Who is James Gunn, besides the director of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Director James Gunn with  his friend Mikayla Hoover

Director James Gunn with his friend Mikayla Hoover

For the last few weeks, I’ve been following Guardians of The Galaxy Director @jamesgunn on Twitter and as well as on Facebook. It’s been one series after another of great posts, behind the scenes photos, and a rare glimpse as a Director rises to whatever level super stars achieve in Hollywood. Yes, Guardians of the Galaxy is that good.

In an early profile FilmJournal interviewed Gunn about what it was like as he was competing for the director’s chair

“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. 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.”

and on the challenges of creating a whole corner of the galaxy from the ground up

“On a normal movie, you’d set a scene in a kitchen and then go to the production designer and he’d say, ‘We can use this toaster or this toaster or this toaster.’ In this movie, if the characters are going to have toast, you’ve got to figure out how the process works. Are there toasters? Are they in the wall? You’re really creating everything from the ground up and I felt like I had a lot of freedom to create the universe I wanted.”

It really is a great interview, read the whole thing.

Another recent profile on Gunn was in the Los Angeles Times. Gunn talks about more about how much he’s enjoyed working on the project Continue reading

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SDCC’14 Coverage: Marvel Reveals Release Date for Guardians of the Galaxy Sequel

guardiansofthegalaxy-milano

During Marvel’s Hall H presentation Saturday night, the studio slipped in a little humorous video announcement by director/writer James Gunn and Chris “Starlord” Pratt, announcing that a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy has been greenlit for release on July 28, 2017.

Realizing that millions of his fans couldn’t see the video, Gunn posted the following to his Facebook page:

“So, anyway, just now at Comicon a filmed bit with me and Chris Pratt played where we announced the sequel to #GuardiansoftheGalaxy, which we’re working on to release in theaters on July 28, 2017. Yes, I suppose this is ballsy, considering the film hasn’t even been released yet, but I guess I just can’t let go of that damn raccoon! Please go see Guardians of the Galaxy 1 in theaters next week.”

Just for good measure, Gunn followed up the announcement with the following tweet, reminding us all that the first installment hasn’t been released everywhere yet:

That’s right…they’re announcing a sequel before the first one’s opening weekend box office is in. But from what I’ve heard from those who’ve seen it in previews, Marvel’s betting on a sure thing with a sequel announcement. But the real question about the potential sequel… is a space raccoon safe when he encounters a True Blood vampire at SDCC’14?

Are you planning to see Guardians of the Galaxy in theaters?

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SDCC’14 Coverage: Marvel Brings Down Hall H With Avengers: Age of Ultron Teaser

avengers-sdcc-panel

The closing portion of Marvel Movies’ San Diego Comic-Con panel in Hall H on Saturday afternoon was all about next year’s sure-to-be-blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” began playing and the first of the huge cast in attendance was announced by moderator Chris Hardwick. Iron Man himself, Robert Downey, Jr, took the stage first and after a bit of dancing, opened his briefcase and began throwing red roses at the crowd.

RDJ then took over the announcements, and he was soon joined onstage by Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Chris Evans (Captain America), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), Paul Bettany (Vision/J.A.R.V.I.S.), James Spader (Ultron), and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch). As the two women came out, Downey presented each of them with white roses. Such a gentleman!

The cast took turns answering questions from Hardwick. RDJ was asked how it felt to be returning in this movie, to which he replied “It just keeps getting better… I’m so excited to be here. We’ve got a real nice movie coming up for you guys next year.” “You’re the best, Robert!” cried one man from the audience. “You’re probably right,” Downey shot back, which caused the rest of the cast to laugh.

There were several jokes made about Chris Hemsworth’s muscular physique, but when asked if there was anything about Thor that he wants to do with the character, he made a nod to the recent comic change and slyly joked, “Turning him into a woman. I don’t want to jinx it, but I think it could be my Oscar. I’m willing to take it on.” (Recently Marvel announced Thor would be changing genders.)

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, new to the cast as Quicksilver, spoke about what drew him to the role: “The characters have such a dynamic between the group. What’s beautiful is you get these characters in the same room and they bounce off of each other.”

Scarlett Johansson, who plays Black Widow, couldn’t be at Hall H due to her pregnancy, but she did a video introduction to the showing of the first footage from Avengers: Age of Ultron.

And the footage sent the room crazy.

SPOILER ALERT – scroll past the next photo if you don’t want to know what was shown from the movie…

Continue reading

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SDCC’14 Coverage: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter Updates

agent-koenig-aos

San Diego Comic Con is more than just big movie news. There is a lot of small screen promotion too. From Disney and ABC’s small screen, we were given glimpses into what Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will look like, including Lucy Lawless as Agent Hartley (whose first name is either Elizabeth or Isabelle, depending on which article you read).

One of the main villains of the new season will be Daniel Whitehall – a.k.a. Kraken (from the Secret Wars storyline). Rounding out the newly announced cast is Nick Blood who plays mercenary, Lance Hunter.

In a (promo video) hosted by Agent Koeing and…Agent Koeing, the name Bobbi Morse was dropped, which means that Mockingbird will probably be the first superhero to join the show. (Also, the fact that there are now three Agent Koeings leads me to believe that they will be revealed as Life Model Decoys.)

We didn’t get much from Agent Carter other than a synopsis of the show and a Q and A with the cast and crew that didn’t have any big reveals to it. We know that it will share the same themes of Agents of SHIELD, albeit a couple dozen years earlier in history. Howard Stark will play a role. While Carter will be dealing with the loss of Captain America, she’ll also be out in the action, like you would expect. Production starts shortly on the first few episodes.

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Disney’s “The Jungle Book” Snares Christopher Walken & Giancarlo Esposito

Christopher Walken in A Late Quartet

Two more actors have been snared to join the voice cast for Disney’s The Jungle Book. Academy Award winner Christopher Walken will take on the role of King Louie, the ruler of a troop of monkeys and apes, while Giancarlo Esposito (Critics Choice Award winner and Emmy nominee for Breaking Bad) will voice Akela, the leader of the wolf pack. Esposito can also be seen on ABC’s Once Upon A Time.

giancarlo-esposito-p

Walken and Esposito join Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Golden Globe winner Idris Elba as Shere Khan, and Scarlett Johansson as Kaa. The Jungle Book also marks the debut of newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli, who will be the only actor to physically appear on screen.

The Jungle Book is a combination of live-action and animation, directed by Jon Favreau from a script by Justin Marks. The film will be released in 3D and arrives in theaters on October 9, 2015.

2015 is going to be a hugely busy year for Disney. March 13 – Cinderella, May 1 – Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, May 22 – Tomorrowland, June 19 – Pixar’s Inside Out, July 17 – Marvel’s Ant-Man, October 9 – The Jungle Book, November 15 – Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, and last, but certainly not least… Star Wars: Episode VII on December 18th.

The Jungle Book might be weakest of all the above, but it does have some impressive voice talent.

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Posted in Animation, Film | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment