James Gunn has been taking a lot of questions in the past several months since he became one of the heads of the newly restructured DC Studios – especially the ones auto-completed in a Google search as they trend. According to the search engine’s algorithm, one of the most commonly asked is what his duties are when he has a partner in Conjuring producer Peter Safran.

Director James Gunn attends the Seoul Photocall and Popup Event for Marvel Studios’ GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 in Seoul, South Korea on April 18, 2023. Photo by Ho Chang.

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Most figured Gunn would handle the creative end and Safran would be the business guy when David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, appointed them, which the director recently confirmed. In the latest edition of Wired’s Auto-Complete, he and his actor brother Sean answered the Internet’s burning questions about them and their careers that are moving from Marvel to DC.

“A lot of what I do is I just work on the creative side of things,” James Gunn said in reply to an auto-generated query asking if his new role is comparable to Kevin Feige. “So mapping out the stories and the creative side of the universe is my job much more so than some of the more administrative, executive-type stuff.”

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He added that Feige “has to do both” creative and executive duties and that DC’s structure in Hollywood differs from Marvel and its studio that’s more tiered in Disney’s system. Alluding to his firm’s independence under the WBD umbrella, Gunn explained, “It’s actually a little different. I mean, number one, DC Studios is a studio, so it’s a little bit different.”

Safran can be considered the Feige of the operation and “does a lot of what Kevin Feige does,” according to Gunn. So it sounds like the latter will be able to freely map his universe and decide its direction without interference from his teammate or Warner Bros. Pictures. However, he had to admit his vision won’t entirely be singular or unabated.

Dominique Thorne and Kevin Feige attend the Ant-Man and The Wasp Quantumania World Premiere at the Regency Village Theatre on Monday, February 6, 2023, in Westwood, CA. (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

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Gunn answered next whether or not he is an auteur – i.e., the sole or dominant author of his movies as the theory popularized by French New Wave cinema goes. “There is so much baggage to it,” he said. While Gunn believes he is the voice of a film and makes the choices that “draw the frames,” he concedes filmmaking is a collaborative medium.

Actors, designers, and everyone in between help shape and “affect” a movie and a cinematic universe. We have to wait and see how they will affect Gunn’s DCU which doesn’t have a foundation yet, but Gunn is steadily building it. Filming on Superman: Legacy is expected to begin in January and dialogue recordings for Creature Commandos are underway with Sean Gunn playing Weasel and GI Robot.

Creature Commandos via DC YouTube

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