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Joe Johnston

Joe Johnston

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Also Known As: Joseph Eggleston Johnston Ii Died:
Born: May 13, 1950 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Fort Worth, Texas, USA Profession: director, visual effects art director, producer, storyboard artist, 2nd unit director, transportation artist, scenic artist, illustrator

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Despite having received his start in film as a part of George Lucas' famed visual effects team on "Star Wars" (1977), and eventually directing several high-profile movies himself, Joe Johnston somehow managed to keep a remarkably low-profile during much of his career. Originally intending to pursue a career in industrial design, Johnston's professional path took an unexpected turn when he answered an ad looking for illustrators to work on a new science fiction movie. That movie turned out to be "Star Wars," and from there Johnston worked as a visual effects director on that film's two sequels, in addition to similar duties on Steven Spielberg's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981). Encouraged by Lucas to try his hand at directing, Johnston enrolled in the University of Southern California's filmmaking program, although he continued to work on various Lucas/Spielberg projects. Shortly thereafter, Johnston was hired by Disney Studios to direct his first feature film, "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" (1989). Family-friendly material, filled with special effects became Johnston's stock in trade, exemplified by films like "The Rocketeer" (1991) and "Jumamji" (1995). Even as he made a name for himself as a director,...

Despite having received his start in film as a part of George Lucas' famed visual effects team on "Star Wars" (1977), and eventually directing several high-profile movies himself, Joe Johnston somehow managed to keep a remarkably low-profile during much of his career. Originally intending to pursue a career in industrial design, Johnston's professional path took an unexpected turn when he answered an ad looking for illustrators to work on a new science fiction movie. That movie turned out to be "Star Wars," and from there Johnston worked as a visual effects director on that film's two sequels, in addition to similar duties on Steven Spielberg's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981). Encouraged by Lucas to try his hand at directing, Johnston enrolled in the University of Southern California's filmmaking program, although he continued to work on various Lucas/Spielberg projects. Shortly thereafter, Johnston was hired by Disney Studios to direct his first feature film, "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" (1989). Family-friendly material, filled with special effects became Johnston's stock in trade, exemplified by films like "The Rocketeer" (1991) and "Jumamji" (1995). Even as he made a name for himself as a director, Johnston continued to help fellow filmmakers with visual design work, including creating the initial drawing of the massive automaton for director Brad Bird's "The Iron Giant" (1999). He also managed to deliver a more personal film with the acclaimed "October Sky" (1999), before helming the special effects blockbuster "Jurassic Park III" (2001). Johnston endured a few misfires, taking the reins of the horseracing epic "Hildalgo" (2004) prior to landing the thankless task of salvaging the cursed remake "The Wolfman" (2010). As a filmmaker, Johnston's legacy would be that of a competent director, perhaps too reliant upon visual wizardry. However, as an unsung hero and creative force on some of the most beloved movies of all time, Joe Johnston's lasting impact on cinema was already assured.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

3.
4.
  Hidalgo (2004) Director
5.
  Jurassic Park III (2001) Director
6.
  October Sky (1999) Director
7.
  Jumanji (1995) Director
8.
  Pagemaster, The (1994) Live Action Director
9.
  Rocketeer, The (1991) Director
10.

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

1977:
Drew storyboards and sketches for "Star Wars"; received credit as an effects illustrator and designer
1977:
Served as an artistic director at Industrial Light and Magic
1978:
Was effects illustrator for "Battlestar: Galactica"
1980:
Worked as visual effects art director for "The Empire Strikes Back"
1981:
Was visual effects art director on Steven Spielberg's "Raiders of the Lost Ark"
1983:
Served as visual effects art director on "Return of the Jedi"
1984:
Was production designer for the ABC movie, "The Ewok Adventure"
1986:
Worked as ultralight sequence designer for "Howard the Duck"
1987:
Served as 2nd unit director on "*batteries not included"; executive produced by Spielberg
1988:
Received an associate producer credit on Ron Howard's "Willow"
1989:
Made feature directorial debut with the effects-driven, "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"
1989:
Designed aerial sequences for Steven Speilberg's "Always"
1991:
Helmed second feature, the underappreciated "The Rocketeer"
1993:
Directed the an episode of "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (ABC)
1994:
Helmed the live action sequences of "The Pagemaster," starring Macaulay Culkin
1995:
Directed the special effects-laden feature, "Jumanji"
1999:
Directed "October Sky," which is based on former NASA engineer Homer Hickam's memoir, <i>Rocket Boys</i>
2001:
Directed the sequel, "Jurrasic Park 3"
2004:
Helmed the Disney produced, "Hidalgo"
2010:
First film in six years, the remake of "The Wolf Man," starring Benicio del Toro
2011:
Directed the Chris Evans as "Captain America: The First Avenger"
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Education

California State University, Long Beach: Long Beach , California -
Art Center College of Design: Pasadena , California -
University of Southern California: Los Angeles , California -

Notes

"October Sky" as a title works on two levels. October was the month when Sputnik first crossed the sky in 1957, and "October Sky" is an anagram of its source material "Rocket Boys".

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