Faced with growing criticism, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has apologized for insulting comments he made about women, gays and lesbians in a nearly two-year-old blog post, characterizing his remarks as “poorly worded and offensive to many.”
The statement, released last night by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and re-posted on Gunn’s Facebook page, followed outreach from the organization, condemnation by the Human Rights Campaign — “James Gunn’s blog post is offensive not just to LGBT people and women but rather to anyone with even the slightest sense of decency” — and online outrage, all stemming from a deleted February 2011 post on the filmmaker’s website.
Newly unearthed via Google Cache, the results of a “Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With” poll include commentary in which Gunn refers to Gambit as “this Cajun fruit,” calls teenage mother Stephanie Brown “easy,” admits wanting “to anally do” Kitty Pryde, and suggests Tony Stark could “turn” the lesbian Batwoman.
Even as the casting search gears up for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a push has begun online to convince the studio to fire director James Gunn over objections to a nearly two-year-old blog post that many view as misogynistic and homophobic. (Note: This post contains graphic language.)
The Feb. 17, 2011 post containing the results of a “Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With” poll, complete with Gunn’s commentary, was deleted at some point from the filmmaker’s website but the cached version resurfaced earlier this week on Tumblr before receiving further exposure Wednesday on The Mary Sue. Why Gunn’s post was only recently unearthed is a bit of a mystery (he was confirmed to direct Guardians of the Galaxy more than two months ago).
Gunn’s superhero sex poll includes male and female characters — 50 in all — ranging from Wonder Woman and Superman to Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel. While The Mary Sue notes “there’s nothing wrong about running a poll for the most sex-able superhero on your site,” the complaints arise over some of the filmmaker’s accompanying commentary.
… to extol the virtues of these creators would seem to have the potential to drive people to more consumption of Marvel product. No, it’s not 1.5 billion dollars in movie tickets, but I know I’ve bought Disney-related material presented to me via the idea of the Nine Old Men; I don’t know why Marvel Bullpen isn’t a similar organizing principle for that company.
– Tom Spurgeon, explaining why it’s weird that Marvel Studios doesn’t make a bigger deal about the creators of its characters.
It makes sense, right? I don’t know when the last Visionaries collection came out, but at one point Marvel saw potential in marketing comics based on the names of legendary creators. Think how much better those collections could sell if the names were known by the general public. Seems like an opportunity for corporate synergy that they’re just walking away from for no reason that’s been explained very well.
(Bullpen photos via The Kirby Museum)
Marvel Studios is moving from Manhattan Beach, California, its home for the past four years, to new offices in Glendale, just minutes from Walt Disney Studios’ Burbank lot. Marvel Animation opened its studio in Glendale earlier this year.
Variety reports the relocation, expected to be completed by the spring, will affect as many as 150 employees. The exact location of the new building hasn’t been made public.
Marvel Studios moved its executive and production offices from Beverly Hills to Raleigh Studios Manhattan Beach in 2008 (before Marvel’s purchase by Disney), becoming the largest tenant at the 23-acre facility. There it filmed parts of Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers.
The trade paper notes that the loss of Marvel won’t hurt Raleigh too much, however, as James Cameron’s production company has signed a five-year deal to film the next two Avatar sequels there.
It turns out a planetary invasion by Loki and his Chitauri allies was only the beginning of Nick Fury’s problems.
Now a German manufacturer of luxury travel briefcases is suing Marvel and Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment over the attaché case used by the S.H.I.E.L.D. director in the billion-dollar blockbuster The Avengers.
Hollywood, Esq. reports that Rimowa GmbH, which provided the studio with an aluminum Topas attaché case for Samuel L. Jackson to carry in the film, has filed a lawsuit in federal court in California claiming that Marvel damaged the company’s trademark by then manufacturing replicas for the “Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One — Avengers Assembled” limited-edition box set. Arriving Sept. 25, the collection comes “complete with glowing Tesseract” and an “exclusive replica of Nick Fury’s iconic briefcase.”
Marvel Studios has launched an investigation into a leak that resulted in its major Comic-Con International announcement, the development of a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, being revealed two weeks before the convention began.
