Joe Johnston

Aug. 08, 2011 | 6:35 p.m.

‘Captain America’: Hayley Atwell finds poetry amid the gunfire

Hayley Atwell at the premiere of "Captain America: The First Avenger" (Jason Redmond/Reuters)
“Captain America: The First Avenger” is closing in on $250 million in worldwide box office  after earning some strong reviews for its World War II tale of heroes, villains, courage, loss and duty. The film delivers, as expected, with its action sequences, but many observers were surprised by its heartfelt romance with Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, and Peggy Carter, portrayed by Hayley Atwell. Atwell, a 29-year-old London native, made her feature-film debut in 2007 in Woody Allen’s “Cassandra’s Dream” and earned a Golden Globe nomination for the 2010 television miniseries “The Pillars of the Earth.” Soon she will be on the London stage in “The Faith Machine.” Our Geoff Boucher talked with her about her visit to the Marvel Universe. GB: Superhero films can be less than heroic when it comes to presenting nuanced roles for women. Talk a bit about your character, Peggy Carter, and how […]
July 30, 2011 | 4:44 p.m.

‘Captain America’ writers: Cap would be on a watch list today

Captain America (Marvel)
“Captain America: The First Avenger” had a heroic opening weekend and overcame all the skepticism about period-piece patriotism in a contemporary movie marketplace. The film was directed by Joe Johnston, and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige played a major role in stitching the film into the widening Marvel Universe on the silver screen, but the story began with a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the duo who also wrote the “Chronicles of Narnia” screenplays. Our Geoff Boucher sat down with them to talk about the film’s success, the choices made and a bit about their daydreams for Cap’s film future (Peter Dinklage as MODOK? Sign us up now…) GB: You have a character with a name, a costume and a sensibility that are very much of another time. This is a Roosevelt superhero. Going in with all of that, what choices needed to […]
July 26, 2011 | 7:49 a.m.

‘Captain America’: Ed Brubaker and the salvation of Bucky Barnes [updated]

Ed Brubaker
There were plenty of famous faces and Hollywood heavy hitters at the red-carpet premiere of “Captain America: The First Avenger,” but director Joe Johnston’s face lighted up in a special way when he was introduced to one guest who had flown in from the Pacific Northwest for the glitzy event — Ed Brubaker, the writer whose award-winning, seven-year run on the Marvel Comics adventures of Captain America became a key template for the big-screen adaptation. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, ” Johnston said to Brubaker as Robert Downey Jr. passed by on his way to a seat inside the El Capitan Theatre. Johnston and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (who also met Brubaker at the movie palace on premiere night) have cited the comic book writer’s work as an influence on the mythology, tone and characters in the film that […]
July 20, 2011 | 1:32 p.m.

‘Captain America’ premiere: Chris Evans was drafted to duty by Marvel

Chris Evans
In “Captain America: The First Avenger,” Chris Evans plays a man who can’t wait to wear a uniform but off-screen it sounds as if the actor was reluctantly drafted to duty. Evans had so much trepidation about taking on the role of Steve Rogers — and his red, white and blue alter ego — that he repeatedly turned down the part. But director Joe Johnston and Marvel Studios executives felt strongly that he was the right man to carry the shield of Captain America. “Unfortunately, before he said ‘no,’ we envisioned him in the role. And then we went on to screen test 12 or 15 guys and we were never really happy with what we were getting and we felt like we were settling if we went with any one of those guys,” Johnston explained on Tuesday at the […]
July 19, 2011 | 12:10 p.m.

‘Captain America’: Joe Johnston on Marvel films, Winter Soldier and a Boba Fett movie

Joe Johnston (Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times)
Joe Johnston dropped by Hero Complex this morning for a live-chat with our readers and  the ever-candid filmmaker shared plenty of insights about “Captain America: The First Avenger,” his career and his future (including that could-it-be-true Boba Fett film). You can  read the whole chat right here but here are some of highlight comments. On the Marvel Universe films: “We didn’t really direct this film toward ‘The Avengers.’ All I had to do was to bring Cap back to life and hand him off to ['Avengers' director Joss Whedon]. On the film’s villains: “We turned the Nazis into Hydra, the uber Nazis. Real Nazis aren’t funny, but you can slaughter them in all kinds of interesting ways and get away with it … Red Skull is a great comic book villain, but I wanted him real and more ‘human’ than he is in the […]
July 15, 2011 | 12:40 p.m.

