As the director of low-budget films Slither and Super, James Gunn might seem like an odd choice to take on helming Marvel’s latest superhero film, and hopeful franchise, Guardians of the Galaxy. On the other hand, the sheer quirkiness of the property (there is, for example, a raccoon space assassin) was probably also begging for an outside-the-box director.
“The more I talked about it, the more excited I got. I saw the opportunity to do the exact movie I’d always wanted to do and never thought I’d have the chance—a space opera,” Gunn tells Film Journal International. “As we talked, I could see visually what I would do with the movie, like bringing back some of the colorful palettes of sci-fi movies like Forbidden Planet and Fantastic Voyage. So I threw my hat in the ring. At first it was me against five other directors; then it was me against three other directors; then it was me against one other director; and then it was just me.”
Gunn was encouraged to make the movie as funny as he wanted and was allowed free reign with its unusual casting, which included Chris Pratt as a leading man, Bradley Cooper voicing the aforementioned raccoon, and Gunn’s favorite collaborators Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker filling out other roles. “With a movie like Super, I knew it would have a punk-rock vibe of f***ing with the viewers, so obviously it was going to be made for a much smaller audience. Guardians is for a broader group and I wanted to make the most fun, exciting and emotional film I could for as many people as possible,” Gunn explains.
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