"That amount of love that I felt from my friends, my family, and the people in the community was absolutely overwhelming," Gunn said
The 52-year-old director, who helmed the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films for Marvel, apologized for his insensitive tweets after they were resurfaced in July 2018. Disney has since rehired the director in March.
In a new interview with Deadline, Gunn said the incident last year made him realize what “real love” was after he was supported and embraced by those closest to him, including his Guardians actors such as Chris Pratt and Zoë Saldana.
“From my girlfriend Jen; my producer and my agents; Chris Pratt calling me and freaking out; Zoë Saldana and Karen Gillan, all calling and crying,” Gunn said. “Sylvester Stallone FaceTime-ing me. And, of course, Dave Bautista, who came out so strong.”
He continued, “That amount of love that I felt from my friends, my family, and the people in the community was absolutely overwhelming. In order for me to have fully felt that love for the first time, the thing that needed to happen was the apparatus by which I was feeling falsely loved had to be completely taken away.”
The outpouring of support made him realize something about the public enmity he faced.
“So a part of that day was the worst of my life, and a part of it was the greatest day of my life,” Gunn admitted. “I certainly haven’t been perfect in my spiritual journeys since that time, but I have been better.”
RELATED VIDEO: James Gunn Dropped from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Films Over Unearthed Tweets
Gunn, who has since signed on to write the Suicide Squad sequel after he was fired, apologized once the tweets were surfaced, explaining that he has since grown as a person and in his work. He said that it used to be part of his act to tweet things that would outrage people.
“In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people,” Gunn wrote is a series of tweets at the time. “I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies. Anyway, that’s the completely honest truth: I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today. Love you to you all.”
After his firing, the Guardians of the Galaxy cast rallied around Gunn in an open letter where they publicly called for him to be reinstated.
Pratt, Saldana, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel and Michael Rooker all signed the statement, which was posted to their social media pages.
“We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss,” the letter began. “Being in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies has been a great honor in each of our lives. We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support and gratitude for James. We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2.“
Suicide Squad and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 are both set for 2021 release dates.