He is a man as a human being, but “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” helmer James Gunn says he is a “female and a male” in spirit when he picks up a pen to jot down his ideas as a writer and director.
There’s one thing that ties together Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Slither” and “Dawn of the Dead” — all of which he wrote. And that is the presence of strong female characters.
Gunn says it’s not intentional and comes naturally.
“I think that as a human being, I am male but as a writer I feel like a female and a male. I have just always been attracted to female protagonists as a writer, whether in ‘Slither’ or ‘Dawn of the Dead’,” Gunn told IANS during an interaction at a Disney press meet for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” — which releases in India on Friday — here in the Japanese capital.
“I just feel these are natural characters, just like male characters. And in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, I found this idea of (exploring the relationship between) two sisters to be something that is not utilised much in films, especially in superhero movies. They are always about brothers, or father or son… I think in the first part too, having a movie about a mother and son was a unique thing for a superhero movie.
“I just like having everybody’s point of view. Growing up feeling like I was an outcast, I always wanted to tell stories of people who feel like they don’t have a voice,” he added.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Gunn has three brothers, who are also in showbiz, and a sister. His tryst with filmmaking started with an eight-millimetre camera when he was 12.
Gunn started his career in Hollywood with studio Troma Films and went on to work on bigger films like writing scripts for “Scooby-Doo” movies and “Dawn of the Dead”. He was first noticed with his screenplay for “Tromeo & Juliet” in 1996.
After writing and directing “Slither” in 2006 and “Super” in 2010, he made the right noise with superhero film franchise “Guardians of the Galaxy” — which he directed and co-wrote.
The second part of the film is raking in big internationally too. According to deadline.com, the film bagged $106 million in its overseas opening this past weekend. The third part has already been announced, and “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Avengers” crossover is also in the pipeline.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” — starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Asian actress Pom Klementieff with Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper as voice talent — is a story of misfits uniting together to save the galaxy. This time, in volume two, the film will focus on family ties too.
Gunn asserts that he doesn’t think about diversity, but definitely about “trying to get as many different types of people in a film”.
“I will say that one of the greatest experiences that I ever had in casting was for the role of Mantis (essayed by Klementieff). She is an Asian female in the comics and I thought that she should be Asian female in the film too.”
With a long and gruelling audition process for the role of Mantis, Gunn unearthed a reality of Hollywood.
“It was a real testament to me that some people aren’t given as many chances as other people.”
Talking about the “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel, Gunn said: “Everybody gets their piece of pie this time and that is what made this movie so much fun to me. Because I do come naturally from a place where I like telling ensemble stories about a bunch of characters as opposed to just one.”
(The writer’s trip was at the invitation of Disney. Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at email@example.com)
By Sugandha Rawal