The oldest of the Gunn brothers, James was born in August 1966 in St. Louis, Missouri, according to the LA Times. Gunn’s childhood was not easy, and he later revealed to the Washington Post in 2017 that he experienced hardships due to his father’s alcoholism. “I grew up in a dysfunctional family, and I’m not betraying anything by saying: My dad has been sober for a long time, but he was not sober when I was young … And that created a lot of turmoil in the family. I came from many, many alcoholics in my family.” This turmoil only made him grow closer to his younger brothers, and together, they bonded over film and comic books.
By his teenage years, Gunn started taking an interest in making movies himself with an 8mm camera. As a young adult, he briefly attended college but dropped out to launch a career in music with his band, The Icons. The group wasn’t successful, and after his stint, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Louis University, and a MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. Following college, he made his professional debut and wrote “Tromeo and Juliet” in 1996. Just a few years later, Gunn wrote “Scooby Doo,” “Dawn of the Dead,” and “Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” within the span of two years. He is most known for writing and directing the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, in addition to “The Suicide Squad” (2021). In October 2022, Gunn, along with Peter Safran, were named co-chairmen and chief executive officers of DC Studios, per Deadline.