Joe Johnston Biography

Joe Johnston photo

Born: May 13, 1950


Date of Birth: May 13, 1950

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Johnston was originally intent on a career in commercial art, but a summer of working on storyboards for Star Wars made him think twice. Working with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) for the next nine years provided him with experience on some of the top grossing films, including the Star Wars trilogy, Raiders of the Lost Arc and Batteries Not Included and earned him an Oscar for his work on the original Raiders of the Lost Arc (1981) for Best Visual Effects.

His work in television is no less impressive, working as an effects illustrator for Battlestar Galactica and a production designer for the two Ewok telefilms (The Ewok Adventure, Ewoks: The Battle For Endor). He attended the University of Southern California's Film School in 1984 and in 1988, he produced Ron Howard's Willow. He then decided to try directing, his first project being Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989). With the enormous success of his directorial debut, Johnston went on to helm more films like The Rocketeer (1991) and The Pagemaster (1994). Neither could be compared to the success of his first film, but his next efforts with the blockbuster Jumanji (1995) proved that his first success wasn't just beginner's luck. In 1999, he won an OCIC award at the Ajijic International Film Festival for October Sky (1999), starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

Next up for Johnston was Jurassic Park III (2001), followed by Hidalgo (2004), starring Viggo Mortensen. After a lengthy hiatus from the big screen, he returned to direct Benicio Del Toro in The Wolfman. He then followed that up with the comic book-based Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).

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