James Gunn Wants His DC Universe To ‘Elevate’ Writers Again And Make Sure Scripts Are Ready Before They Shoot

Gunn mentions “movies where they don’t have a third act,” and that could certainly apply to any number of overproduced and underwritten superhero films. His comments about elevating writers again are encouraging, and they make complete sense, given his background.

If you look back at Gunn’s filmography, some of his earliest credits are as a screenwriter on films directed by other people. For his first film in 1997, “Tromeo and Juliet,” Gunn served as an associate director and co-screenwriter with director Lloyd Kaufman. After that, he wrote a weirdly ahead-of-the-curve little superhero comedy called “The Specials,” directed by Craig Mazin (future co-showrunner of HBO’s “The Last of Us”). It came out just two months after the first “X-Men” movie in 2000, before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the former DC Extended Universe, or any other capes and cowls came along to grace screens in the superhero movie millennium.

Then, Gunn spent a few years writing live-action “Scooby-Doo” movies and a certain “Dawn of the Dead” remake, directed by Zack Snyder. It was only with “Slither” in 2006, almost a decade after his first movie credit, that Gunn became the writer-director we know today. 

It’s been said that TV is more of a writer’s medium, while movies are more of a director’s medium. In some cases, even the director loses creative control, and we’re reminded that the ultimate power rests with the producer(s) or movie studio. As someone who has climbed the ladder in Hollywood and witnessed the folly of studios chasing release dates without a good script (all while gaining firsthand experience as a writer, director, producer, and now, studio head), Gunn seems uniquely positioned to lead DC Studios into a new era where maybe people don’t walk out of the movie complaining about the bad writing.

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