Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Joe Johnston

Joe Johnston

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Joe Johnston'
Start a new discussion about 'Joe Johnston'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Joseph Eggleston "Joe" Johnston II (born May 13, 1950) is an American film director and former effects artist best known for such effects-driven movies as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a 1989 comedy film. The directorial debut of Joe Johnston and released through Walt Disney Pictures and Silver Screen Partners III, the film tells the story of an inventor who accidentally shrinks his and his neighbor's kids to 1/4 of an inch with his electromagnetic...

, Jumanji
Jumanji (film)
Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy-comedy film about a supernatural board game that makes wild animals and other jungle hazards materialize upon each player's move. It was directed by Joe Johnston and is based on Chris Van Allsburg's popular 1981 picture book of the same name...

, The Rocketeer
The Rocketeer (film)
The Rocketeer is a 1991 period superhero adventure film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and based on the character of the same name created by comic book writer/artist Dave Stevens. Directed by Joe Johnston, the film stars Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino...

, Jurassic Park III
Jurassic Park III
Jurassic Park III is a 2001 American science fiction film and the third of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is the only film in the series that is neither directed by Steven Spielberg nor based on a book by Michael Crichton, though numerous scenes in the movie were taken from Crichton's two books,...

, the period drama October Sky
October Sky
October Sky is a 1999 American biographical film directed by Joe Johnston, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Laura Dern. It is based on the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1 to take up rocketry against his father's wishes, and who...

, The Wolfman, and Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avenger is a 2011 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America. It is the fifth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

.

Life and career


Johnston was born in Austin
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, and attended California State University, Long Beach
California State University, Long Beach
California State University, Long Beach is the second largest campus of the California State University system and the third largest university in the state of California by enrollment...

, as well as the Art Center College of Design
Art Center College of Design
Art Center College of Design is a private college located in Pasadena, California, and was cited by BusinessWeek as one of the 60 best design schools in the world. The college’s industrial design program is consistently ranked number one by both DesignIntelligence and U.S...

. He began his career as a concept artist and effects technician on the first Star Wars
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the...

film, directed by George Lucas
George Lucas
George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones...

. His association with Lucas would later prove fruitful, as he won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for his work on Lucas and Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

's film Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by George Lucas, and starring Harrison Ford. It is the first film in the Indiana Jones franchise...

. He continued to work on many films as an effects expert, and moved into producing with the film Willow
Willow (film)
Willow is a 1988 American fantasy film directed by Ron Howard and produced/co-written by George Lucas. Warwick Davis stars in the film, as well as Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, and Patricia Hayes...

before making his directorial debut with the hit Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a 1989 comedy film. The directorial debut of Joe Johnston and released through Walt Disney Pictures and Silver Screen Partners III, the film tells the story of an inventor who accidentally shrinks his and his neighbor's kids to 1/4 of an inch with his electromagnetic...

.

Johnston followed this with the comic-book adaptation The Rocketeer
The Rocketeer (film)
The Rocketeer is a 1991 period superhero adventure film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and based on the character of the same name created by comic book writer/artist Dave Stevens. Directed by Joe Johnston, the film stars Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino...

(1991). The film was a commercial failure, as was his next, the animated and live-action The Pagemaster
The Pagemaster
The Pagemaster is a 1994 adventure fantasy film starring Macaulay Culkin, Christopher Lloyd, Patrick Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Welker, and Leonard Nimoy...

. Johnson would rebound, however, directing the family hit Jumanji
Jumanji (film)
Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy-comedy film about a supernatural board game that makes wild animals and other jungle hazards materialize upon each player's move. It was directed by Joe Johnston and is based on Chris Van Allsburg's popular 1981 picture book of the same name...

, starring Robin Williams
Robin Williams
Robin McLaurin Williams is an American actor and comedian. Rising to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork and Mindy, and later stand-up comedy work, Williams has performed in many feature films since 1980. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance...

. The film overcame lukewarm reviews to gross over US$ 260 million. Johnston would then switch gears from effects-driven action films to the more personal and critically acclaimed October Sky
October Sky
October Sky is a 1999 American biographical film directed by Joe Johnston, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Laura Dern. It is based on the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1 to take up rocketry against his father's wishes, and who...

