Disney rehired the filmmaker to write and direct the third installment of “Guardians of the Galaxy” in March after firing him over the summer when old jokes he made about pedophilia and rape resurfaced on Twitter. Although he’d previously apologized for the comments and deleted them, Disney made the move to let him go.
Now that the Mouse House has brought him back to helm the franchise, Gunn spoke to Deadline about the one bright spot that came out of his public disgrace.
Gunn called the day he got fired “intense.” He explained that he wasn’t worried about the loss of his job or career, but rather the fact that he no longer had a feedback loop for fans to share their love and support.
“My apparatus for being loved was my work, and being famous. I had never really experienced before that feeling of being loved so deeply. It has been a problem for me in relationships, in friendships; I can experience loving another person but I have a very difficult time experiencing being loved,” Gunn explained. “In that moment, the apparatus which was my only hope for feeling love was torn away from me and I had absolutely nothing. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Should I be locked away?”
Fortunately, it was the cast of the heroic movie that helped him realize he could experience love outside of Hollywood fame, which he credits with breaking a bad psychological habit.
“And then came this outpouring of real love. From my girlfriend Jen; my producer and my agents; Chris Pratt calling me and freaking out; Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillan, all calling and crying. Sylvester Stallone FaceTime-ing me. And, of course, Dave Bautista, who came out so strong,” Gunn revealed. “That amount of love that I felt from my friends, my family, and the people in the community was absolutely overwhelming. In order for me to have fully felt that love for the first time, the thing that needed to happen was the apparatus by which I was feeling falsely loved had to be completely taken away.”
The stars of “Guardians of the Galaxy” previously released a joint statement urging Disney to rehire James Gunn shortly after his firing.
“James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. Given the growing political divide in this country, it’s safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality,” the cast’s letter read.
Gunn addressed the current climate saying that he hopes people use the spotlight to grow and change.
“There’s a lot of really positive stuff that’s coming out of all of this, and one of those positives is I was able to learn. People have to be able to learn from mistakes. If we take away the possibility for someone to learn and become a better person, I’m not sure what we are left with,” he concluded. “I’ve learned all kinds of things about myself through this process.”