James Gunn: 'Guardians of the Galaxy split was like my divorce'

The filmmaker will now be at the helm of rival blockbusters Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 and the Suicide Squad sequel.

Moviemaker James Gunn has broken his silence about Disney bosses' decision to rehire him as director of the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

Gunn was fired last year (18) after offensive tweets he wrote a decade ago were unearthed and caused a stir online.

Fans and the Guardians cast urged studio chiefs to reinstate him and earlier this year (Mar19), the executives decided to give the filmmaker another chance.

He tells Deadline, "I was about to sit down and talk about Suicide Squad with DC (Comics) and I was excited about that (and then Disney boss) Alan (Horn) asked me to come talk to him. I really believe he is a good man and I think he hired me back because he thought that was the right thing to do... I've always liked and admired him. I was touched by his compassion.

"You hear in Hollywood that everybody's cutthroat. That's true of a section of this industry, but there's also a lot of really good people. I'm always attracted to finding that goodness in places we don't expect, often in the characters in my movies. I got a little bit teary-eyed in his office. And then I had to go tell (Marvel boss) Kevin Feige I had just decided to do Suicide Squad, so that made me very nervous."

Gunn admits he never thought he'd get his job back: "I was writing Suicide Squad and thought of Guardians 3 as being long gone. I guess it was a possibility for a while, but the initial conversations with Alan weren't, 'Let's figure out if I should come back'. It was, 'Let's talk about this.'"

Likening the difficult situation to the end of his marriage to actress Jenna Fischer, which was officially finalised in 2008, he continues, "It was like the break-up of my marriage. I got divorced, and then had those conversations with my ex-wife: 'Let's get along as well as we possibly can and be kind to each other because we're both a large part of each other's lives'. But I would hate to look back on the six years that my wife and I were together and think, 'Oh, what a waste of time'. Instead, I think it was a time when I really grew a lot and we were really good to each other. There were some problems, and we just weren't supposed to be married, but it was well worth living that six years with my ex."

Gunn adds, "I wanted to feel that way about Disney. I didn't want to look back and feel bitter, upset or angry. Of course all sorts of emotions are attached to it. But I just wanted to be comfortable saying goodbye and splitting up, and that's where my head was at."

He is now set to start shooting The Suicide Squad later this year (19), before getting back to work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is expected to be released in 2021.

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