(1999), starring Jake Gyllenhall as a 1950s West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

 high school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

 student who dreams of being a rocket scientist for NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 despite his father's wishes.

Johnston entered the 2000s with the sequel Jurassic Park III
Jurassic Park III
Jurassic Park III is a 2001 American science fiction film and the third of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is the only film in the series that is neither directed by Steven Spielberg nor based on a book by Michael Crichton, though numerous scenes in the movie were taken from Crichton's two books,...

. The film continued his relationship with Spielberg and made over US$ 300 million at the box office. Johnston followed this with the western Hidalgo
Hidalgo (film)
Hidalgo is a 2004 film based on the legend of the American distance rider Frank Hopkins and his mustang Hidalgo, and recounts Hopkins' racing his horse in Arabia in 1891 against Bedouin riding pure-blooded Arabian horses. The movie was written by John Fusco and directed by Joe Johnston...

, starring Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Peter Mortensen, Jr. is a Danish-American actor, poet, musician, photographer and painter. He made his film debut in Peter Weir's 1985 thriller Witness, and subsequently appeared in many notable films of the 1990s, including The Indian Runner , Carlito's Way , Crimson Tide , Daylight , The...

. Johnston then took a six-year break before directing the 2010 remake of the 1941 horror classic The Wolfman, starring Benicio del Toro
Benicio del Toro
Benicio Monserrate Rafael del Toro Sánchez is a Puerto Rican and Spanish actor and film producer. He won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a BAFTA Award for his role as Javier Rodríguez in Traffic . He is also known for his roles as Fred Fenster in The Usual...

 and Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, KBE , best known as Anthony Hopkins, is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television...

. In part for his experience with period superhero film
Superhero film
A superhero film, superhero movie, or superhero motion picture is: action, fantasy and science fiction film; that is focused on the actions of one or more superheroes, individuals who usually possess superhuman abilities relative to a normal person and are dedicated to protecting the public...

s with The Rocketeer, Johnston was selected to direct the Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

 superhero adaptation Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avenger is a 2011 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America. It is the fifth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

, released July 22, 2011. The film stars Chris Evans
Chris Evans (actor)
Christopher Robert "Chris" Evans is an American actor. He played Cary Baston on the television series Opposite Sex, and transitioned to a film career, starring in several hits, including Not Another Teen Movie , Fierce People , Fantastic Four, sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer , and...

 as the comic-book hero and Hugo Weaving
Hugo Weaving
Hugo Wallace Weaving is a Nigerian born, English-Australian film actor and voice artist. He is best known for his roles as Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy, Elrond in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, "V" in V for Vendetta, and performances in numerous Australian character dramas.-Early...

 as his archenemy the Red Skull
Red Skull
The Red Skull is a name shared by several fictional characters, all supervillains from the Marvel Comics universe. All incarnations of the character are enemies of Captain America, other superheroes, and the United States in general....

. The film is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Marvel Cinematic Universe
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a shared fictional universe that is the setting of superhero films independently developed by Marvel Studios, based on characters published in Marvel Comics. The setting is much like the Marvel Universe in comic books. The universe was established by crossing over...

 group of films that also features Iron Man
Iron Man (film)
Iron Man is a 2008 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Directed by Jon Favreau, the film stars Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, an industrialist and master engineer who builds a powered exoskeleton and becomes the technologically advanced superhero, Iron...

, Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 is a 2010 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Iron Man, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the sequel to 2008's Iron Man, the second film in a planned trilogy and is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Jon...

, Thor
Thor (film)
Thor is a 2011 American superhero film based on the comic book character of the same name published by Marvel Comics. It is the fourth film released as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

, and The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk (film)
The Incredible Hulk is a 2008 superhero action film based on the Marvel Comics character the Hulk. It is directed by Louis Leterrier and stars Edward Norton as Dr. Bruce Banner. It is the second film to be released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

.

Johnston was at one point set to direct Hulk
Hulk (film)
Hulk is a 2003 American superhero film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character of the same name. Ang Lee directed the film, which stars Eric Bana as Dr. Bruce Banner, as well as Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas, and Nick Nolte...

but dropped out in July 1997.

He is the author of the Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

book The Adventures of Teebo: A Tale of Magic and Suspense, a fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 novel tied to Return of the Jedi
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand and written by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan. It is the third film released in the Star Wars saga, and the sixth in terms of the series' internal chronology...

