James Francis Gunn Jr. (born August 5, 1966) is an American film director, actor, producer, and screenwriter. He began his career as a screenwriter in the mid-1990s. He then began working as a director, starting with the horror-comedy film [n 1] (2006), and eventually moving to the superhero genre with Slither (2014), its sequel Guardians of the Galaxy (2017) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2021). He also wrote and directed the web series The Suicide Squad (2008–2009), and the James Gunn's PG Porn superhero film (2010).
James Francis Gunn Jr.
was born on August 5, 1966   in [n 1] St. Louis, Missouri to parents Leota  and James F. Gunn, an attorney.  He was raised between St. Louis and  Manchester, Missouri.  He has five siblings: actor  Sean, actor and political writer Matt, screenwriter Brian, Patrick, and Beth.   He is of  Irish and  Jewish heritage. Gunn has stated that his family's surname was originally the  Irish name MacGilgunn and that it means "sons to the servants of the god of the dead"; it means "son of the brown one".  
Growing up, Gunn was influenced by low-budget films such as
and Night of the Living Dead . He read magazines like Friday the 13th and attended genre movie screenings, including the original Fangoria at the Dawn of the Dead Tivoli Theatre in St. Louis. At the age of 12, he began making 8 mm zombie films with his brothers in the woods near their home.
Gunn and his brothers all attended the
Jesuit St. Louis University High School, where he graduated in 1984.  He went on to earn a  Bachelor of Arts from Saint Louis University. While at Saint Louis University, Gunn created political cartoons for the school's student weekly,  The University News. Gunn said that, at an unspecified time in his college education, "I went to two years undergraduate film school at  Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. But I was pretty screwed up at the time, and had to leave. Years later I went to graduate school at the Columbia University School of Fine Arts but I studied prose writing, not film writing." He earned a  Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University in 1995.
While living in St. Louis, Gunn founded a band, The Icons, in 1989, serving as lead vocalist. The group released the album
Mom, We Like It Here on Earth in 1994, and its songs "Sunday" and "Walking Naked" were featured in the film . The Icons disbanded in the mid-1990s. Tromeo and Juliet Gunn has continued to work in music, composing songs for  , Scooby-Doo , and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed .
Film and television
Gunn began his career in filmmaking with
Troma Entertainment in 1995, for which he wrote the independent film Tromeo and Juliet. Working alongside his mentor Lloyd Kaufman, the co-founder of Troma, Gunn learned how to write screenplays, produce films, scout locations, direct actors, distribute films, and create his own poster art. After contributing to several other Troma films, Gunn in 2000 wrote, produced and performed in the superhero comedy  , directed by The Specials Craig Mazin and featuring Rob Lowe, Thomas Haden Church, Paget Brewster, Judy Greer and Jamie Kennedy.
Gunn's first major Hollywood screenplay was
Scooby-Doo in 2002. In 2004, he wrote the screenplays for the remake of and the sequel Dawn of the Dead Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. With these films, Gunn became the first screenwriter to have two films top the box office in consecutive weeks. That same year, he executive produced and starred in the mockumentary  , directed by and starring his then-wife LolliLove Jenna Fischer. His film directorial debut was the 2006 horror-comedy , which was included on Rotten Tomatoes' list of the 50 Best Ever Reviewed Horror Movies. Slither
Gunn's next projects included the comedy short film "Humanzee!" which was originally intended exclusively for the Xbox Live's
Horror Meets Comedy series of short comedy films by horror directors, it was replaced with "Sparky and Mikaela" which debuted on Xbox Live on December 31, 2008. In an April 2009 interview on The , Gunn described "Sparky and Mikaela" as being "about a human [and] racoon crime fighting team and they fight crime in both the forest world, among the furry animals, and in the human world". Jace Hall Show Gunn also has a short-form web series for  Spike.com titled .
James Gunn's PG Porn
In 2008, Gunn was a judge on the
VH1 reality television show , where 10 unknown actresses compete for a role in the film Scream Queens . Saw VI
In 2009, Gunn announced he was going to write and direct
Pets, a comedy about a man who is abducted by aliens who want to turn him into a household pet, with Ben Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld and Jeremy Kramer producing. However, by March 2009, Gunn announced, "  Pets unfortunately, is done. I'm gone. I left the project for various reasons. I hope it sees the light of day somehow, but it won't be with me attached as director."
In 2010, Gunn released
, a Super dark comedy and superhero satire starring Rainn Wilson and Elliot Page. He also directed a segment of the 2013 comedy anthology film (2013); the segment starred Movie 43 Elizabeth Banks and Josh Duhamel. The film was critically panned.
