Tokyo Festival: James Gunn Points Laser At Asian Cultural Influences

James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy
Ken Ishii/Getty Images

TOKYO – Considering that his “Guardians of the Galaxy” is one of the biggest commercial successes of the year, director James Gunn’s tributes to film festivals and Asian culture Friday were all the more touching.

“In a world where film has become something that is purely a commodity – because it costs so much to make a movie – it is great to have these pockets of culture around the world, of great film festivals, to have films acknowledged as something other than their money value,” he said.

Gunn was speaking at an event at the Tokyo International Film Festival, where he is president of the main competition jury. He was direct, smart and kooky throughout.

Earlier Gunn had spent several minutes with jurors Robert Luketic, John H. Lee and Eric Khoo trading names of moviemaking greats who had influenced their careers. Gunn picked Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu and contemporary Japanese schlockmeister Miike Takashi.

He also owned up to other diverse and pop culture influences. “I spent a lot of time as a 4 and 5 year old pretending to be [Japanese manga and anime hero] Ultraman, so I was very upset that I missed meeting Ultraman last night on the red carpet.” said Gunn, who jokingly confessed to having obsessive compulsive disorder.

“Asian films are a huge influence on me as a filmmaker, just as much as American or western film.”

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