(New York: Random House
Random House
Random House, Inc. is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. It has been owned since 1998 by the German private media corporation Bertelsmann and has become the umbrella brand for Bertelsmann book publishing. Random House also has a movie production arm, Random House Films,...

, 1984; ISBN 0394865685, ISBN 039496568X).

In 2010, Johnston said he was involved in plans for a new Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park (franchise)
The Jurassic Park franchise is a series of books, films, comics, and videos centering on a disastrous attempt to create a theme park of cloned dinosaurs...

trilogy that "sends the whole franchise off in a new direction. It's not about the dinosaur park anymore."

Filmography

  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
    Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
    Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the...

    (1977) (effects illustrator and designer: miniature and optical effects unit)
  • Battlestar Galactica
    Battlestar Galactica (1978 TV series)
    Battlestar Galactica is an American science fiction television series, created by Glen A. Larson. It starred Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict and ran for one season in 1978–79. After cancellation, its story was continued in 1980 as Galactica 1980 with Adama, Lieutenant Boomer and...

    (1978–1979) (effects illustration and design)
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
    Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
    Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. The screenplay, based on a story by George Lucas, was written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan...

    (1980) (art director visual effects: miniature and optical effects unit)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by George Lucas, and starring Harrison Ford. It is the first film in the Indiana Jones franchise...

    (1981) (art director: visual effects, ILM)
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
    Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
    Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand and written by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan. It is the third film released in the Star Wars saga, and the sixth in terms of the series' internal chronology...

    (1983) (art director visual effects)
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the second film in the Indiana Jones franchise and prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark . After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone...

    (1984) (art director: California)
  • Howard the Duck
    Howard the Duck (film)
    Howard the Duck is a 1986 American science fiction comedy film directed by Willard Huyck and produced by George Lucas. It is loosely based on the Marvel comic book of the same name, created by Steve Gerber and quoting scripts by Bill Mantlo, the film focuses on Howard, an alien from a planet...

    (1986) (ultralight sequence design)
  • batteries not included (1987) (second unit director, production manager)
  • Always (1989) (aerial sequence designer)
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
    Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
    Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a 1989 comedy film. The directorial debut of Joe Johnston and released through Walt Disney Pictures and Silver Screen Partners III, the film tells the story of an inventor who accidentally shrinks his and his neighbor's kids to 1/4 of an inch with his electromagnetic...

    (1989) (director)
  • The Rocketeer
    The Rocketeer (film)
    The Rocketeer is a 1991 period superhero adventure film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and based on the character of the same name created by comic book writer/artist Dave Stevens. Directed by Joe Johnston, the film stars Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino...

    (1991) (director)
  • The Pagemaster
    The Pagemaster
    The Pagemaster is a 1994 adventure fantasy film starring Macaulay Culkin, Christopher Lloyd, Patrick Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Welker, and Leonard Nimoy...

    (1994) (director [live-action scenes])
  • Jumanji
    Jumanji (film)
    Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy-comedy film about a supernatural board game that makes wild animals and other jungle hazards materialize upon each player's move. It was directed by Joe Johnston and is based on Chris Van Allsburg's popular 1981 picture book of the same name...

    (1995) (director)
  • October Sky
    October Sky
    October Sky is a 1999 American biographical film directed by Joe Johnston, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Laura Dern. It is based on the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1 to take up rocketry against his father's wishes, and who...

    (1999) (director)
  • Jurassic Park III
    Jurassic Park III
    Jurassic Park III is a 2001 American science fiction film and the third of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is the only film in the series that is neither directed by Steven Spielberg nor based on a book by Michael Crichton, though numerous scenes in the movie were taken from Crichton's two books,...

    (2001) (director)
  • Hidalgo
    Hidalgo (film)
    Hidalgo is a 2004 film based on the legend of the American distance rider Frank Hopkins and his mustang Hidalgo, and recounts Hopkins' racing his horse in Arabia in 1891 against Bedouin riding pure-blooded Arabian horses. The movie was written by John Fusco and directed by Joe Johnston...

    (2004) (director)
  • The Wolfman (2010) (director)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
    Captain America: The First Avenger
    Captain America: The First Avenger is a 2011 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America. It is the fifth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

    (2011) (director)

External links