Los Angeles, California, United States
James Gunn was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri in a large Irish Catholic family. At the age of twelve he began his filmmaking career with an eight-millimeter camera. His first film featured his brother Sean, later an actor on the WB’s The Gilmore Girls, being disemboweled by zombies.
While attending Columbia University in New York, Gunn applied for a part-time job filing papers at famed B-movie studios Troma Entertainment, and ended up writing the screenplay for the movie Tromeo & Juliet instead. He was paid $150 to do so. In 1997, Tromeo became a cult hit, playing in theaters around the world, including over a year of midnight screenings in Los Angeles.
Gunn left Troma to write and star (along with Rob Lowe, Thomas Haden-Church, and Jamie Kennedy) in the 2000 feature film, The Specials, about a group of superheroes on their day off. In the same year, Bloomsbury Press released Gunn’s critically acclaimed novel The Toy Collector, the story of a hospital orderly who sells drugs to finance his escalating toy collecting addiction. He also wrote, with Lloyd Kaufman, the non-fiction book All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger, currently in its fifth printing.
In 2002 the live action Scooby-Doo movie was released into theaters. Gunn wrote the screenplay for the film, which has grossed $300 million worldwide.
In March of 2004 Gunn became the first screenwriter in cinema history to write back-to-back #1-for-the-weekend box office hits, with the critically-acclaimed, re-imagined Dawn of the Dead on March 19, 2004 and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed on March 26, 2004.
Gunn’s love for the comedy and horror genres coalesced in the humorous horror film SLiTHER, released by Universal in 2006. Gunn wrote the film, his feature-film directorial debut, which stars Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks. The film is currently featured on Rotten Tomatoes as one of the “Top Ten All–Time Best Reviewed Horror Films.” It was named “The Best Horror film of 2006” by Rue Morgue Magazine, and James Gunn won a Saturn Award and a Fangoria Chainsaw Award for his work on the film.
In 2008 Gunn created Xbox Live’s first ever original content, producing seven comedy shows by horror directors, and creating his own, Sparky & Mikaela. Also in 2008, Gunn hosted the reality show Scream Queens for VH1, and began writing and directing the web seri