Timeline: James Gunn’s long and winding road from Troma to the top of DC Studios
By Paul N. Howard
James Gunn’s career has been a long journey. It’s been a journey that was made in the dark by a man who only decided to shine the light of his genius and talent upon the world in 2003 with the release of directorial debut “Super” and writer-director with Tromeo and Juliet. The move to DC Films was inevitable, and with “Guardians of the Galaxy” now in production, Gunn now finds himself on the pinnacle of the comic book movie business.
Before we continue today, let’s take a second to get caught up on his journey.
Gunn began his career in the late 1970s with one of the earliest professional films in the industry, and by 1981, his name was known to the industry as a stand-up comic, writer, and director. This was all in a field of film that had been dominated by three major players: George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas. Lucas was the master of the medium, using his extensive library to great effect. In the hands of just anyone, his films are perfect: epic, rich and beautiful. His films also cost so much that he was able to dominate the industry, and it was a problem because Lucas would leave for one reason or another.
The other two were the Spielbergs who were responsible for movies like “The Color Green,” which is one of my personal favorites, and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” which is a film I saw a dozen times for the sole purpose of seeing it again during my second year of law school.
The Lucas and Spielberg problem was that they were all great directors and writers, but not great film makers. So Gunn was forced to pursue a career in writing and directing. He would go on to direct episodes of “The Adventures of Pete and Pals” with Gary Marshall, and then go on to direct the comedy, “Super” with Jason Segel. This is where his career would take a turn.
“Super” was a great film; it was funny, it was smart, it