James Francis Gunn Jr. has created some of the most iconic superhero movies of all time. The filmmaker and DC Studios executive was born on August 5, 1966 in St. Louis, Missouri. He has five siblings, and his younger brother, Sean, has often appeared in James’ Marvel and DC projects like the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy and The Suicide Squad.
Growing up, Gunn was influenced by low-budget horror films like Night of the Living Dead and Friday the 13th. At 12 years old, he made 8-millimeter zombie films with his brothers in the woods near their home.
In 1989, Gunn founded a new wave rock band called The Icons, serving as lead vocalist. Though they disbanded in the mid-90s, their songs “Sunday” and “Walking Naked” were featured in the 1996 film Tromeo and Juliet. Gunn has continued to work in music, composing songs for his Scooby-Doo movies and Movie 43.
Before becoming a director, Gunn began his film career as a screenwriter. He didn’t begin directing until 2006 with the horror-comedy film Slither. Four years later, he transitioned to the superhero genre with 2010’s Super, followed by the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie in 2014. Last year, Warner Bros. Discovery hired Gunn to become co-chairman and co-CEO of DC Studios after being with Marvel for nearly a decade.
Take a look below at our top 5 picks of his best works in film and television.