Gunn co-wrote and directed the
Marvel Studios adaptation of , which was released on August 1, 2014. Guardians of the Galaxy His brother,  Sean, has a role in the film. Gunn has appeared as an actor, mostly in smaller roles or uncredited appearances in his own projects. After Dan Gilroy and Jack Black separately lamented the proliferation of superhero films, Gunn responded in a Facebook post, saying in part: 
[P]opular fare in any medium has always been snubbed by the self-appointed elite. ... What bothers me slightly is that many people assume because you make big films that you put less love, care, and thought into them then people do who make independent films or who make what are considered more serious Hollywood films. ... If you think people who make superhero movies are dumb, come out and say we're dumb. But if you, as an independent filmmaker or a 'serious' filmmaker, think you put more love into your characters than the Russo Brothers do Captain America, or Joss Whedon does the Hulk, or I do a talking raccoon, you are simply mistaken.
Gunn wrote and produced the
horror film , which was released in 2017. The Belko Experiment In 2016, he directed three  Stan Lee cameo scenes in one day, for the film and two unrevealed projects. Doctor Strange  
Gunn wrote and directed
(2017). Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2   Gunn was slated to direct  in July 2018, but before the project started, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Disney severed ties with Gunn as the director amid controversy over off-color jokes he had tweeted. Gunn was rehired in March 2019 after a mass public appeal, many saying he was the reason of the previous movies' successes. 
In October 2018, Gunn was hired to write a completely new script for
, with the intention of also serving as director, after its original director The Suicide Squad Gavin O'Connor left due to scheduling issues.  In January 2019, he was officially confirmed to direct  The Suicide Squad. He will also write, direct, and produce a spin-off television series from the film centered on the character  Peacemaker played by John Cena for HBO Max. Gunn will also co-write and co-produce a live-action/animated film titled  Coyote vs. Acme, based on Looney Tunes character Wile E. Coyote, for the Warner Animation Group.
Gunn wrote a novel in 2000,
, a story of a hospital orderly who steals drugs from the hospital which he sells to help keep his toy collection habit alive. In 1998, he and Troma's President Lloyd Kaufman co-wrote The Toy Collector , about his experiences with Kaufman while working at Troma.
All I Need to Know about Filmmaking I Learned from The Toxic Avenger
He wrote the story for
Grasshopper Manufacture's video game , working with game designer Lollipop Chainsaw Suda 51.
Firing from Disney and reinstatement
In July 2018, in reaction to Gunn's public criticisms of
Donald Trump, commentator Mike Cernovich drew attention to tweets that Gunn wrote between 2008 and 2012, joking about topics like rape, 9/11, child abuse and pedophilia.
Amid criticism of the tweets, Disney severed ties with Gunn as the director of the upcoming
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 film;  [ he was also dismissed from a role to help lead Marvel's planned "Cosmic Universe". ] needs update Gunn responded: "I have regretted [those jokes] for many years since. [...] Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then. All I can do now [is offer] my sincere and heartfelt regret [...] To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies."  
 Walt Disney Studios's decision received criticism from many entertainers and journalists, including actors Dave Bautista, Selma Blair, Patton Oswalt, David Dastmalchian, Michael Ian Black, Mikaela Hoover, Mike Colter, Alex Winter, David Hasselhoff, directors Joe Carnahan and Fede Álvarez, comics artist Jim Starlin, musician Rhett Miller, comedian Jim Jefferies, creators Rick and Morty Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, journalist David A. French and Troma Entertainment founder and president Lloyd Kaufman.    Bobcat Goldthwait, who worked as a voice actor on the 1997 Disney film , responded to the incident by asking Disney to remove his voice from an upcoming park attraction based on the film. Hercules
A number of media outlets criticized Disney's decision, including
, Collider , Cartoon Brew , The Daily Dot , The Independent , National Review , and MovieWeb . Vulture   An online petition urging Disney to re-hire Gunn received over 400,000 signatures.  
On July 30, 2018,
Guardians of the Galaxy cast members Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Sean Gunn, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff and Michael Rooker released a joint statement through social media expressing their support for Gunn.
Because of the situation,
Sony Pictures decided to not promote the horror film , which Gunn produced, at the 2018 Brightburn San Diego Comic-Con. However, when the first trailer for the film was released on December 8, 2018, Gunn's name was prominently featured. The film opened in May 2019. 
In March 2019, Gunn was reinstated by Disney as director of the film after meeting with
Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios. Gunn will start production on the film once his work on The Suicide Squad has been completed.
Gunn married actress
Jenna Fischer on October 7, 2000. Gunn and Fischer had originally met in the St. Louis area through Gunn's brother Sean, who had acted in plays alongside Fischer in high school.  Gunn's hometown paper reported that the marriage was officiated by fellow filmmaker  Lloyd Kaufman, although this was not the case; though Kaufman did attend the wedding and gave a speech.  After seven years of marriage, Gunn and Fischer announced their separation in a joint statement on September 5, 2007,  divorcing in 2008.  In 2010, Fischer persuaded Gunn to cast  Rainn Wilson, her co-star on , in Gunn's film The Office . Super
Gunn has been in a relationship with actress Jennifer Holland since 2015.
