This week, our Super News Live team had the chance to sit down and do a Facebook Live video with none of other than #JamesGunn to promote the upcoming #TheBelkoExperiment, which he wrote and produced.
As is always the case with the ever-candid Gunn, the conversation ranged over a variety of topics, from his ongoing bromance with Michael Rooker, to the power of dreaming, to his moments of self-doubt when making Guardians of the Galaxy. Here are the seven most interesting things we learned from our talk.
1. Rooker Would Be His Very First Target If They Were Ever Trapped In A Real Life Belko Experiment
The bromance of James Gunn and #MichaelRooker is well-documented by this point. They've achieved the sort of shit-talking that only two people who really love each other can achieve—starting with Gunn vowing Rooker would be the first to die in a real-life Belko Experiment:
"Together me and Michael Rooker have made...I think we've made five movies together, two webseries, two reality shows, and a video game. If you want to know Hell is like, Hell is like having to wake up and see Michael Rooker's actual face at work every morning.
You know, The Belko Experiement is a movie about everybody in the office has to kill each other. So of course, one of the conversations on set was, you know, "If we had to kill somebody in this room, who would you kill?" Every single person said Rooker first. He was the easy choice."
2. His Two Favorite Superhero Movies Right Now Aren't Even In The MCU
For as vocal as Gunn has been about supporting the movies in the #MCU—and he truly loves them—it turns out that his two favorite superhero movies of the moment don't belong to the House of Mouse. When asked about how he feels about R-rated superhero movies now, he had a surprising answer:
"Now it's all the rage. But rightfully so because of the two really good superhero movies that are R-rated, Logan and Deadpool. I love both of those movies, I think they're both great. And out of all of the movies that have come out in the wake of Guardians, I feel like those are my favorite two of all."
3. He Was Fairly (Okay, Mostly) Confident When Making 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'
Even though he'd never done a blockbuster on the scale of a #Marvel movie before, Gunn was self-assured he could do it. Well, you know, except for those moments in the middle of the night where he'd wake up and worry he was actually making a flop:
"I was pretty confident. I mean, I felt excited, because for the first time in my life I was actually able to sit down, envision a scene in my head, and then make it happen, simply because of the budget. And then because of the freedom that Marvel afforded me in making the movie and doing something different, incorporating the music, incorporating the Walkman, and doing things that weren't exactly what people expected from a Marvel film. And so I had an amazing time...
I would wake up occasionally at 3 a.m. in the morning afraid that I was making 'Pluto Nash 2' and that no one was going to understand it or that it was going to be the biggest Marvel bomb of all time—which all of the articles on the internet said at the time. So I had a little bit of fear but for the most part it was just so invigorating creatively that I loved making the movie."
4. He Loves DC And Thinks Fans Need To Chill On The Marvel-DC Rivalry
Turns out, Gunn is also a huge fan of #DCComics and genuinely roots for their movies just as he does with Marvel movies. When asked if he'd ever want to direct a film in the #DCEU, he had nothing but good things to say about his "rivals":
"I always want to see every superhero film, especially when it's a superhero I love, be a success and an awesome film whether it's Marvel or it's DC. I think that fans are a lot more antagonistic toward each other than the filmmakers are and so I think the idea of doing a DC movie is exciting and fun, but I only have so many years left of life and I have so many things I want to do!"
5. He'll Defend The Superhero Genre From Snobs Until His Dying Day
James Gunn has made his stance on snobbery toward superhero movies known in the past. He doubled down on his defense of it with us, but gave us insight into what prompted his now-famous defense of the genre:
"At the time, it was really a reaction to [the fact that] my visual effects for 'Guardians' were nominated for an Academy Award. And Steph [Ceretti], our visual effects supervisor, was going around the country doing all sorts of interviews, and there seemed to be this, from the mainstream film press, this sort of derision. He felt put down by a lot of the folks that write about mainstream films.
And it's like, I love these characters. I can assure you I put—you know, I've been working on 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' now for three years, I've done nothing else, I don't have any life—and I love the characters more than anything. I don't know if it's as good as other movies; it's not my job to judge, it's my job to make it. But I can tell you that I love the films and I put as much care and as much of my soul as I can into those movies and that when it comes to creative and artistic freedom I have absolutely no bounds whatsoever, I'm able to do anything I want. At least, so far I've been able to...
So it can be a little bit of a bummer when people start to make speeches about how superhero movies suck and they want, you know, some other type of movie to be the sole cinemagoing experience."
6. His Worst Job Ever Was So Bad He Quit After A Day
We've all had bad jobs. You've had 'em, I've had 'em, and James Gunn has had 'em. Though he admits his worst job ever wouldn't be as bad as, say, your coworkers trying to murder you like in The Belko Experiment, it was still bad enough so that he split ASAP:
"The worst job I ever had is that I was actually a telemarketer...for a day. I had to go in and make phone calls to people who didn't want to hear from you, and ask them questions, go through questionnaires about John Deere equipment. [laughing] I didn't know what the heck I was talking about. So that was definitely the worst job and I went in at the end of the day and said, 'I just can't do this; I hate this job.' And I quit."
7. Dreaming Is Actually His Secret Weapon
Gunn has spoken before about how the idea for The Belko Experiment came to him in a dream. But even the best writers get hung up on plot snags and writer's block. Turns out, Gunn has a secret weapon to combat that: dreams.
"You know, dreaming is actually a big part of my writing process. A lot of times I'll be writing and working very hard and writing can tire you out because you're thinking so much. So I'll go in and I'll take a nap and fall asleep—maybe I'll be in a hard spot in the script—and I'll fall asleep for maybe 15 minutes and I'll dream my way out of it. It happens a lot."
There you have it! The delightfully clever brain of James Gunn, straight from us to you. You're welcome.
The Belko Experiment is in theaters on Friday, March 17th.