James Gunn Says ‘Disney Totally Had The Right To Fire Me’

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Less than a year has passed since director James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but now that he’s been re-hired, this already feels like a distant memory. However, in a new interview with Deadline, Gunn makes it clear that his feelings about this incident are still pretty close to the surface. “That first day… I’m going to say it was the most intense of my entire life,” he explained. “There have been other difficult days in my life, from the time I got sober when I was younger, to the death of friends who committed suicide. But this was incredibly intense. It happened, and suddenly it seemed like everything was gone. I just knew, in a moment that happened incredibly quickly, I had been fired. It felt as if my career was over.”

In spite of that shock, Gunn never felt like a victim. “I don’t blame anyone,” he said. “I feel and have felt bad for a while about some of the ways I spoke publicly; some of the jokes I made, some of the targets of my humour, just the unintentional consequences of not being more compassionate in what I’m putting out there. I know that people have been hurt by things that I’ve said, and that’s still my responsibility, that I wasn’t as compassionate as I should be in what I say. I feel bad for that and take full responsibility. Disney totally had the right to fire me.”

The filmmaker also expresses gratitude for the “outpouring of real love” he received from his collaborators: “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. That amount of love that I felt from my friends, my family, and the people in the community was absolutely overwhelming.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is unlikely to hit theatres for a few more years—Gunn has to make The Suicide Squad first—but you can watch the trailers for Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 below.