Gunn was raised in a Roman Catholic family and has mentioned how prayer continues to play an important role in his life,
but has also said that he is "in some ways, anti-religion".  Gunn explained his views in detail in 2016: 
My personal take is that there is a role for spirituality in some people's lives and I think that a belief in God can be a good thing for a great amount of people [...] I do not like any sort of faith or religion that is based on exclusivity, meaning any sort of religion that says you're damned to hell or you're not going to be saved because you don't believe the same thing I do. I believe faith and spiritual belief is a very, very personal thing and if I started applying what I believe to everybody else it would be unfair to everybody's individuality and I really hate that.
Sparky & Mikaela
The Tromaville Café Yes
James Gunn's PG Porn Yes
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Awards and nominations
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to . James Gunn
Awards for James Gunn
– Can't Stop the Music Bronte Woodard and Allan Carr (1980)
– Mommie Dearest Frank Yablans, Frank Perry, Tracy Hotchner and Robert Getchell (1981)
– Inchon Robin Moore and Laird Koenig (1982)
– The Lonely Lady John Kershaw, Shawn Randall and Ellen Shephard (1983)
– Bolero John Derek (1984)
– Rambo: First Blood Part II Sylvester Stallone, James Cameron and Kevin Jarre (1985)
– Howard the Duck Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz (1986)
– Jonathan Reynolds and Leonard Part 6 Bill Cosby (1987)
– Cocktail Heywood Gould (1988)
– Harlem Nights Eddie Murphy (1989)
– The Adventures of Ford Fairlane Daniel Waters, James Cappe & David Arnott (1990)
– Hudson Hawk Steven E. de Souza, Daniel Waters, Bruce Willis and Robert Kraft (1991)
– Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot Blake Snyder, William Osborne, and William Davies – (1992)
– Indecent Proposal Amy Holden Jones (1993)
– Jim Jennewein, The Flintstones Steven E. de Souza, Tom S. Parker and various others (1994)
– Showgirls Joe Eszterhas (1995)
– Striptease Andrew Bergman (1996)
– The Postman Eric Roth and Brian Helgeland (1997)
– An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn Joe Eszterhas (1998)
– Wild Wild West Jim Thomas, John Thomas, S. S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman (1999) – Corey Mandell and Battlefield Earth J. David Shapiro (2000) 2001–present
– Freddy Got Fingered Tom Green & Derek Harvie (2001)
– Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones George Lucas and Jonathan Hales (2002)
– Gigli Martin Brest (2003)
– Catwoman Theresa Rebeck, John Brancato, Michael Ferris and John Rogers (2004)
– Dirty Love Jenny McCarthy (2005)
– Leora Barish and Basic Instinct 2 Henry Bean (2006)
– Jeffrey Hammond (2007) I Know Who Killed Me
– The Love Guru Mike Myers & Graham Gordy (2008)
– Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Ehren Kruger, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (2009)
– The Last Airbender M. Night Shyamalan (2010)
– Jack and Jill Steve Koren and Adam Sandler, story by Ben Zook (2011)
– That's My Boy David Caspe (2012)
– Steve Baker, Movie 43 Ricky Blitt, Will Carlough, Tobias Carlson, Jacob Fleisher, Patrik Forsberg, Will Graham, James Gunn, Claes Kjellstrom, Jack Kukoda, Bob Odenkirk, Bill O'Malley, Matthew Alec Portenoy, Greg Pritikin, Rocky Russo, Olle Sarri, Elizabeth Wright Shapiro, Jeremy Sosenko, Jonathan van Tulleken and Jonas Wittenmark (2013)
– Saving Christmas Darren Doane and Cheston Hervey (2014)
- Fifty Shades of Grey Kelly Marcel (2015)
– Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer (2016)
– The Emoji Movie Tony Leondis, Eric Siegel and Mike White (2017)
– Niall Leonard (2018) Fifty Shades Freed
– Cats Lee Hall and Tom Hooper (2019) – Tomasz Klimala and Barbara Białowąs & Tomasz Mandes and 365 Days Blanka Lipińska (2020)
Nebula Award for Best Script
– Soylent Green Stanley R. Greenberg (1973)
– Sleeper Woody Allen (1974)
– Young Frankenstein Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder (1975)
– Star Wars George Lucas (1977)
– The Sixth Sense M. Night Shyamalan (1999)
– David Howard and Galaxy Quest Robert Gordon (2000)
– Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon James Schamus, Kuo Jung Tsai, and Hui-Ling Wang (2001)
– The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson (2002)
– The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair, and Peter Jackson (2003)
– The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson (2004)
– Serenity Joss Whedon (2005)
– Howl's Moving Castle Hayao Miyazaki, Cindy Davis Hewitt, and Donald H. Hewitt (2006)
– Pan's Labyrinth Guillermo del Toro (2007) – WALL-E Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, and Pete Docter (2008) Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation