James Gunn

Maggie Gyllenhaal

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s been out of work since casting agents seem to be treating the week between Christmas and New Years as one prolonged food coma. If there’s one thing that Jurassic Park taught us, it’s that nature finds a way. Well, casting finds a way too. In a week where there isn’t any news getting leaked to the trades, leave it to Albuquerque Business First to break a new scoop. The eagle eyes over at The Film Stage noticed that, in an article about how that Michael Fassbender-starring rock and roll comedy called Frank is coming to town to shoot, the local source managed to break the news that Maggie Gyllenhaal is coming to town with it. Her involvement in the film sees her joining a cast that includes not just Fassbender, but two of the young MVPs of 2012, Domhnall Gleeson and Scoot McNairy, as well. Which, you know, makes her one of the luckiest ladies in the world.

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Obama Wan Kenobi

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly mashing together of things about film and television because that’s what the kids on the Internet are into these days — mashing things together. Obama Wan Kenobi – We begin this evening with an oddly drawn but somewhat sensible conclusion about what Barack Obama had to do with saving Star Wars. And by “saving,” we’re of course referring to the part where George Lucas sold Star Wars and LucasFilm to Disney, placing it in capable, active hands that will no doubt save it with many wonderful films that have nothing to do with the prequels. Or something like that. Either way, /Film found this link and I say it’s worth a read. 

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Movie 43 Trailer

It’s been a really long time since a sketch anthology movie got released in theaters. I’m not some sort of human trivia machine, so I don’t know exactly how long, but let’s just say that it’s been quite a while since somebody showed somebody else their VHS copy of Kentucky Fried Movie in a college dorm room. The people at Relativity Media are making a big play at bringing the form back though, by recruiting an army of funny filmmakers and a legion of talented actors to put together a new sketch comedy anthology called Movie 43. Who do they have directing segments of this thing? People like Bob Odenkirk, James Gunn, Elizabeth Banks, Peter Farrelly, and tons others. Who’s starring? People like Halle Berry, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman, Richard Gere, Kate Winslet, Uma Thurman, and many more than can be typed without having your fingers cramp up. This movie cast Gerard Butler as its leprechaun, so you know it’s star-studded.

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James Gunn

Real talk: my knowledge of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is deeply limited and I completely loathed James Gunn‘s Super, yet the news that Gunn was potentially being tapped to helm the feature film for the studio quite pleased me. At the very least, the filmmaker is a bold, interesting choice who clearly has an affection for “comic book movies” (and Troma and cartoons and zombies and a whole bunch of other cool stuff), which can only serve fans of Marvel properties well. Also, the guy apparently also likes raccoons, so I might have to stop being so harsh on him. Gunn has now taken to his Facebook page (via ComingSoon) to confirm his involvement with Guardians, writing in a post just this morning:

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James Gunn Super cast

At this point, it’s not surprising when Marvel picks a left field director for their movies. They’ve practically made a formula of choosing filmmakers that the public would scratch their head over. In that grand tradition, Marvel is reportedly looking at James Gunn (Slither, Super) to handle their forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. This is awesome. A protege of the Troma School of Movie Mayhem is going to graduate to Marvel. Repeat: the dude who made PG Porn is a few negotiations away from getting a big budget and bunch of superheroes to play with. Can’t beat that. Of course, Gunn was also the writer behind Scooby-Doo and the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, so he’s not exactly a stranger to the mainstream, but the bulk of his work is not the kind that would inspire non-ironic action figures. That’s part of what makes this a genius idea. The other part is Gunn’s sense of humor and clear love of genre work. This choice may be from beyond the bleachers, but it’s inspired, and it could lead to a hell of a movie. Plus, it probably means at least one of the heroes gets to use a wrench on his enemies.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis: A small town becomes ground zero to an alien invasion, which reaches Earth in the form of alien slugs on a chunk of space rock. After the meteor lands in the woods, a local big shot Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) becomes infected with the alien parasite, which controls his body and memories. It’s a story we’ve seen many times before, and understandably so. Director James Gunn creates a loving homage to movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Blob and Night of the Creeps, in which the small-town sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) must battle an onslaught of infected, zombified humans while trying to stop the spread of the parasite to the rest of the world. Helping the sheriff is his long-time crush and girl next door Starla (Elizabeth Banks), who also happens to be married to patient zero.

