That Hollywood’s quality is in the metaphorical toilet compared to years past is an undeniable fact at this point, and storied director James Gunn has an opinion on the “number one reason” for this decline.
The Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy and The Suicide Squad helmer shared his thoughts on the topic while answering a recent round of fan questions via his personal Twitter.
Theis impromptu Q&A session kicked off on August 26th when user @AdamHewsofMatt asked the director for insight into his creative process on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, particularly in regard to whether he “wrote the story first with the soundtrack already picked in your mind, or the other way around and the story helped pick those specific songs” and if “there were any songs that you were unable to use”.
“Story always comes first/takes priority,” replied Gunn. “I choose songs accordingly to fit the scene from a master list of songs I’ve created in the specific genre that fits the project. Never didn’t get a song for Guardians.”
To this, @ango84 further inquired of the director, “This is just a theory, but do you ever have trouble finding good temp score or a sync song while editing, and if so, do you think that could be an indicator something isn’t working in the scene?”, to which he replied, “The answer to your 1st question is all the time. The answer to your 2nd is no.”
“Many times scenes are very tonally specific to themselves, so it makes it difficult to find good temp,” he explained. “That doesn’t mean there’s a problem with the scene. A good composer can smooth all that out.”
The conversation was then joined by @mrreebo1, whose subsequent question of “why don’t studios/directors hire composers to make music before editing?” drew Gunn’s thoughts on Hollywood’s quality decay.
“If you saw how disorganized most productions are, & how unfinished most scripts are on big movies as they start shooting (the number one reason for the deteriorating quality of feature films in my opinion), you’d see why usually this isn’t an option,” asserted the creator.
Met with a joking response of “2nd reason being those meddling kids (studio execs)” from @TheBigUglyGamer, Gunn took the opportunity to further opine, “I’d say, after shooting with unfinished scripts, unprepared directors are the number 2 issue.”
“It aggravates me to no end that so many directors – not most, but many – squander people’s time, money, & talent by walking onto a set not knowing where they’re going to put the camera,” he elaborated.
“Directing is a privilege – we are so lucky to do it & there are so many talented people who want to do it,” Gunn added. “Seeing directors who aren’t grateful for that opportunity & respectful towards the talent & hard work of those around them pisses me off to no end.”
Answering his last question on the subject for the time being, wherein @budice0 asked in reply to his above opinion, “Does a production need to be rigid though? Perhaps a more collaborative process makes a good film? You’ve spoken of storyboarding everything iirc,” the director bluntly clarified, “No.”
“Different films have different vibes,” Gunn said. “I personally am looser than I used to be – I often change stuff on set, which was heretical to me around Vol 1 time. But preparation takes many forms.”
“You can be loose but prepared,” he concluded. “There’s a difference between that & not giving a f–k.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is currently slated to hit theaters on May 5th, 2023.