You know you’ve made when even the worst of circumstances bring huge rewards, as James Gunn discovered when he was approached by Warner Bros. almost immediately after being fired from the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and offered any of the studio’s DC Comics properties that he wanted to write and direct.
The filmmaker ultimately plumped for The Suicide Squad over Superman, and now has a reputation as Hollywood’s go-to guy for ensemble-based superhero blockbusters. And yet, the success Gunn continues to enjoy can all be traced directly back to him writing the screenplay for 2002’s live-action Scooby-Doo, which was strange enough in itself given that he got his foot in the industry door by working for schlock merchants Troma in the 1990s.
The 54 year-old recently took to social media and reflected on how the Mystery, Inc. adventure changed his life and career forever, and you can see what he had to say below.
It wasn't only a hit – it was, at that time – the biggest June opening for a film EVER. It was a mega-hit. And in a manner of seconds I went from being just another screenwriter to a guy with a hit & my life changed completely.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) June 14, 2021
Before returning to pen Scooby sequel Monsters Unleashed, Gunn also wrote Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, but it was clear his intentions were always to step behind the camera himself. After helming low budget tongue-in-cheek horror Slither and blackly comic vigilante thriller Super, he was chosen by Kevin Feige to tackle what was the MCU’s riskiest project ever at the time.
As we all know, the Guardians are now established as some of the most popular characters in the shared mythology, with over $1.5 billion in box office takings and a third installment set to start shooting later this year. Not only that, but The Suicide Squad arrives this coming August and HBO Max’s Peacemaker premieres in early 2022, all of which was borne from Gunn cracking the story for Scooby-Doo.