When I was in college, I managed a video rental store. Remember those? They are just a fond memory now. I was often asked to suggest films to customers. “What’s new this week that’s good?” I recall being asked just before Halloween 2006 by a regular patron.
“Oh, this horror-comedy called Slither was just released and it’s insanity,” I answered.
This Trekster was never the hugest of horror fans. I’ve since warmed up to them, but years ago it was a different story. In fact, I classified it as my least favorite genre, but had brought Slither home for my roommates and me to watch. We were thoroughly disgusted and entertained — and I was regularly suggesting it from the time it was released onwards for those customers who were looking for something “different.” If you’ve never had the pleasure, you’re missing out.
Friday night at The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, a screening of Slither was held along with a Q&A session with writer-director James Gunn. Slither was Gunn’s directorial debut. He has since gone on to write and direct several films (the Dawn of the Dead remake, Super, and, hell, even Scooby-Doo), including a little one this summer you may have caught wind of it…
Primarily in thanks to pop culture stalwart Geoff Boucher (formerly of Hero Complex and Entertainment Weekly), there were a great many questions asked about Slither. Gunn spoke about how he was blown away by every actors’ audition with the exception of Firefly‘s Nathan Fillion. The actor — who himself recently admitted that he has a possible cameo in Guardians — had apparently been waiting until actual filming to reveal what an incredible talent he actually is. Gunn and Fillion have since become close friends and regular collaborators, the same of which goes for actor Michael Rooker (Walking Dead‘s Merle Dixon).
Quite a few of the questions asked were regarding the dialogue and whether or not some of the most well-known and hilarious one-liners from the movie were improvised. In every case, the line was actually in the script — because Gunn is just that much of a genius. (That’s not meant to be sarcastic; Gunn is seriously a genius.) My fellow Nerd Reactor writer Laura violently flailed her hand near the end of the session. When she was finally pointed to, she asked if the after-credit scene in Slither was meant to lead into a sequel.
“Yes,” Gunn replied. “There was supposed to be a sequel, but it didn’t make enough money.” Womp womp.
Obviously people were clamoring to ask about Guardians as well. One fan fronted his GOTG question with an apology that is wasn’t about Slither, to which Gunn responded, “It’s okay, I don’t care,” with a big smile. Always the comic book fanboy, he excitedly answered them all.
The director even raved more than once about the level of creative freedom Marvel had afforded him on the film and detailed how he was able to write the film within the confines of the existing Marvel universe. Turns out, there actually wasn’t much confinement at all given the level of separation between the hero groups. The budget given allowed him to do things he has never been able to execute in any of his previous films, like multiple crane shots. His eyes widened as he talked about the planning of massive shot sequences. He also spoke a great deal about the use of music in film, how the grandeur of scores has been lost, and how he hopes to revive that with Guardians.
All in all, a fantastic evening with the fantastic James Gunn.
Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters August 1st. We’d also like to thank Nerd Reactor (and Holly Amos — see profile below!) for their kick-ass contribution.