Actor Sean Gunn recognizes issues with his brother's old "shock" sense of humor, which he says has grown up significantly since entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
James Gunn's brother recognized the "Guardians of the Galaxy" director "used to be kind of a jackass" in a heartfelt defense of the filmmaker after he was fired from the Marvel franchise over offensive jokes he tweeted years ago.
"So I guess my hope is that fans continue to watch and appreciate the 'Guardians' movies, not despite the fact that the filmmaker used to be kind of a jackass, but because of it. They are, after all, movies about discovering your best self," Sean Gunn tweeted Saturday. "Working on those movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too. I'm proud of that. Peace."
Sean is an accomplished actor in Hollywood with 49 credits to his name. "Guardians" fans will recognize him as Kraglin -- a member of Star-Lord's old space pirate crew the Ravagers. In a series of 10 tweets, Sean shared his thoughts on the situation, which "Guardians" star Dave Bautista has said he's "NOT okay with." Bautista, who plays clueless strongman Drax the Destroyer, retweeted Sean's entire statement.
"I hope it goes without saying that I love and support my brother James. And I'm quite proud of how kind, generous, and compassionate he is with the people in his life, whether they are friends, family, colleagues, fans, or strangers," he wrote. "Since he was a kid, it was clear he had a desire (maybe destiny) to be an artist, tell stories, find his voice through comics, films, his band. The struggle to find that voice was sometimes clunky, misguided, or downright stupid, and sometimes wonderful, moving, and hilarious."
"Since devoting his entire life to the Guardians movies and MCU six years ago, I've seen him channel that voice into his work on those movies and seen him transform from the guy who made up things to shock people," Sean continued. "I saw firsthand as he went from worrying about 'softening his edge' for a larger audience to realizing that his "edge" wasn't as useful of a tool as he thought it was. That his gift for storytelling was something better. I saw that he was more open-hearted than the guy who needed to get a rise out of people by making nasty or offensive jokes (or whatever you choose to call them -- I don't think his bluer material was ever his funniest and neither does Mom)."
"In many respects this change in my brother was reflected in the change that the Guardians go through. I've heard my brother say many times that when Quill rallies the team with 'this is our chance to give a shit' -- to care -- that it's the pep talk he himself needed to hear," he said. "It's part of what made working on the Guardians movies such a rewarding experience for the cast, myself included. We managed to find ourselves involved in a big-budget superhero movie that was, at its core, deeply personal. That's a gift. And that's why it's good."
This isn't new information, by the way," he added. "It's all stuff that James has explained many times in interviews, in more detail and more eloquently. It's not some new spin. It's always been part of the story."
Disney fired Gunn on Friday over rape and pedophilia jokes he tweeted between 2008 and 2011. "The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James' Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio's values, and we have severed our business relationship with him," said Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn.
James was quick to issue a lengthy statement on Twitter.
"Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I've developed as a person, so has my work and my humor. It's not to say I'm better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over. It's not to say I'm better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over. For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn't living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it. Anyway, that’s the completely honest truth: I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don't blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today. Love you to you all."
James Gunn wrote and directed "Guardians" volumes one and two, and teased another project on his Twitter feed last week before cancelling a planned appearance at a Sony Comic-Con panel.