James Gunn is newly recruited by Troma when he is commissioned by Lloyd Kaufman to write the script for a movie. Gunn said (via Destroy the brain):
“He [Kaufman] said, ‘I want you to write one of three screenplays. “The Toxic Avenger 4,” something else you might come up with, or “Tromeo and Juliet.” The last book I want to write is “Tromeo and Juliet.” So I was paid $150 to write that. When I got paid to write it, I was so excited to do it and to have a movie with my name on it, I gave it my all… the best I could… basically taking on the job. the production. “
Gunn was certainly quick to jump in because “Tromeo and Juliet” is just as raw, raw, and stupid as any of the studio’s other key films. Highlights include repetitive farting pranks, a close-up nipple stab, gouging out and beheading, incest, a penis monster, and scenes of light-hearted sex excuse. That’s all terms of course if you buy the whole Troma thing, but it feels incredibly clunky and a no-brainer when pulled out for almost two hours.
On the plus side, you have Lemmy from Motorhead as the narrator, and some good chemistry between Tromeo (Will Keenan) and Juliet (Jane Jensen), which Kaufman encourages the actors to develop off screen. Kaufman was appointed director, while Gunn received the more ambiguous title of Deputy Director:
“I basically direct the actors. Lloyd is the director. He’s basically in charge of everything but I handle the actors and a lot of the creative stuff. It’s a real partnership. between us, in terms of the movie. You know with Troma, the lines are very blurry.”
https://www.slashfilm.com/996666/the-low-budget-black-comedy-that-launched-james-gunns-career/ The low-budget black comedy that kicked off James Gunn’s career