‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Director James Gunn Responds to Blog Controversy

Published 1 year ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:23 am,

Filmmaker James Gunn is known for his bleak and twisted sense of humor, which is why Marvel’s decision to hire him on as director for Guardians of the Galaxy is regarded as a bold move that could pay off handsomely – according to such people as Marvel Movie Universe architect and Avengers director Joss Whedon.

However, that hiring is not without risks, as Gunn’s previous approach to getting a laugh has been received by some as inconsistent and mean-spirited. One look at the love/hate reactions to Gunn’s scripts for the comic book superhero satires The Specials and Super - the latter of which he also directed – confirms as much.

The announcement that casting has begun for Guardians of the Galaxy was overshadowed this week, when such sites as The Mary Sue discovered comments that Gunn posted in an article breaking down the list of “50 Superheroes You Most Want To Have Sex With” (as voted for by people on Facebook, Twitter and Gunn’s personal website). Gunn’s ‘editorial insight’ has since been removed, but can still be read over at Change.org – which has started a petition to remove him as director on Guardians – but be warned, it is very NSFW and not for the easily-offended.

Here is Gunn’s response to the controversy (posted on his FB page):

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog that was meant to be satirical and funny. In rereading it over the past day I don’t think it’s funny. The attempted humor in the blog does not represent my actual feelings. However, I can see where statements were poorly worded and offensive to many. I’m sorry and regret making them at all.

People who are familiar with me as evidenced by my Facebook page and other mediums know that I’m an outspoken proponent for the rights of the gay and lesbian community, women and anyone who feels disenfranchised, and it kills me that some other outsider like myself, despite his or her gender or sexuality, might feel hurt or attacked by something I said. We’re all in the same camp, and I want to do my best to make this world a better place for all of us. I’m learning all the time. I promise to be more careful with my words in the future. And I will do my best to be funnier as well. Much love to all – James

Part of the issue here is that most people weren’t familiar with Gunn’s tendency to generate material that some find off-putting and unpleasant (though, anyone who’s either seen or is familiar with movies like Slither and Super could’ve told you as much). Hence, many were left with an unexpected, unpleasant, feeling after being exposed to Gunn’s material for the first time, having a response similar to others who’ve actually seen his previous films - like our own Rob Frappier, who mentioned in his review of Super that it “ignores story in favor of a nihilistic philosophy that is too far removed from my personal beliefs to be engaging.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Banner 570x248 Guardians of the Galaxy Director James Gunn Responds to Blog Controversy

Dark Horse Comics Editor Rachel Edidin has issued her own response to the matter, addressing Gunn’s comments from the angle that they are indeed meant to be satirical:

If Gunn’s list is satire, it’s bad satire, because it skews incredibly close to material that’s not only already out there, but that comes from official media and in some cases industry professionals. There’s a significant slice of the comics community that is that misogynist and homophobic, and says so loudly and frequently. It’s telling, I think, that so many people took what Gunn wrote at face value: this is material we’ve seen before, again and again, presented seriously.

An over-the-top parody of misogyny falls pretty flat when you’re doing it in a context where a lot of the people in positions of relative power and visibility, as well as significant vocal blocs, are actually that misogynist.

And when you lampoon something that prevalent and that extreme, it’s awfully easy to go in with good intentions and end up with results that actually reinforce what you were trying to subvert.

Edidin raises some of the same criticisms here as those that’ve been brought up in regard to Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass comic book – namely, that it inadvertently ends up celebrating certain unpleasant aspects of pop culture, which it originally meant to satirize. Of course, there are also many people out there who feel the opposite to be true with Kick-Ass and defend it accordingly, calling attention to the importance of interpretation – and why context can make all the difference in the world (which brings us back to Gunn’s comments).

So, here’s the million-dollar question: How much (if at all) does any of this reflect on Marvel’s decision to have James Gunn direct Guardians of the Galaxy? Let us know in the comments section.

-

Source: The Mary Sue, Change.org, James Gunn, Rachel Edidin

TAGS: guardians of the galaxy

56 Comments

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  1. Well I read the blog entry last night I thought it was extremely funny and extremely inoffensive, despite what Mr Gunn has to say publicly to get a bunch of attention seeking aholes off his back.

    • Same here. I have plenty of respect for people, but comedy that has to pass through the PC filters just. Isn’t FUNNY.