Latino Review, the movie website that broke the story on June 28, has posted an email from an unnamed “security consultant” requesting information about “the dissemination of confidential, non-public information concerning Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy.” Although the website has since redacted his name, The Hollywood Reporter identifies the “consultant” as Robert Grosser, vice president of loss prevention for Marvel Enterprises.
“I do not want to see you or anyone else get into trouble nor do I want to see anyone’s career be tarnished because of this,” the email states. “However, I am very confident that through your efforts and mine, we will be able to work through this together. I personally feel that you did not have any malicious intent when you posted your spoilers on the fanboy website. Like many fans out there, you just wanted to be the first one to post something on the internet. I get it, however the Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy information was confidential and you did not have Marvel’s consent to post it. That was illegal!
With Marvel’s The Avengers arriving amid the controversy surrounding DC Comics’ Watchmen prequels and a new development in the prolonged battle over the rights to Superman, it was probably only a matter of time before Stan Lee was cornered about the apparent lack of film credit for his longtime collaborator Jack Kirby.
During an interview to promote The Avengers, as well as the documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, Moviefone asked the legendary writer and editor about concerns — more like complaints, actually — that his co-creator’s name appears nowhere on the $220 million movie. Lee seemed genuinely perplexed, replying, “I don’t know how to answer that because in what way would his name appear?” before offering that “it’s mentioned in every comic book; it says ‘By Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.’”
Pressed, Lee said, “you’re talking to the wrong guy because I have nothing to do with the credits on the movies. I’m credited as one of the executive producers because that’s in my contract. But Jack was not an executive producer. So I don’t know what he’d be credited as. Again I know nothing about that, I have nothing to do with the movie’s credits. You’d have to talk to whoever is the producer of the movie.”
It’s probably not a fair question to ask of Lee. While he’s made cameo appearances in nearly every film based on his Marvel co-creations since 2000′s X-Men, and is listed as an executive producer, that credit was negotiated years ago by Lee’s lawyers (along with a much more tangible percentage of profits). And despite his chairman emeritus title and lifetime salary, he doesn’t wield any actual power at the company.
Still, fair or not, the question once again highlights the issue that Lee was in a position to make deals for credits and profit shares, while Kirby never came close. It’s undoubtedly an uncomfortable matter for Lee, made clear by his attempt to pivot away from the question. “Is there anything you want to ask me about the documentary,” he told Moviefone, “because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be talking about.”
UPDATE: According to some who have seen The Avengers, Kirby’s name does appear, in the end credits.
I’ve been pretty excited for this movie to come out on DVD since I saw it back in May. Despite Captain America: the First Avenger‘s incredible achievement in crediting Marvel Studios as a real-live movie-making studio rather than a tentative wing of a funnybook publishing arm, I still like Thor better. I love the tone of the film, I love the music and the actors, I love the costumes and the pageantry, and I wanted to take it all home from the moment I walked out of the theater.
A lot of movies I adore come out with special packaging for their big release, and chain and online stores will often stock a limited thingamajig with your DVD sale. Iron Man came in a metal case when you bought it from FYE, and when my friend bought the first “Bayocalypse” Transformers movie, there was a bevy of different boxes, statuettes and editions he could choose from. It’s a nice bonus to being a nerd sometimes: we get cool stuff for liking cool stuff.
When I went to FYE this Tuesday to grab myself a copy of Thor, we chatted about this as I bought my very plain edition of the Thor movie. No tiny hammer. No statuette. The box wasn’t even shaped like his head. The only extras were a digital copy (that refuse to ever work when I download them), some Avengers hype, an awesome little short on Agent Coulson (see it here!) and some interesting featurettes on how this movie was made. All of them seemed very short but were more than simply accolades for all the people working on the film. I actually feel like I learned something about the production’s process, which brings me to the best part of the DVD that isn’t the movie, the deleted scenes.
In the featurettes, they mention that the director Kenneth Branaugh would take a lot of “one more” shots, giving the actors new and interesting directions as they went along. Some of these off-the-cuff innovations weighted Thor’s more dramatic moments stunningly, but that got me thinking about the choices that didn’t make it into the movie. What did they want to do before they shot this scene this way? Going through the deleted scenes, you could almost use them as puzzle pieces, trading one exchange out for another to make a slightly different movie for a different audience.
