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An Interview with John Johnson, Director of Darken

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2012

Films directed by John Johnson on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your movie Darken - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Roy Logan has a dream of his death. Knowing that nothing can kill him until that moment., the line between right and wrong gets a little blurred.

 

Maybe a very obvious question: Why a unicorn?

 

I wanted to make a fantasy film. And a Unicorn are the epitome of fantasy ... also was heavily influenced by Legend and The Last Unicorn.

 

What were your initial inspirations when writing Darken? And what can you tell us about your writing partner Lincoln L. Lilley and the writing process as such?

 

The concept came to me as I was driving on set scout and saw a tree in the middle of a field. I stared at it for awhile and it all just kinda came to me. Dying there. I fleshed out that and the idea of a Unicorn in human form on the run with Lincoln. He wrote the 1st draft of the script and I the second. Then we were off to shoot!

 

How would you describe your directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

Well, this was a little off for me, since I was playing the lead role. Most of my films are ensemble pieces, which normally just speak to me. But this was a little different. We had 6 weeks of fight training and then working with a girl who barely spoke and a dog. I did a lot of yappin. But I trusted my DP a lot on covering my butt. The villains were amazing and I really got to just sit back and watch them play. It was a lot of fun!

 

Darken features quite a few quite impressive action sequences. So what can you tell us about shooting those and (since you are in most of them) performing in those?

 

Well, the upside was Roy wasn't supposed to be in great shape so I got to still love the burger. The downside was I took quite a beating all the time. But it was perfect. I sparred with a lot of the stunt and fight crew in my younger days, so we all kinda knew each other's fight methods and were comfortable with each other. And Michael Hebron's sequences were awesome. His 6 weeks of rehearsal made the scenes really strong. A lot of the credit goes to him.

 

In Darken, you have cast yourself as the lead. Why, how did you approach your character, and what can you tell us about John Johnson, the actor?

 

Hmm. Well, I won't lie. On that part of casting myself was the risk involved. From leaping off bluffs to taking punches, I knew my threshold could go further than I think I could get away with otherwise. As an actor, I like to play. It makes the filmmaker experience a lot more fun. Kinda having your fingers in all the pies!

 

What can you tell us about the rest of your key cast and crew, and why these people?

 

The others auditioned and claimed their roles as being rightfully theirs. Some I had worked with prior and knew their strengths, but as you can see in the film, they kinda owned it. I couldn't ask for any more than that.

 

Could you talk about the shoot as such for a little, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Well, it was a very small crew. We were a tight ship. Everybody was on task and we rarely went over in production deadlines. I think we were all excited about doing a film a little outside of my normal horror/comedy box.

 

As far as I know, Darken is only about to be released. So what can you tell us about critical reception of your film so far?

 

Well it just released today! (December 11th) And I have read some reviews which have been positive and very humbling, but I am really looking forward to the letters and such that come in from the viewers to see how we really did with this venture.

 

Let's go back to the beginnings of your career: What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

Self-taught. At this point in time I have made 145 films, 29 of which being features. I learned from my mistakes and kept going. I made my first short when I was 8 and never looked back. It's funny, I have never taken a class, but have taught Videography at a high school and have given many lectures at film societies on the subject. I actually went to school to be a police officer. Then took a hard left. I was one of those lucky ones that was born knowing what I wanted to do!

 

Let me rather randomly pick a few films from your filmography, and I'd like you to say a few words about them:

Shadowhunters?

 

My first release. Kinda a film noir meets pulp comic. Very dark and low budget.

 



Skeleton Key and its sequels?

 

Ooh. Crazy times. Crazy fans. A lot of fun. Those films kinda made Darkstone to be what it is today.

 

The Lovecraft Chronicles?

 

A series we made to sell at cons and on the site. Cute Horror. Something a little different.

 

Alucard?

 

Retelling of Bram Stoker's Dracula in a modern esc time. More drama than my others. Loved the book and wanted to celebrate it. Plan to do a few more classics along my way!

 

Your webseries Spade?

 

To keep a pulse with the fans. Something interactive - and wanted to try out a serial.

 

Dante's Inferno?

 

A step into the weird. Still figuring that one out as we go along. Very experimental.

 

Plan 9 - and why would you choose to remake Ed Wood's most notorious film [Ed Wood bio - click here]?

 

Well. That is a very long story. To sum up, was nudged to do it. Said I would as a joke that became super real super fast. Fell in love with the idea and hope those will enjoy our take on it!

 

Any other past films of yours you'd like to talk about, any future projects you'd like to share?

 

FearFighter - A interactive video game launching on FlickSphere this month! 700 different ways to watch! http://www.facebook.com/fearfightermovie 
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Web Series based on original books! Episode 3 airs Jan 1st! http://www.facebook.com/ScaryStoriesToTellInTheDark 
Bath Salts - Another fan interactive web series airing this Jan!
So look out for those!

 

Going through your filmography, one can't help but notice that you never stray too far from horror - a genre at all dear to you, and why?

 

I love the genre. I love that an audience member when sitting down to watch a horror film is ready to believe anything. With other genres you have to really earn their belief. But in horror right out of the gate they are right there with you. Also horror always has a sub genre. Horror/Comedy, Horror/Drama, Horror/Fantasy. Rarely does one of my films just fit in one genre. Horror is very elusive.

 

What can you tell us about your company Darkstone Entertainment, and the philosophy behind it?

 

The D is kinda a home as well as a film company. We like to stay interactive with our fans as well as cast and crews. It kinda means a little more to us than you would think. From many tattoos and flags made. To me and many others Darkstone is very special. I hate to use the word 'family' since I believe it is way over-used, but that's kinda what we are.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

I like to have a fun set. Creating and the business mixed as best I can. Although I know I drive some actors crazy because I am not big on many takes. If we got it, we move on.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

Feeling lucky ?
Want to
search
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find John Johnson
at the amazons ...

USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
Find John Johnson here ...

Thailand  eThaiCD.com
Your shop for all things Thai

Something naughty ?
(Must be over 18 to go there !)

x-rated  find John Johnson at adultvideouniverse.com

Anthony Hickox, Sam Raimi, and John Landis.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Ridley Scott's Legeng, Larry Bishop's Mad Dog Time, and Sam Raimi's Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

I will put a disclaimer that I don't think they are bad films, I am just not a fan. Twilight, Hope Floats, and the new Batman-Trilogy.

 

Your website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

www.facebook.com/groups/darkstoneentertainment/
www.plan9movie.com
www.darkstone-ent.com

 

Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Hmmm. I love Boobs and Cheeseburgers. They make me happy.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

You're most certainly welcome!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

Jetzt kaufen bei
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