James Gunn biography
Date of Birth: August 5, 1970
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri in a large Irish-Catholic family, James Gunn has three brothers, all of whom are in the TV/film industry, and a sister Beth, who followed in the footsteps of their father and uncles to become a lawyer. At the age of 12, James made his first film, in which his brother Sean was disemboweled by zombies with an eight-millimeter camera. Sean went on to become a series regular on the hit series Gilmore Girls.
James went to Columbia University in New York, where he received an MFA in creative writing. While there, he took a part-time job at famed B-movie studio Troma Entertainment, where he eventually was given the chance to write the screenplay for the movie Tromeo & Juliet (1996). Although he was only paid $150 for the script, the movie became a cult hit around the world. James continued to work for Troma for several more years, creating the TV comedy series The Tromaville Café in 1997 and directing an episode of the TV series Troma's Edge TV in 2000 before leaving to write and star in the indie film The Specials (2000) alongside Rob Lowe, Thomas Haden Church and Jamie Kennedy.
The same year, Bloomsbury Press released James' critically acclaimed novel The Toy Collector, about a hospital orderly who sells drugs to fund his toy collecting addiction. He also wrote, with Lloyd Kaufman, a nonfiction book called All I Need To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger, which was a success with five printings.
James wrote the screenplay for the 2002 live action feature film Scooby-Doo, which grossed over $300 million worldwide. In March of 2004, he became the first screenwriter in movie history to write back-to-back No. 1 box-office hits, with the critically acclaimed Dawn of the Dead on March 19, 2004 and Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed on March 26, 2004.
In 2006 James made his feature film directorial debut with a screenplay he'd written called Slither, a humorous horror starring Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks, for Universal Pictures. The film won a Fangoria Chainsaw Award for "Highest Body Count."
In 2008 James produced seven comedy shows by horror directors, including his own, Sparky & Mikaela, for Xbox Live’s first original content. That same year, Gunn hosted the reality show Scream Queens for VH1 and directed the short series PG Porn, along with his brothers Brian and Sean.
He wrote and directed the dark comedy indie feature Super (2010) starring Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler and Kevin Bacon, about a disturbed man who dresses up as a superhero to save his ex-wife from her drug-dealer boyfriend. It screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and was picked up by IFC Films.
James wrote and directed a segment of the comedy feature film Movie 43, called Beezer. Unfortunately, the film was not well received and along with the nine other directors and 17 other writers, won his first Razzie Awards for Worst Director and Worst Screenplay.
That was all forgotten when he took on Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, writing the screenplay and directing the highly anticipated film, which stars Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana. The film earned glowing reviews from critics and audiences alike.
His latest credits include writing The Belko Experiment (2016), and writing and directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017).
James married actress Jenna Fischer, best known for her role in the hit TV series The Office, in October 2000, but they were divorced in 2008.
James Gunn Filmography
The Belko Experiment (2016)
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)
The Specials (2000)
Tromeo and Juliet (1996)