Joe Dante

June 14, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

‘Gremlins’ director Joe Dante on puppetry, remake talk [video]

While “Gremlins” still has the power to delight audiences 30 years after its release, director Joe Dante said that the experience of making the film was anything but delightful. Particularly grueling? The days of shooting with just puppets and no human actors. “Nothing but puppets. A month and a half of just shooting puppets. I just don’t know how Jim Henson lived.” Dante spoke with Hero Complex’s Gina McIntyre after a screening of the beloved 1984′s film, during the Hero Complex Film Festival, which took place May 30-June 1 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. Despite the painful memories, he said he still recognizes the importance of what the arduous process brought to the movie. He noted that an advantage of using puppets was that the people manipulating them introduced a human expression into the equation, an increasing […]
June 13, 2014 | 3:50 p.m.

Joe Dante recalls studio fretted about Gremlin creepiness factor [video]

Before “Gremlins” hit theaters in 1984, studio executives fretted that the creepy critters might be too frightening for moviegoers. “They thought the Gremlins were very unpleasant,” director Joe Dante recalled during a recent appearance at the Hero Complex Film Festival. “So, they sent some notes, one of which was: ‘Too many gremlins.’ “ Luckily Steven Spielberg, the executive producer, had the perfect rejoinder. “Well, we could cut all the Gremlins out and call it ‘People.’ How would you like that?” It was the type of sardonic comeback that perhaps only Spielberg could have gotten away with at the time. After all, as Dante pointed out, he was essentially the reason the film was made. Dante said that Warner Bros., “basically backed it because Steven Spielberg wanted to make it, and they wanted to make him happy.” Dante spoke with Hero […]
May 31, 2014 | 9:58 p.m.

Joe Dante talks ‘Gremlins,’ movie magic at Hero Complex Film Festival

Joe Dante reflects on the process of making "Gremlins" at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival (Anne Cusack/LA Times)
The beloved horror-comedy “Gremlins” might be turning 30 this year, but at a late afternoon screening at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival in Hollywood, the film proved it can still cast a spell over viewers. Not that director Joe Dante ever expected it to become such a cultural touchstone. “I was amazed,” Dante said Saturday. “You never know if anybody’s going to be on your wavelength.” Produced by Steven Spielberg with a script from Chris Columbus, the 1984 film, which starred Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates, introduced moviegoers to the race of adorable creatures known as mogwai — and their far more devious counterparts. The story centers on the pandemonium that springs up in a small town after Galligan’s Billy inadvertently breaks the three cardinal rules for caring for his mogwai Gizmo (voiced by Howie Mandel) and ends up unleashing […]
April 29, 2014 | 9:30 a.m.

James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver top Hero Complex Film Festival lineup

cameron-weaver
Revolutionary filmmaker James Cameron, groundbreaking actress Sigourney Weaver and venerable writer-director Joe Dante will be among the special guests at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival, set to take place May 30-June 1 at the TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood. Festival programming also will include a special tribute to the recent TV series “Battlestar Galactica,” with actors Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell and Jamie Bamber and creator Ronald D. Moore; a preview of the animated sequel “How to Train Your Dragon 2″; and a special “quote-along” Sunday matinee showing of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Celebrated Australian comics artist Nicola Scott (“Birds of Prey,” “Secret Six”), who currently illustrates DC Comics’ “Earth 2,” created the out-of-this-world image for this year’s festival poster, pictured at right. The festival will open May 30 with a free screening of the 2003 […]
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