HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 19: Writer/director James Gunn at The World Premiere of Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” at Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA April 19th, 2017 (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
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James Gunn got his start writing for Troma, the Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y., schlocksploitation outfit that proudly released films like The Toxic Avenger, Surf Nazis Must Die and Tromeo and Juliet. They were gross and offensive and sweet and the only way those movies got any attention was if they blasted through a bland marketplace with transgression.

It was punk. It was about shock and volume. As was Gunn. Clearly, looking back at the tweets that surfaced over the past week — “jokes” he made as far as 10 years ago about topics like rape and pedophilia — the writer-director was feeling things and saying things that embraced that sense of transgression. As Gunn tweeted, after the Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director was fired by Disney on July 19, “Many people who have followed my career know, when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.”

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