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Super isn’t tied to the world of comics. Writer/director James Gunn didn’t make a satire or a spoof; instead Super is its own extremist beast. The Taxi Driver-inspired religious tale is a gritty, dirty, and dark comedy that just so happens to have the leads sporting superhero costumes. These aren’t your fluffy and perfect men-in-tights leads, but some seriously damaged individuals. There’s a jarring dichotomy to the film and its characters, which is something that split both critics and audiences back in April. Frank D’Arbo, a.k.a The Crimson Bolt, is a sympathetic and understandable protagonist, but you question his sanity. Libby, a.k.a. Boltie, gains great glee from slicing up goons in the bloodiest ways possible, and yet has an endearing charm to her psychopathic and wish-fulfillment ambitions. These are repellant characters on the outside, but understandably unstable in the inside. Here’s what James Gunn had to say about the fluctuating tone, writing a character driven film versus a set-piece driven film, and making possible psychotics sympathetic in Super:

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Everywhere you look there’s another superhero movie these days. Countless studio dollars, a stream of big stars and endless articles have been expended on the subject. Thor, Captain America and the Green Lantern headline an upcoming summer movie season that’s chock-full of various forms of masked avengers. Concurrently, there’s arisen a far less prolific counter-industry of satirically oriented films, such as Kick Ass, that attempt an indie-friendly examination of the questionable sanity and real world practicality of these figures. It’s these latter films that I’ve personally flocked to, having long-grown tired of the formulaic non-Christopher Nolan big-budget superhero aesthetic. Thus, James Gunn’s Super is – in the same vein as protagonist Frank’s heavenly calling to justice – a gift from above. In framing the birth of a real-life superhero as a disturbed man’s religious awakening, the Slither filmmaker gets to the heart of the grandiose self-absorption at the core of superherodom. To don a mask and tights, formulate a nickname and spend your nights prowling the streets, seeking out drug dealers and other unsavory elements, you’d have to be, well, more than a little bit crazy. Frank (Rainn Wilson), the luckless, depressed everyday schlub central figure here fits the bill, driven to unhinged rage when his wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) leaves him for scuzzy drug kingpin Jacques (Kevin Bacon).

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There are certain expectations that come with any filmmaker’s work based off the movies that have come before. Their styles, attitudes, and overall creative skill-set are usually visible to some degree throughout their career. James Gunn is no different. His last feature, Slither, was an incredibly fun and gross monster movie that maintained a good balance between the laughs and the horror. That combined with his previous efforts should leave you unsurprised that his latest would include copious amounts of bodily fluids, a complete disregard for good taste, and a face made of fecal matter floating in a bowl. What you don’t expect to see are scenes of real beauty, wit, and sincerity floating in a sadly disjointed mess of a film.

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The film I’m by far the most excited to see at the upcoming SXSW is James Gunn‘s dark superhero tale, SUPER. Everything about it sounds like the perfect film for nerds that crave divisive dark humor. Rainn Wilson as a wrench-wielding, head-busting vigilante? Awesome. Ellen Page as his annoying and narcissistic sidekick? Even better. The best part, though? Kevin Bacon as a slimy looking drug dealer. It’s been quite sometime since Bacon has done some solid scenery chewing and played the bad guy, which he rarely often does. I mean, who would have thought that kid from Footloose would one day be playing a charming wife-stealing drug dealer? Check out the trailer below.

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One of the few minor highlights of Comic-Con this year was the charming and charmingly foul-mouthed Super from the totally well-adjusted mind of James Gunn. The film stars Rainn Wilson as a man who loses his wife to drugs and another man and straps on the spandex in order to get her back. Because, as we all know, every hot woman (including Liv Tyler) is helpless to resist even the schlubbiest of men if they’re skin tight in red tights and a cape. Brace yoursef. You, too, may not be able to resist sliding your tongue against the computer screen in an inappropriate manner when you see Dwight Schrute ready to fight for justice.

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The real-life superhero movie is becoming a genre unto itself. With Special, Defendor, Kick-Ass and now James Gunn’s Super – the premise of regular men and women putting on costumes and fighting crime seems to be steadily growing. There hasn’t been a lot of information about the film, and without that information, it’s seemed a little generic. However, with the footage shown at Comic-Con this morning, James Gunn took a monkey wrench to that idea’s forehead and then shoved its grandmother out of her wheelchair. After all, if you’re going to make a film, why not make an “F’d up, low rent Watchmen“?

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In a three-way, melee attack of awesome that will leave you wondering how we removed your heart from your chest without breaking the skin, FSR is gearing up to head to sunny San Diego in order to stay indoors all weekend. Interviewer extraordinaire Jack Giroux, Robert “Fists of” Fure and I will be sharing the experience with you from Wednesday night through a hungover Sunday morning. Pack your bags, dear reader, because you’ll be coming along for the ride. Just don’t believe Fure when he tells you he’s a commercial airline pilot.

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Writer/Director James Gunn has done many things. Most recently, he’s become a beloved Twitter celebrity and delivered the uber-popular web series PG Porn. But beyond that, he makes movies.

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Sasha Grey finds out what happens when she gets car trouble in “Car ASS-istance,” another installment in James Gunn’s PG Porn Series.

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James Gunn

Serenity star and fanboy favorite Nathan Fillion has teamed up with screenwriter James Gunn and porn star Aria Giovanni for a hilarious short called ‘Nailing Your Wife.’

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