CAPTAIN AMERICA EXCLUSIVE: One Question/One Answer with Director Joe Johnston
SCIFI MEDIA ZONE: Overall, looking back at the Captain America shoot, what's your feeling about it?
CBM marks the return of this exclusive feature in which editor Ed Gross asks Captain America director Joe Johnston a question about production. This time out, it's a look back at the overall production.
JOE JOHNSTON: CAPTAIN AMERICA was a lot of things. Every picture has its highs and lows, its dreads and excited anticipations. To fully understand the CAPTAIN AMERICA experience, I have to keep reminding myself that I had just come off another film I shot in the UK, THE WOLFMAN. The two experiences could not have been more different, in fact in many ways (certainly not all) they were polar opposites. I had three weeks of prep on WOLFMAN, a ridiculously inadequate amount of time to try to bring together the fractured and scattered pieces of the production. I had taken the job mostly because I had a cash flow problem, the only time in my career I’ve ever let finances enter into the decision process. Money is always the wrong reason for doing something that requires passionate devotion. The production was a leaky, rudderless ship in a perfect storm suffering from bad decisions, infighting, reluctance of the powers-that-be to take responsibility, and too many under-qualified cooks in the kitchen. The good news and bad news about directing is that when the picture works you’re showered with all the credit and when it doesn’t work you’re dumped on with all the blame. Both scenarios are undeserved. I take full responsibility for THE WOLFMAN not working because it goes with the territory. There were wonderful aspects of THE WOLFMAN experience. I inherited a crew that was the best of my experience, including a first assistant director without whom I could not have made it through the first two weeks. I had the immense pleasure of working with a cast that was as diverse and multifaceted as it could be. I rediscovered all that I love about London and its environs and I made some lifelong friends, on and off the crew.
I had thirty weeks of prep on CAPTAIN AMERICA. I have a small team of qualified, supportive, creative producers who are actually helping me achieve my vision of the film. I had a dream cast headed by Chris Evans. I had the best designers, artists, sculptors, craftspeople…a creative team that could design, build and photograph anything and have it look amazing and beautiful. We had unbelievable luck with the weather wherever we shot in England. The weather was so good we were compelled to make it rain for a couple of sequences just for some variety. At times I felt as if the gods were saying, “Ahem, sorry about that wolfman thing…let us make it up to you.” CAPTAIN AMERICA was probably the most universally positive experience I’ve had in this mad business.
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