Lessons Not Learned In Hollywood: James Gunn

Wow, Warner Brothers seems determined to shoot themselves multiple times in the foot, after the majority of their DC-based film franchise sputtered. No sooner did Disney fire the vile James Gunn for his history of making rape jokes, now Warner Brothers is reportedly hiring the gross filmmaker to develop a sequel to their first Suicide Squad movie:

James Gunn has been hired by Warner Bros and DC to write with an eye to direct the next installment of the Suicide Squad franchise. It’s the first job he’s taken since he parted ways with Disney, which let him go from the lucrative Guardians of the Galaxy franchise in July in the wake of old controversial tweets that had been compiled by alt-right journalists and sent to Disney.

[…] Gunn’s departure was a shocking one, but numerous studio execs told Deadline that they were eager to try to find a project with Gunn, who’d written and was expected to direct the third Guardians after his first film’s $773 million global gross was surpassed by the first sequel, which grossed $863 million worldwide. It has been easy for studios to run from filmmakers caught up in this #MeToo moment, but Gunn was the decided exception. Many felt that his attempt to be provocative at a time he was coming out of the Troma film factory were only words, even if his missives were indefensible.

First, what’s telling about this article is that it doesn’t make clear the tweets involved rape jokes. Second, it sounds like they’re turning this all into a right-wing agenda affair, and implying the Disney Corp. shouldn’t have responded to what could end up becoming Time Warner’s disaster. Third, it’s most likely the “many” are Hollywood hypocrites who couldn’t have cared less about Harvey Weinstein’s antics if he hadn’t been exposed as the sexually abusive gangster he really was. This all spells a public relations disaster in the making. Even Bryan Singer, who was accused of sexual assault, could prove damaging to any future films he makes, such as a possible new take on Red Sonja. The hard truth is that sometimes, words aren’t just words at all. Sometimes, they can really be sick, repugnant and altogether damaging, as this case of a vile Image contributor should make clear.

To make matters worse, David Bautista announced his delight at the choice, and might even get a role in the planned sequel to Suicide Squad. Ugh. But really irritating is what’s said at the end of this AP Wire syndicate article:

Gunn gives Warner Bros. and DC Comics one of the most fan boy-approved voices in comic book films at a time when Warner Bros. is remaking much of its superhero operations. Gunn’s witty, irreverent sensibility turned Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” from little-known minor characters into one Disney’s most acclaimed and bankable franchises. The first “Guardians” grossed $773 million and the sequel grossed $863 million.

I bet your pardon? I may think of myself as a fanboy, but I do NOT approve of creepy men who make repulsive jokes about sexual assault and child molestation. To do that would give a bad name to the whole idea of “fanboy-ism”. It’s bad enough there’s a segment of society pushing the perception of fanboys as messy lemmings living in their mother’s basement. It’d be much worse if we gave the impression fanboys have lenient views on serious issues.

And a man who makes horrific jokes about sexual abuse and attends parties sensationalizing the same isn’t somebody I’d consider witty, let alone sensible. If Warner Brothers goes ahead with Gunn as a screenwriter/director, they’ll be inviting a lot of embarrassing scrutiny that could torpedo a possible franchise. Any lessons that could’ve been learned from this controversy have gone out the window very quickly, alas.

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Originally published at Four Color Media Monitor
Follow Avi Green on Twitter @avigreen1

Avi Green

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1