Rainn Wilson, who headlined James Gunn’s R-rated irreverent superhero comedy Super, is the latest star to defend the fired Guardians of the Galaxy director after he was dismissed by Disney over resurfaced inappropriate tweets.
“Would I work with James Gunn again? Yeah, absolutely I would, yeah,” Wilson said to cheers and applause at Salt Lake City’s FanX convention over the weekend. “I think James Gunn is a great guy, a brilliant director, a good friend, brilliant mind — one of the most brilliant people working.”
Gunn was famously fired from his duties on Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in July after years-old tweets published by the filmmaker were brought to light on social media, causing Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn to disavow Gunn over the “offensive attitudes and statements” on Gunn’s Twitter feed.
Horn said the tweets, which involved jokes of pedophilia, rape, and other abuses, were “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values.”
Gunn swiftly apologized for both the tweets and his past attitudes, pointing to his history as a “provocateur,” who made movies and told jokes that were “outrageous and taboo.” The filmmaker said he “developed as a person” alongside his work and humor, adding his days of “saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.”
“Just like he said in his apology about those tweets that he did ten years ago, he’s a provocateur, you know. He’s always trying to push buttons and break down walls and push boundaries,” Wilson said. “If you’ve seen the movie Super that he and I did together, there’s all kinds of really, like — there’s prison rape in it and there’s all kinds of weird stuff. And he’s kind of genre-bending in that way.”
The movie, released in 2010, was Gunn’s last full-length feature before winning the Guardians job in 2012 under Disney-owned Marvel Studios. Wilson said such humor is “part of who he is, [but] that’s not who he is anymore, like he said.”
“I think that we all tweet and say dumb things at various points in time. I wish him the very best,” Wilson added. “I think he’s gonna have a big, amazing, wonderful career because he’s a wonderful talent. And it’s great to see the support for him out here, thanks.”
Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers star Dave Bautista, who plays breakout Drax, has fiercely defended Gunn, who he credits with changing the course of his life. Bautista is just one of many defenders who has spoken out in Gunn’s favor, including fellow Marvel stars David Destmalchian, Patton Oswalt, and Gunn’s longtime friend and collaborator Michael Rooker, who deleted his Twitter entirely following Gunn’s firing.
Bautista’s co-stars — including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper — previously penned and signed a joint statement backing the ousted director. A petition launched by fans hoping to see Gunn reinstated has since neared almost half a million signatures of support.
Wilson most recently combatted a giant pre-historic shark alongside Jason Statham in summer hit The Meg and lent his voice to Lex Luthor in the animated Death of Superman.