Join me, won’t you, as I take a look at these deleted scenes from Thor and try to figure out what could have been.
I thought about this a lot, but I don’t think you can talk about Captain America without talking about… well, America. It’s in his name, he is a symbol of our country and in the best of times is taken as such through exceptional storytelling and dynamic iconography. I’m going to get out my scholarly hat and mention a couple things that won’t have much to do with comics, but hopefully will put how awesome the new Captain America movie is in some context to simmer lightly with white wine and fava beans while I go on about explosions and punching later.
But first: smart stuff! Alexis de Tocqueville was a French historian and thinker of great thoughts back in the 1800s. In his book, Democracy in America, he spoke of this country and democracy itself having a “love of physical gratification, the notion of bettering one’s condition, the excitement of competition”, and the darling soundbite of the hour, “the charm of anticipated success.” By this last phrase, we see a condition unique to the USA considering that it was uniquely founded with the notion that “everything will be better once we’re over here.” The first settlers had to get on boats and believe that when they set down in empty, foreign and cruel new lands, they were going to be as successful and as exemplary as a early Puritan settler John Winthrop put it in 1830, “city upon a hill”, watched by the world”.
A little arrogant? Yes, but comic books by their very nature speak to that charm of anticipated success that makes us U.S.A. When know Spider-Man will win the day, but how? And to what lengths will he achieve that success? Who would win in a fight, Thor or the Hulk? The excitement of competition fuels message boards to this take on these ideas. Tony Stark was able to build his suit in a cave with a box of scraps, bettering not only his own condition, but the country and the world by taking his bettered self into fighting crime for the common good.
Best of all, Steve Rogers takes Alexis de Tocqueville’s words to heart and manages to make a action film out of them, one that speaks less to what America is, but what ideals are that simply cannot be argued against.
WARNING: I don’t think I give much away as far as specific plot details but we are gonna talk some Captain America: the First Avenger up in here. There’s one reference to something said in the trailers, a brief visual from the end of the film but the anticipation of WHO WILL WIN between Captain America and the Red Skull will charm the pants off of you. Go see the movie, have a good time!
Helmets for Thor, Loki, and Odin? Sure. Captain America’s shield (see below)? Stands to reason. After all, these are key props from Marvel’s next two potential blockbuster movies, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. But at Marvel’s booth at the San Diego Comic-Con today, the Infinity Gauntlet was reavealed in all its giant-sized glory. And now, let the speculation commence …
(via Agent M)
“Frank Castle is under the roof of Marvel Studios now and we hope to bring him into the fray shortly.” As our sister site Spinoff is reporting, that’s what Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced to the crowd during the Marvel movie panel at the San Diego Comic-Con last night. This appears to mean the Punisher is now as much a potential part of the Marvel “Cinematic Universe” as Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, and the rest of the Avengers gang.
Previously, film rights to the Punisher had belonged to Lionsgate, which made two Punisher movies — 2004′s The Punisher, starring Thomas Jane, and 2008′s Punisher: War Zone, starring Ray Stevenson. The latter film was the source of much behind-the-scenes controversy, with Jane departing the franchise and rumors of strife with director Lexi Alexander. Like the Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Blade, and Daredevil films, Lionsgates’ Punisher movies were made outside of the control of Marvel proper. (As was, of course, the infamous Roger Corman-produced, Dolph Lundgren-starring version from 1989.)
Feige’s brief statement appears to be the only info about the Punisher making his Marvel that’s out there, so it remains to be seen exactly how and when he’ll join the fray.
David Maisel, who helped to secure the funds that allowed Marvel to finance and produce its own films, will step down as chairman of Marvel Studios once Disney’s purchase of the company wraps up on Dec. 31.
He will remain as an executive producer of Iron Man 2, The First Avenger: Captain America and Thor, and is poised to make $20 million when the Disney deal closes.
Maisel, who joined Marvel in 2003, helped to raise the $525 million that enabled the company to produce its own movies rather than simply license its characters to film studios. He also played a key role in early negotiations that led to Disney’s $4-billion acquisition of Marvel.
After the merger, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige will report to Rich Ross, who was named chairman of Walt Disney Studios in October.