In a recent appearance on the popular podcast, Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum, film director James Gunn delved into his tumultuous experience of being fired from Disney back in 2018. The surprising dismissal was a low point for the esteemed creator who had previously been at the helm of the successful Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
"I've been working my entire life to be loved by all of these people, by the world, so I can feel okay about myself. And everything I've worked for is gone," Gunn confessed, encapsulating his initial shock and despair. His dismissal felt so cataclysmic that he feared his entire career was over, even contemplating selling his house and moving away.
A Journey Towards Self-care and Unexpected Love
However, this nadir wasn't an endpoint for Gunn, but a new beginning. In the aftermath of his abrupt departure from Disney, he embarked on a journey of self-care, attempting to recover from the setback.
But his path to redemption was not one he tread alone. "But the thing that was so amazing to me was, in that moment of lowness, when I couldn't help anyone, is when people came to me and showed me the greatest love," Gunn recalled.
He cites key figures in his life who rallied around him during this difficult period, including his future wife, Jen Holland, and his parents. Furthermore, his colleagues from the Guardians of the Galaxy cast — Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Zoe Saldana — and the iconic Sylvester Stallone all played a part in his recovery.
Saldana, in a heartfelt act of support, even cooked dinner for him. Such an outpouring of love took Gunn by surprise, and he noted a profound shift within himself. "I felt like for the first time in my life I felt loved," he admitted.
He discovered that the external validation he had been desperately seeking could only be genuinely felt when he released his grip on the need to be universally adored.