James Gunn interview: ‘Peacemaker’ creator

“Yes there’s offensive jokes, yes there’s crude humor and all of that, and there’s violence and all these different things,” declares writer and director James Gunn about his outrageous HBO Max action superhero comedy/drama “Peacemaker.” For our recent webchat he adds, “It really was about inviting people into the show and getting them, or at least allowing them, to fall in love with these characters in the same way I did while I was writing them.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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Gunn wrote all eight (and directed five) episodes of “Peacemaker,” which he created based on the DC Comics character of the same name, as a spin-off from his 2021 hit blockbuster “The Suicide Squad.” John Cena co-starred as the cocky Christopher Smith (otherwise known as the titular superhero). “Peacemaker” is set after the events of the film, in which Cena reprises his role as the cocky superhero with a heart of gold, alongside co-stars Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Chukwudi Iwuji, Jennifer Holland, Steve Agee and Robert Patrick. After premiering on HBO Max on January 13, 2022, fans flocked to the series, as viewership increased with each episode leading up to the season finale, which broke the record for the highest single day viewership of an HBO Max original episode ever. “Peacemaker” has also received overwhelmingly positive reviews, scoring an impressive “fresh” rating of 94% at Rotten Tomatoes, with the website’s critical consensus reading, “John Cena’s still in solid form as Peacemaker, leading a bloody good time that gives writer-director James Gunn full permission to let his freak flag fly.” The huge success of the first season prompted the streamer to renew the show for a second season, for which Gunn plans to write and direct all of the episodes.

The series opens with Peacemaker discharging himself from hospital after recovering from the injuries he suffered during the events of the film. He joins the mysterious A.R.G.U.S. black ops squad “Project Butterfly,” who are on a mission to identify and eliminate parasitic butterfly-like alien invaders who have taken over human bodies around the world and appear hell-bent on global domination. Over eight blood-splattered and wickedly profane episodes, we learn more about Peacemaker’s origin story, his flaws and insecurities, while also getting to know his newfound family of misfits. It’s a riotous adventure full of laughs and some unexpected heartfelt moments in between, culminating in a thoroughly satisfying finale in which Peacemaker saves the day.

Gunn jumped at the chance to bring Peacemaker to life on TV, because the format allowed him to go a little deeper. “We didn’t get a complete opportunity to express that character fully in ‘The Suicide Squad’ because it’s a movie and it moves fast, there’s a lot of characters,” he explains. “So, being able to delve into them in a much deeper way in the show was exciting to both of us — I love working with John, I just really love John and so being able to work with him and well I knew that John is tremendously gifted as an actor — I was excited to be sharing with the world what John Cena was truly capable of doing as a performer. That was exciting to me.”

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UPLOADED Jun 5, 2022 11:05 am