James Gunn: Bollywood has been a huge influence for me, it reflects in Guardians franchise
Filmmaker James Gunn opens up finding his place in the Hollywood industry as an “oddball”, and how Bollywood influenced his journey
Over the years, James Gunn has made a name for himself by weaving together a superhero universe, and the American filmmaker admits the larger than life canvas of Indian films have played a huge role in his journey as a storyteller.
In the world of Hollywood, Gunn is credited for stitching together the universe of Guardians of the Galaxy, and taking it to new heights, going on to work on The Suicide Squad. Now, he is working on Superman: Legacy.
“Indian films, in particular, have been a big influence on me, which reflects in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. I have always been attracted to Indian films and towards Asian cinema more than the ways that I am attracted to European or American cinema,” Gunn tells us.
The 56-year-old adds, “Simply because the boundaries are much broader (in Indian projects) than an American project, which are more confined. A lot of time you are only allowed to have one genre, like this movie must be a comedy only, or it must be only an action film, or a drama, or only a science fiction movie. That’s not true for Indian films.”.
Here, Gunn confesses he has grown up watching Indian projects.
“Indian films are so beautiful because they allow the full human experience in one movie where we are able to experience a comedy with drama, with action with dancing and music. And all of these things I have put in the Guardians films, just through a slightly more Western lens. I have grown up watching those types of films from India, Korea, Japan and other places. In fact, Hong Kong style of filmmaking also influences my style as well, especially over the past 30 years more than Western cinema,” says the director, who is wrapping up Guardians franchise with third part, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Gunn’s tryst with filmmaking started with an eight-millimetre camera when he was 12, and started his career in work on bigger films like writing scripts for Scooby-Doo movies and Dawn of the Dead.
Opening up about his journey in the industry, he says, “While growing up, I was a kid, who was raised in a rural part of Missouri and felt like an outcast and odd ball. Now, I make movies about oddballs such as the Guardians of the Galaxy”.
“It is so funny how often life imitates art, and art imitates life. I don’t know which way it is. But over the years, the Guardians have become a family. And the same is true of everyone involved. It has been an experience where you only have the best parts to take away,” he ends.