Jodie Foster’s comments about the state of the film industry earlier this week saw her criticising the current studio fixation on giant tentpoles and superhero films, comparing it to fracking in its myopic focus on short term gains while ignoring the long term damage it is doing to the overall health of the industry.
Now James Gunn, writer-director of two of those big superhero tentpole films in the form of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, has weighed in on the comments and responded on Twitter saying:
“I think Foster looks at film in an old-fashioned way where spectacle film can’t be thought-provoking. It’s often true but not always. Her belief system is pretty common and isn’t totally without basis.
I say not without basis because most studio franchise films are quite soulless – and that is a real danger to the future of movies. But there are also quite a few exceptions.
For cinema to survive I believe spectacle films NEED to have a vision and heart they traditionally haven’t. And some of us are doing our best to move in that direction. Creating spectacle films that are innovative, humane, and thoughtful is what excites me about this job.
But, to be fair, at least from Foster’s quotes, she seems to see filmmaking as something that’s primarily about her own personal growth. For me, that may be part of why I do this, but spending many millions of dollars on a film has to be about more than that – it’s communication – so my experience is merely one spoke on that wheel.
But I respect Foster and what she’s done for films and I appreciate her different way of looking at Hollywood’s landscape.”
It’s a fair comment from Gunn who has made general comments about the industry in the past, including in 2016 when he publicly cautioned that studios would learn the wrong lesson from the success of “Deadpool” and think mimicing it with R-rated raunchy humor is the key to making any piece of underwritten nonsense work.