James Gunn has had some serious ups and downs. His DC comics adaptation The Suicide Squad is a massive, violent and profane spectacle about a team of would-be heroes struggling against an alien-monster. He sat down with Variety to discuss the positive reviews, and some of the challenges he’s also dealt with.

In 2018, old tweets in which he made fun of pedophilia, rape and the Holocaust were resurfaced. It was not a good luck, and it seemed his troubled career was over. He was fired by Disney, as many will recall, from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

He apologized for the tweets, and after a public campaign led by several of the franchise’s stars, including Dave Bautista, Kurt Russell, Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana, he was reinstated.

SUICIDE SUCCESS

He said: “I really push actors hard, not in any sort of forceful way, just in doing it again and again and again and again and again ’til we get things exactly right. I just can’t balk on that stuff. I can’t let up, and that’s what so much of making a good movie is about. It’s one of the reasons why I do feel more comfortable at the end of the day with Suicide Squad than I do with some of my other movies, because maybe before I would let my foot off the gas a little bit — not for the whole movie, but in moments. I really never did that on this movie at any time, and I’m happier with the result because of that.”

ON BEING FIRED

Gunn said: “Most of me making movies has always been about I love to tell stories. I love the creative process. But another part of me wanted to be rich and famous because I wanted to be loved. I didn’t feel that and I never was able to experience that. And the beautiful thing of what happened 2018 is that I got fired and I felt as if every single thing in my life was gone. I had nothing. In that moment, I experienced more love from the people around me than I had ever experienced in my life — and truly experienced the feeling of being loved for the first time in my life.”

ON WHAT’S NEXT

Gunn said: “I’ve got a movie that I love and a TV show that I love in the can and done, and then a script that I think is great that I’m about to work on. So, the most fortunate thing is I know exactly where I’m going, because we have eight episodes of Peacemaker shot. Peacemaker is both smaller and bigger than The Suicide Squad. And then I have to get started on Guardians 3. That’s a big, big, big, big movie, and now we’re just trying to figure out a way to make it. Hopefully, we can.”

EASTER EGGS

On the hidden scenes no one noticed featuring a Guardian of the Galaxy: “Yes! Prominently! No one sees her, and I don’t know how that’s the case. When they come into La Gatita Amable, there’s a dancing girl at the front of all the dancing girls wearing a macrame outfit who’s doing all the dance moves. It’s Pom Klementieff from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Not a single person has brought it up, and I’m like, “What is going on?” She’s in a close up! Like, it’s not subtle! I think I’ve read like two people on Twitter say, “Hey, wait a second, is that Pom Klementieff?!” I talked to Pom the other day — I’m like, have people been asking you? She’s like, yeah, a couple people. But she’s just not being recognized. I’m like, what is going on? I can’t believe it!”



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