‘Captain America: The First Avenger’: Chat with director Joe Johnston

captain america-cp
Joe Johnston, who directs “Captain America: The First Avenger,” the upcoming addition to Marvel Studios’ slate of superhero films, is no stranger to big-budget action flicks; his previous credits include  “Jurassic Park III,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and “The Rocketeer.” But “Captain America” presented the unique challenge of bringing the comic book World War II-era adventures of Steve Rogers to life on the big screen. The result is a film that’s a period piece with a futuristic bent, Johnston told Hero Complex in March. “This is futurism in the 1940s; if you went to 1942 and thought of what the future would be, that’s what the approach was,” Johnston said. “Sometimes when we had questions and we were stuck we would say, ‘What would Indiana Jones do? What would be the answer to this in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”?’ I’ve […]
July 12, 2011 | 3:52 a.m.

‘Captain America’ star Chris Evans: It’s not about the flag, it’s about the hero

"Captain America: The First Avenger" (Marvel Studios/Paramount)
Square-jawed superhero Steve Rogers lays strangely immobile in the bowels of an enormous “suborbital bomber” — a contraption that looks like Howard Hughes’ legendary Spruce Goose if it were pimped out for Darth Vader. His eyes closed, the hero might be lost in deep contemplation or possibly praying for help to foil an evil plot, in this case the impending launch of a missile targeted at a major American city. But from a certain vantage point, his face pressed against the glass encasing the weapon, it sure looks as though Captain America’s snoozing. Even if Chris Evans, who plays the weakling soldier wannabe turned strapping superhero in the new film “Captain America: The First Avenger,” were catching a few winks, it would be tough to blame him. The actor, 30, had to bulk up at the gym to better embody […]
June 18, 2011 | 8:05 a.m.

‘Captain America’ director: Shield-throwing is rare (but special) in film

captainamerica-cp
The best defense is a good offense, and for Captain America that has meant seven decades of slinging his indestructible shield in the face of foes. The red-white-and-blue disc looks so good flying through the air that they even made a song about it. But director Joe Johnston says fans shouldn’t expect too much shield-throwing when “Captain America: The First Avenger” arrives in theaters July 22 with Chris Evans in the starring role. The reason? It should be a truly special moment when Steve Rogers lets it fly. “The whole thing about throwing the shield was given a lot of thought,” Johnston said. “And you know he just doesn’t do it a lot in the movie. I’d say maybe four of five times? But when he does, it’s a big deal; he really saves the day.” In the pages of Marvel Comics (and the Golden Age pages of […]
June 05, 2011 | 3:57 p.m.

‘X-Men: First Class’: History lessons in superhero cinema?

"X-Men: First Class" (Twentieth Century Fox)
Kids used to hide their comic books inside their school textbooks, but these days it feel like history-class homework is being tucked into superhero movies. “X-Men: First Class” uses the Cuban missile crisis and World War II as the major backdrops for its sleek and smart tale of retro-melodrama. In July, “Captain America: The First Avenger” goes into the battlefields of 1940s Europe, although director Joe Johnston already has some superheroes-in-wartime experience with “The Rocketeer,” which featured actors playing Howard Hughes, Clark Gable and W.C. Fields and used some archival footage of Adolf Hitler. In “First Class,” digital wizardry and editing sprinkles real-life historical figures into the film’s tapestry of superhuman mythology — not unlike Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen,” in which masked mystery men shared the screen with Richard Nixon, Elvis Presley, Henry Kissinger, John Lennon and Albert Einstein. John F. Kennedy was in “Watchmen,” too, and he seems […]
June 03, 2011 | 5:40 p.m.

‘Captain America’ preview added to Hero Complex Film Festival

captamerica6
“Captain America: The First Avenger” will add some fireworks to the closing night of the Hero Complex Film Festival. Marvel Studios has picked the festival for the world premiere of the new trailer for the July 22 film that brings the star-spangled hero to the silver screen. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the patriotic character created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon and the new film, directed by Joe Johnston and starring Chris Evans, opens a new chapter in the pop-culture life of the red-white-and-blue icon. The trailer will be shown at 4 p.m. Sunday at the start of the double-feature screening of “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2.” The guest of honor for the day is Jon Favreau, director of both Tony Stark films, who will be interviewed on stage by our Geoff Boucher between the two hit films that combined for $1.2 billion in worldwide […]
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