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James Gunn Reveals What He Looks for When Casting Marvel and DC Heroes


James Gunn on how he casts comic book heroes

Photo via Rodin Eckenroth / Stringer / Getty Images

In the years since his stellar Marvel Cinematic Universe debut with Guardians of the Galaxy back in 2014, James Gunn has become one of the biggest powerhouses in the superhero film business. One could argue that at this particular moment in time, he’s a bigger deal than Kevin Feige – purely because he’s still got his fingers in both Marvel and DC cinematic pies, at least until Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 is out in the wild.

While Gunn may not be in the best of graces with DC fans at the moment as a result of him and co-studio head Peter Safran more or less throwing the Snyderverse in the bin, it’s undeniable that the man knows at least a thing or two about making a good superhero film. This begs the question, what’s James Gunn’s secret sauce when it comes to casting his heroes? 

The answer, as it turns out, is quite simple. For one thing, it’s about bringing the right experience. For another, it’s apparently all in the eyes. He uses the casting of Zoe Saldana’s Gamora as an example, in the fourth episode of the Disney Plus docuseries MPower:

“Zoe [Saldana] was my number one choice for Gamora because she was a fantastic action hero and that’s what we needed, was somebody who had her depth and the magic in the eyes. That’s what’s I always look for in actors, somebody who you can look at their eyes and they always feel present.”

Perhaps fans who are desperately appealing to get Henry Cavill back in the DC Universe in some capacity could barrage Gunn on Twitter with the fact that the former Clark Kent has some dreamy blue eyes.

James Gunn’s “Gods and Monsters” arc of his revamped DC Universe is set to kick off in earnest in 2025. In the meantime, we’ve got a few more films from the pre-Gunn DC slate coming up, the nearest being Shazam! Fury of the Gods heads into theaters next week on March 17.

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