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Peacemaker’s Chukwudi Iwuji explains how James Gunn cast him in GOTG3


If you’re a fan of James Gunn, you need to get to know actor Chukwudi Iwuji. He stars in the upcoming Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, as well as the new HBO Max series Peacemaker.


Charlie Carter

This story is part of I’m So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

One of my favorite films in 2021 was The Suicide Squad by James Gunn. It was a passionate cinematic retelling of the ridiculous DC comic by the same name that is funny, action-packed and just wonderful. One of the characters is Peacemaker played by John Cena who is a misguided superhero out for justice no matter the cost. Starting Jan. 13, HBO Max premieres the series Peacemaker that follows the character after the events of The Suicide Squad. The show is created by Gunn and also stars the Nigerian-British actor Chuwudi Iwuji who is probably best known for his work as a classical actor.

Iwuji has acted with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and won two Olivier Awards. He’s also been in such shows and series as When They See Us, Designated Survivor, The Underground Railroad and appeared in films like John Wick: Chapter 2. In Peacemaker Iwuji plays Clemson Murn, a dark ops mercenary who leads a team that includes the Peacemaker. Iwuji was on CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast where he explained Murn.

“This guy’s a former West Point graduate, probably went in with the best intentions into the Black Ops and stuff and came out the monster he sort of is,” said Iwuji. “He’s definitely the straight guy in a group of delinquents. It was a real challenge for me not to fall into the trap of having too much fun and just keeping this guy as true to who he has to be. But he also has a really deep emotional trajectory that surprises you, as the series goes on.”

As Iwuji was rehearsing the opening sequence for Peacemaker, Gunn pulled him aside to offer him a role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Initially when Gunn approached him, Iwuji joked to Gunn that “this is when you tell me you actually had meant to hire Chiwetel Ejiofor.” Gunn said no and explained why he wanted to cast Iwuji. When Iwuji went to do a screen test it was unlike any audition he’s attended before.

“I’m not competing with anyone, but in many ways myself. By that point, me and him [Gunn] had thrown back on ideas back and forth, because he really wanted this character grounded. He said, ‘the reason is I want you to ground this. And I want your imagination, I want you to ground him in someone human.'”

While we have to wait and see who Iwuji plays in Guardians, the internet has its own theories. Gunn in the meantime posted a picture of the cast of Guardians that included Iwuji who he describes as one of the best actors he’s ever worked with.

You can watch Peacemaker on HBO Max starting Thurs. Jan. 13. Listen to my full interview with Iwuji in the podcast player at the top of this article. Subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo and I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsessions.



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