      Someone once observed that Mel Brooks wouldn’t be able to produce his funniest films today. Real comedy THRIVES on non-PC humor.

      • George Carlin would have had a field day with this.

        :D

        B

    • Exactly… and Gunn is going to kick everyone’s @SS with GOTG! Great hire and hopefully great movie.

  2. Keep James Gunn*
    The comments and the movie r separate…leave it alone

  3. Hilarious.

  4. I don’t really care, I just can’t wait for GOTG to come out! I’ve never heard of them until there were rumors of the movie and now I can’t wait to see it realized to the screen!

  5. He made a decent apology. Let’s move on, please.

  6. lol

    Well I did just head over to that archived copy of the original post, and it’s kind of funny, though not very creative on some counts. There is also nothing offensive on it, PUH-lease.

    I ran a comic store for about 12 years, and most of my customers were roughly my age (im 38 now, back then I was 19-31). All of us had read comics when we were at the age (like 11-13) where we ABSOLUTELY daydreamed about having sex with every female superhero who was drawn amazingly. PUH-lease. This is normal stuff, and we made far funnier jokes about it tbh once we were adults.

    Of course Diana made #1 on that list. :D

    lol

    B

  7. I read the blog, and while it’s definitely written in a “Two drunk/high college kids talking in a dorm” type of way, I don’t think you can take it for more than that. Sure, if your a women, you don’t want women talked about that way, but at the same time, the guy has a right to his opinions and it shouldn’t have any bearing on his ability to direct GOTG.

    Honestly, I think people are overall bored nowadays and need something to do or to fight in order to make the thier lives have meaning. Not sure this is the crusade type of statements. I understand if he made statements againsts young children, or minorities etc..But he didn’t.

    People really need to pick and choose thier battles.

  8. Marvel will definitively take in account any kind of bad pres before moving out. But all of this is very silly, those are old opinions and I find hard to believe that Gunn thinks the same way or is the same person he was years ago, right now he seems like a solid choice and that is what matters.

    These people seem to be on the level of never forget or never forgive and talk about a person they don’t know as if he is an un-fixable human who doesn’t deserve a chance to show maturity. Way to gain advantage of an old, poorly worded blog.

    • They already knew about this before signing him.

      He got the job because he knows his books and has a unique creative vision, as twisted or as risky as that may be. There aren’t many industry folk like Gunn in that regard and that’s why they want him on Guardians, the most obscure of Marvel’s films.

      • Yeah, bet they knew, but they apparently didn’t foresee this mess. Just hope the man gets to keep the job, he’s adequate.

  9. Let me get this straight:
    He was commenting on a list about which female comic book characters you would like to have sex with the most, and why…and he was offensive?
    The very thesis of the article is which inanimate characters you would like to have sex with. Was he supposed to take that s*** seriously? Was he supposed to answer, “I’d choose Wonder Woman, because she has a majestic beauty and personifies the graceful strength of a woman who could bare me many children.”???
    There are so many cases of racism, prejudice, sexism, and homophobia out there and we’re attacking this guy for making a few, admittedly lewd, yet harmless remarks. They hurt absolutely NOONE. Who would go into this article with an open mind and leave upset? NOONE!
    It’s the people who are too lazy to get out there and spend their energies on ACTUAL DISPLAYS OF PREJUDICE, and sit on their asses actively researching topics that they already know will piss them off. AND THEN, they read something and, what do you know?, it gives them just enough juice to get s***** so they start a petition and stir up a fervor with other, like-minded, people who will agree with them at the disgusting display of poor, distatestful humor that they never would’ve had to lay their poor virgin eyes on unless they’d gone looking for it.
    We’re one step away from “Westboro Churchism” taking over, where every person who has a problem with someone or some ideal decides to rally up the troops and fight the noble cause that they could just as easily ignore and focus on something of their taste.

    • +1,000,000

    • Hells to the yeah man…Go after scum bags like Rush Limbaugh or Ann coulter or the Westboro Baptist pieces of trash. And I’m sure they do, but I don’t get how they can go after people like that and then switch to something as harmless and minute as this.

      Plus..A lot of guys just talk that way. Doesn’t directly reflect our true views of women.

      • Save your left wing tripe for another site.

        Comparing these 3 separate entities show your ignorance.

