James Gunn has come a long way. Cutting his teeth at the Z-Grade film studio Troma, where he wrote and co-directed the cult favorite “Tromeo & Juliet,” Gunn has gone Hollywood. His script for the not-so-superheroes film The Specials attracted a great of attention and, even though the actual film failed to come anywhere close to being a blockbuster (playing to empty theaters on both coasts), Gunn was tapped to write a film version of “Spy vs. Spy.” While never produced, the script led to Gunn being tapped for film version of Scooby Doo, unarguably one of the most anticipated films of the summer. Next up for James, a remake of the Romero classic “Dawn of the Dead.”
Recently I spoke with Gunn about Scooby Doo, “Dawn of the Dead,” and why the Joker killing Batman’s parents made absolutely no sense.
How did you get involved with Scooby Doo and why? ^ I wrote a draft of “Spy Vs. Spy” for Warner Brothers and they were really into that and so they thought I was a good person to try to take on the dog. They asked me to do it. I did and we’re here today. It’s weird because I was just at the scoring session today. I was there with Richard Suckle who was one of the producers. This is Richard’s first big movie, he’s never done anything like this before.
You’re kidding. ^ He’s never even produced a movie before – he’s associate produced stuff, but he’s never produced anything. Rich and I were talking today cause we were at the scoring session. David Newman’s doing the score and the score sounds awesome and I never seen anything like it cause there’s like a couple hundred people in the orchestra and it’s just amazing. I come from the Troma background and “Tromeo and Juliet” didn’t cost anywhere near as much as just one day of scoring. So, we were talking about how almost exactly two years ago Richard and I met for the first time over at Warner Brothers. He was a young guy who had never produced a movie and I was this guy who had made a couple of low-budget movies, but never made anything big. And you know we both liked Scooby Doo and we were sort of excited and throwing ideas back and forth and then somehow that sort of spark just ignited this whole thing. It’s awesome. I mean it’s weird. It’s very strange.
That’s great. ^ I had the same feeling when, the opening of the movie opens up, it’s like this big chase scene with this ghost chasing Scooby and Shaggy through this abandoned toy factory. I had been going back and forth a lot with what the opening of the film was going to be. I knew what was going to happen. I knew there was going to be a man being unmasked and all that, but I didn’t know what the scene should be. One day I woke up at seven in the morning and I had this idea for a toy factory and I went in a sort of wrote it up. Six months later I was sitting there in this huge toy factory in Australia and it was so strange for me to see just a little slight idea I had one morning that all of a sudden became this enormous set with all these stunts and fire. It was just amazing. Did I even answer your question?
Sort of. (Laughs) I’ll back up a little here. Your first movie was “Tromeo & Juliet.” ^ Right.
Then you worked on the “Tromaville Café.” Then you went out to Hollywood. Was The Specials your first project? ^ Yeah… well, I simultaneously did The Specials at the same time that I was doing “Spy Vs. Spy.” I also wrote a pilot with Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and I also wrote another pilot with the WB. It was all from the script of The Specials. People liked that script a lot so I was offered a lot of work from that script.
Get the rest of the interview in part two of DOING THE DO WITH JAMES GUNN>>>