, but also in the paraphrase of another work of the aforementioned artist, which appears in the film itself, i.e. “Many Rods for Nothing”.

Work on the set of subsequent films allowed the still young artist not only to earn good money – up to $ 400 a week, which, according to John himself, was a huge sum for Troma, but also to slowly learn a craft that included not only writing scripts, but also preparing The special effects, the choice of shooting locations, the main cast, that’s all we can call the knowledge of the film for someone who wants to become a director responsible for all the elements of the action of the film in the future. The hero himself admits in interviews that he has his dark sides; This type of approach results in the desire for absolute control over every aspect of production. However, he undoubtedly influenced the most, we can say “adult”, projects of Gunn that made him famous.

Entering the mainstream

There was a strong sense of humor coupled with the many experiments in executing mediocre but effective productions that already appeared in the later works of Gunn, who nonetheless began writing scripts. The first was the unusual superhero movie “The Specials”, then “Scooby-Doo” in 2002, and two years later, the very young screenwriter was able to fulfill his childhood dreams by working on “Dawn of the Living Dead”, which was one of the most his fans. George Romero himself spoke about the film, claiming that it is a very good action movie, which, of course, can be understood in two ways, but the screenwriter of the remake took it as a compliment.

The breakthrough was, of course, his first full-fledged directorial debut with “Slither,” which was the best-acclaimed horror movie actor in a decade. It is noteworthy that the usual session of journalists was not originally planned, because the label decided that it was meaningless in this case, because after that there would be a lot of negative opinions. However, Jean himself insisted on this offer, which he eventually won. However, while the vast majority of reviews praised the film, it did not translate into box office revenue. With a budget of about $15 million, Slither made just over $12, a loss that wasn’t a big deal for Universal Pictures. It should be noted that Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker, two actors who will appear in many of the most famous works of our hero, played in this horror game with various references to the history of the genre.

The next important stop on the way to the top was, of course, the movie “Super”, which fully demonstrated the talent for creating unusual superhero stories. The main character, played by Ryan Wilson, Frank Darbo, despite not having superpowers, decides to become a superhero after being abandoned by his wife to a drug dealer. This niche film, which did not earn even a million dollars, grew louder for a moment, and to this day it is considered one of the most important representatives of subversive entertainment cinema and a harbinger of similar images in the future.

Perhaps the original vision and a very specific sense of humor, along with the attention to detail and effective combination of different functions on the set of the film were Gunn’s main strengths during negotiations to take on the role of the next MCU project manager, which Kevin Feige himself described as undefined or even vague. In fact, the Guardians of the Galaxy could not be called the main dish of the universe from the very beginning, and initially viewers knew very little about them, which eventually turned out to be their origins. Compared to other MCU productions, “Guardians of the Galaxy” were distinguished by their original approach, aesthetics that combined various elements such as “Flash Gordon”, games from the “Mass Effect” or “Escape to Space” series, and at times it was a complete journey without a steering wheel. And of course the presence of the shed, about which he himself had already “warned” from his colleague, Joss Whedon. “He is absolutely insane, insane, but at the same time a very wise and skilled craftsman who creates his works straight from the heart. He loves raccoons, he needs them!” Which turns out to be a very accurate summary of what he created in the first two parts of this series.

War on fools

Guardians of the Galaxy

Both parts of “Guardians of the Galaxy” are very different from previous MCU films, grossed a total of more than $1.5 billion, and among many fans of the universe, they have the status of Marvel’s favorite work, mainly due to their extraordinary aesthetic and vision, In addition to the original humor and the way the main characters are depicted. Thus, James Gunn himself came a long way from being an assistant in the plans for subsequent Troma productions to the absolute pinnacle of cinematic entertainment, and no one doubted that he was the one who made the third film in the series. Here, however, some problems arose …

After a political controversy on Twitter, the commentators, who clearly describe themselves as right-wing, decided to extract the director’s old comments from the lack of the Internet, in which he presented an unusual feel and, what’s worse, far from political correctness. From humor and banter, among others, from 9/11, AIDS, the Holocaust and even pedophilia. A scandal erupted, to which Disney representatives can respond in the only way they know: by simply severing all ties with the creator, which has been praised by almost everyone so far. Gunn did not help the statements in which he defended himself quite reasonably without making any efforts to whiten himself. And he explained specific statements with an old attitude, the basis of which was the desire to provoke at all costs, which, of course, he no longer needed – as a very successful director.

Today’s jokes with Troma’s previous work, in which Gunn made his first professional touches, are interesting today. Its authors even liked the sharp and politically incorrect mood, which was not a bad thing for the mainstream, because it remained in place. The same would likely be the case with Gunn’s mentioned tweets, if someone didn’t want to use them as a weapon in a private battle for words. The situation also emphasizes the peculiarity of current times, when almost everyone should be careful, because nothing is lost on the Internet, as it has already been discovered, among other things, many journalists or athletes who are often retroactively punished for their old statements.

Fortunately, Gunn’s case is completely different, because he immediately received support not only from his partners, like almost all the actors of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” or the aforementioned Lloyd Kaufman, but also a significant part of the audience, realizing that this issue concerns only a crisis PR, which a large company like Disney has handled on average at best. Thus, no one had any objections to hiring the creator of “Suicide Legion”, and in addition, Gunn would also return to create the next installment of “Guardians of the Galaxy”, which is undoubtedly good news, and not only for the MCU, but also for viewers. The original approach to superhero cinema and sharpened humor are actually standards nowadays in the genre, and the director from St. Lewis almost assures us that we might see something unusual in this case, too.

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