        • Lol…You don’t even know if I’m a left or right guy. But if you honestly think that those two people and that group are worth defending, and any insult on them is “left wing tripe”, then I think you’re the one oozing ignorance.

    • True. Nowadays it seems like you can’t comment on the sex appeal of any of these characters and whatnot. I guess sex is a no-no unless it’s initiated by a misunderstood pure maiden and she gets to pick the dude who happens to be either a sparkly vampire or some super rich aloof guy with a bondage fetish.

    • @Mr. E: couldn’t agree more man.

  10. I made the mistake off reading statements from some of the signers. I almost drowned in the sanctimony and self-righteousness. I don’t like the idea of someone having to pass some kind of cultural litmus test before being allowed to do something. He’s directing a movie that has a character named Rocket Raccoon, not interviewing for a job as a preschool teacher.

  11. People are so prissy nowadays. not that serious, kinda funny imo

  12. These people are unbelievable! James was just trying to be funny and let’s be honest the very thing that made these superheroines popular in the first place was their sex appeal. There are starving children in Africa and these people have NO right to complain about some harmless jokes! COME ON! If anyone else made these same comments they’d be overlooked! Where becoming a nation trying to be politically correct and that’s just stupid! We can’t protect everyone from being offended all the time! No keep James Gunn in 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy will be a hit and all of this will be forgotten! Plus the guy issued an apology (I wouldn’t have)and he deserves to keep the director’s chair I just hope and pray he doesn’t leave or get fired! Come on theyre JOKES people theyre NOT supposed to be taken seriously! If these people have their way jokes will be illegal cause they might offend someone!I’ve seen directors and acotrs post MUCH WORST than these comments so just ignore them and these people just need to get a LIFE!P.S JOEL EDGERTON FOR STAR-LORD!!!

  13. the petition creator needs to lighten up, it was years ago, and just harmeless fun, he’s intitled to his funny opinion as much as she is to hers to not enjoy it. but the second you try and censor comedy, you open a slippery slope allowing anyone to protest anything under grounds that they find it offensive. and comedy just doesnt work like that. it cannot thrive like that, so if you dont like it, dont read it.

    • Tread carefully with this thought! Censorship is generally a bad idea in comedy as well as pretty much everything, but that doesn’t mean that people who take offense are NOT ALLOWED to object. After all, that would be censorship! This “controversy” sounds silly to me, but I might still find his words disturbing for whatever reason. Comedy is free speech, but not a free pass from society to say anything without backlash. Jokes can be ignorant, distasteful, cruel, motivated by intolerance, etc. As free people, we get to react. What we don’t get to do is take away anyone’s voice or outlaw an opinion. I’m not gonna read what he wrote since it is probably not funny, and may annoy me with reminders of the frat boy mentality that so many men find par for the course. So what if guys “think this way?” Is that an excuse for stupidity? So my point is not about the humor I didn’t read, it’s just about holding people accountable for their words and actions, without censorship. Clarifies the issues raised here, I think. Just my opinion, and u know what they say about those…

      • Okay, so I read the thing after all, and the guy’s problem is super obvious now: he shouldn’t have written the dumb jokes down, much less signed his name to them. In the context of juvenile humor between friends, this is so unremarkably offensive. I may have laughed at this twenty years ago, but putting it out into the world is a lot different than just saying something to a friend who knows you and may contexualize your words as shock-value obscenity and lust rather than an opinion worth sharing with the world. Seriously, if I saw a drunk guy saying this stuff I wouldn’t care at all, but publishing these thoughts suggests a profound lack of judgement and blindness to the effects of pervassive, ugly thought-patterns. Good apology though!

        As for the ideas that comic fans suddenly mature at a given age, cast off their warped view of women, and abandon the kind of creepy horniness that has made comic books popular and marketable for generations… How would that happen, exactly? Not to trash all comics or fans of comics, such as myself. Who here has never been disturbed by the representation of feminity at least, if not masculinity and sexuality and the ever-important surface value of people as depicted in comics? It can be very unhealthy to train people to accept some exhaggerations and interpretations of people’s value as depicted in their implausible, false beauty. Women still want to look like Barbie, and men still want to date Barbie. How do we address this insidious ugliness? My favorite comics are guilty of disturbing representations of people. It is a mark of shame on the industry. The alternative is not a prudish polar opposite, but something less warped and culturally embarrassing. At least the US isn’t the birthplace of tentacle porn. Though I suspect we played a role in its inception… Real people are beautiful, and don’t need to be drawn out of proportion to become attractive. Of course most people aren’t so nice to look at, so we needn’t depict a pile of uggo’s just to get all PC about it. (that’s my semi-humorous attempt at irony… and the ugly truth!)

  14. I would bang the hell outta Power Girl! …oops!

    I mean…uh..I would find her emotionally stimulating and value her spirituality equally along with her physical appearance, with an ultimate goal of pro-creation.

    Jesus…people need to lighten up.

    • I agree with the people saying it’s no big deal. It seems this petition starter is somehow equating harmless satire on men’s basic carnal desire with misogyny. Ladies, just because we look at a photo or a piece of art of an incredibly attractive woman and say “Would bang” doesn’t mean that’s all what we’re looking for or expect of a woman.

  15. This is one of those times where the word police need to just go home. This petition over the top….As one said above, what else do you expect from an article whose headline reads, “Top 50 Superheroes You’d Have Sex With”? For effs sakes, the characters are all overtly cliched and stereotypical in their writing and depiction to boot…The few male characters that aren’t gigantic, brooding simpletons with varying degrees of morality are some combination of witty, comedic, genius, or geek. And is there any female character in the Marvel Universe that isn’t drawn with humungous watermelon sized breasts and a backside that could trample a rhinoceros? I read marvel, and love it, but its all hyper-sexualized to begin with…What else are you going to use, other than vulgar and sexually charged satire, to tackle the subject of superhero poontang?

    Just be objective about it…Compare a guy like this to someone like Frank Miller…Who actually is an intolerant misogynist whack job and its obvious that something like this is a joke. Immature and poorly written, yes. But its pretty obvious which guy is crazy.

    And I understand these people’s plight. But This just isn’t the venue to fight this fight. Its hollywood, for effs sakes. No ones going, “You mean to tell me that HOLLYWOOD is promoting hyper-sexualized cultures and gender roles? WHO KNEW?” Going after one hollywood blockbuster for potentially insensitive gender roles is a fruitless endeavor because no matter who directs this movie, Michael Bay is still going to come out with 12 more transformers movies littered with terrible messages. With Hollywood and general entertainment, its outside the realm of reality. You’re always supposed to suspend your disbelief, so no matter what the content of the movie is, in the end its just a movie…Not to mention that kids have things called parents to teach them right and wrongs about all this stuff in the first place.

  16. I personally have no problem with any of his statements, but from a business perspective I can see why this might be a problem for Marvel. I’m sure they want their movies to be as accessible as possible to any kind of audience (especially GOTG which I feel is going to be a challenge to sell to begin with), so if Gunn is making comments that offend people, he’s going to drive away certain audiences. I wish people would realize that personal lives and professional lives should remain separate, and so that even if Gunn had misogynistic/homophobic/whatever views (which I don’t think he does), that doesn’t matter as long as those views aren’t reflected in the movie he creates. I think people are blowing this way up, as usual with these kinds of things.

    • Marvel didn’t appear to have any problem creating a strong, intelligent, ‘smokin’ hot’ portrayal of the Black Widow, while at the same time, exploring her inner turmoil, morality and other character dimensions (through multiple movies).
      Picture her sitting on Tony Starks armchair in that little skimpy business outfit and tight white blouse, then move to her running circles around him verbally, and finally stabbing a chitauri alien in the back with double daggers and steering an airborn sled with his dead body.

      Well done Marvel.
      Let’s hope DC can do the same with Wonder Woman without totally destroying the character.

    • I agree. If he does have issues with women, then that’s his problem. Just keep it out of the film and I’ll be okay.

  17. A guy talking about having sex with comic book characters…why wouldn’t we take that seriously? Give me a break. People are so damn thin skinned.

  18. On second thought, I have to “+1,000,000″ everyone who commented on this article.

    Yes, his comments are vulgar and “NSFW” but to remove him from directing a movie because of sexual fantasies about COMIC BOOK SUPERHEROINES? I wonder what the writer of that petition thinks about Roman Polanski…

  19. Some people need to sack up and get a sense of humor

  20. I’m offended because people are so damned easily offended. Can we move on please?

    • I’m offended at you for being offended at the people who get easily offended!

  21. I saw my first James Gunn interview on AOTS last week and getting an idea of his sense of humor really calmed my uneasiness about him directing GotG. The interview is on his FB page. Anyone who sees it SHOULD have a hard time believing that anything he wrote as a satire was malicious.

  22. First off, what they said ^, all of them.

    Then on to the other idea that because of his previous movies Marvel should reconsider him. Let me bring up a little known director know as Peter Jackson. He did a series of movies called “The Lord of The Rings”. One of his first movies was a gem called “Bad Taste” check it out and you’ll get my point.

    Not to say GOTG is going to be LOTR. I just feel Gunn has the range to pull it off. Looking forward to GOTG!

  23. PC? Nope
    Funny? Nope
    Care? Nope

    PC police need to get a grip.

  24. What’s really really funny is I just watched “Super”. I had never seen it before. Umm.. lol… if the PC police thought that blog post was bad, what about the MOVIE??? lol It was amusing, a little disturbing, and very silly.

    B

  25. Oh my goodness, a bunch of men who read comics can’t see the problem with treating female characters like they’re pieces of meat and speaking about them in an incredibly derogatory manner. Call me surprised!

    There’s a BIG difference between appreciating a woman’s beauty and wanting to have sex with her, and being a pig about it. He was a pig about it. Turning lesbians straight? Banging women? Teen mothers are easy? No thanks. It’s the equivalent of yelling at women as they walk across the street. It’s not flattering — it’s uncomfortable. And disrespectful.

    I absolutely appreciate the apology, and I hope he doesn’t treat the women in GotG the same way he treated the women on that list. Here’s hoping for a good movie, and for what seems to be a lot male comic book fans to finally grow up and recognise the difference between being offensive and appreciative.

    • Those weren’t WOMEN on that list, silly. They were COMIC BOOK TOONS!!! And the list isn’t just MALE. LMAO ty for proving my point.

      B

      • God I hate no edit button. That list wasn’t just FEMALE toons. Batman was #2.

        B

  26. that’s what’s wrong with America today. you can’t say anything without getting somebody’s panties in a bunch. When someone actually says something funny, it’s probably not PC and someone will naturally get offended, it’s what happens next that is the real problem with America, we usually will either end up suing or in this case calling for someone’s job. It’s shameful

    • Not just America yeti, the whole world has gone PC-crazy.

  27. This may have offended some people but i thought the post was hilaurious .
    Also i think the Guardians might be in Avengers 2 !

  28. This reminds me of a real life event from my past.

    A British friend of mine got married to an American girl from Alabama…… strange mix, I know. I was best man. During the wedding rehearsal the two families met for the first time.

    The Brits were smart, witty, and funny with talk full of biting satire and double entendre. I love British humor.

    The southerners were painfully polite, dour and serious.

    As you can probably guess the southerners were very insulted by everything that came out of the Brits mouths. Personally, I was laughing like a hyena so hard during the rehearsal dinner that I nearly choked to death on my chicken cordon bleu.

    The plain fact is that my Brit buddy and his family were very warm people. Non judgmental, generous, loyal and trustworthy. Normal dinner conversation for them was sitting around insulting each other. In contrast, I later found out that this particular Alabama family were racist, misogynist, homophobic, adulterous, back stabbers. Who would never say anything rude about anyone to their faces. Only behind their backs to each other. Needless to say the marriage didn’t last. The super “polite” Southern girl cheated on my buddy later with her ex boyfriend. Not funny.

    I’m not saying all people from Alabama are like this. The point I am making is about the difference between people’s sense of humor. I can joke with my gay cousin about his gayness without him getting upset, he just laughs and insults me back for being a heterosexual. Then we’re both laughing. But the rest of my family get all worked up when this happens.

    So what I’m saying to all those easily offended PC people is: “STFU”

  29. i think people need to pull there heads out of thee asses and think life needs to be so PC! the more you try to make things PC the more uncomfortable you are making the situation, the more you are pointing out something that bothers you about a person, the more you make someone feel less than. Political correctness is a bull s*** excuse society created to cover up our inecurites. get over it people and move on with your lives and stop giving a damn. just worry about your life and your inner circle and everything will be gravy.

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