Johnson in 2017
Rian Craig Johnson|
December 17, 1973
Silver Spring, Maryland, US
|Alma mater||USC School of Cinematic Arts|
Aaron Johnson (brother)|
Nathan Johnson (cousin)
He is also notable for directing three episodes of the AMC crime drama television series Breaking Bad: "Fly", "Fifty-One" and "Ozymandias". Both "Fifty-One" and "Ozymandias" have received universal praise, and are considered to be among the series' best episodes. For his work on "Fifty-One", Johnson won the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Drama Series in 2013.
Johnson was born in Silver Spring, Maryland. He grew up in Denver, Colorado and was raised in San Clemente, California since he was in sixth grade. He later attended San Clemente High School (graduating in 1992), where Brick was predominantly filmed. He attended the University of Southern California and graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 1996. Johnson's first short film, Evil Demon Golfball from Hell!!!, which is loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart", was included as an easter egg on the Looper Blu-ray.
Johnson's film career, as told to Robert K. Elder, author of The Film That Changed My Life, was largely inspired by Annie Hall, a film that he said "broke so many rules in terms of film narrative." He stated: "It moved me in a way that very few other films have moved me. That's something that, I pray to God, if I am able to keep making movies, I can only hope, twenty years down the line maybe, I'll be able to approach."
His debut film, made for just under $500,000, Brick is a crime drama. Johnson has often said that he looked to the novels of Dashiell Hammett as inspiration for the film's unique use of language. While the film is classified as a film noir, Johnson claims that no references were made to film noir during production, so as to focus the production away from reproducing a genre piece. Brick was released on DVD by Focus Features.
Johnson directed the video for The Mountain Goats' song "Woke Up New" in 2006. He is a professed fan of the band, and was asked to direct the video when bandleader John Darnielle noticed a reference to them in the credits for Brick. A song is credited to "The Hospital Bombers Experience", which is a reference to the Mountain Goats song titled "The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton". Johnson also directed a live performance film of the Mountain Goats' 2009 album The Life of the World to Come. The film consists of a single shot, depicting Darnielle performing the entire album on guitar and piano with minimal accompaniment. This film was screened in New York City, Chicago, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon upon its completion, and was released as a limited edition DVD on Record Store Day (April 17, 2010).
Johnson's third film, Looper, began shooting in Louisiana on January 24, 2011 and was released on September 28, 2012 by TriStar Pictures and FilmDistrict. Set in the near future, it has been described as dark science fiction, and involves hitmen whose victims are sent from the future. The film opened the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2012 Palo Alto International Film Festival. Looper was a surprise success at the box office.
Johnson has made a number of short films, some of which are available on his website. His short film from high school titled Ninja Ko is available as an easter egg on the Brick DVD. The Brothers Bloom DVD features a short, Buster Keaton-esque silent film he made in college. After working with Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Brick, the two shot a short film in Paris, France titled Escargots. In 2002, he directed a short film titled The Psychology of Dream Analysis, which is available to view on his Vimeo account.
In March 2010, Johnson announced on his website that he was directing an episode of the TV series Breaking Bad for its third season. The episode, "Fly", aired on May 23, 2010. Johnson later directed a second episode of the show, "Fifty-One", which aired on August 5, 2012, and earned him a Directors Guild of America Award. He directed a third episode of the show, "Ozymandias", which quickly became widely considered as one of the greatest episodes of television ever aired.
On March 12, 2015, Johnson confirmed that he would write and direct Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which began filming in September 2015, and was released on December 15, 2017. On June 20, 2014, Johnson was reported to be in talks to write a treatment for Star Wars Episode IX, though he is no longer involved with the film. On November 9, 2017, it was announced that Johnson will create a new Star Wars trilogy to be set in a different corner of the Star Wars universe, the first film of which he is to write and direct.
Aside from filmmaking, Johnson is a folk singer and banjo player, and some of his songs can be found on his website. His brother is music producer Aaron Johnson. His cousin, Nathan Johnson, composed the score for Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and Looper. Johnson and Nathan make up a folk duo called The Preserves. Other cousins, including Zachary and Marke Johnson, have been involved in design and illustration work for Johnson's films.
|2008||The Brothers Bloom||Yes||Yes||No|
|2016||Rogue One: A Star Wars Story||No||No||Actor||Imperial Technician|
|2017||Star Wars: The Last Jedi||Yes||Yes||No|
|2014||HitRecord on TV||No||Writer||"RE: Trash"|
|2015||BoJack Horseman||No||Actor||"Yes, And"||Bryan (voice)|
|No||Actor||"Out to Sea"|
|1996||Evil Demon Golfball from Hell!!!||Yes||Yes||Editor|
|1997||Greater Than a Tiger||No||No||Editor|
|2001||Ben Boyer and the Phenomenology of Automobile Marketing||Yes||No||No|
|2002||The Psychology of Dream Analysis||Yes||Yes||No|
|2008||The Mountain Goats: Woke Up New||Yes||No||No||Music video|
|2005||Brick||Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision||Won|
|Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize||Nominated|
|2006||BIFA Award for Best Foreign Independent Film||Won|
|Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay||Won|
|Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Overlooked Film||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Director||Won|
|Citizen Kane Award for Best Directorial Revelation||Won|
|Deauville Film Festival Grand Special Prize||Won|
|San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Filmmaker||Nominated|
|2007||Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer||Nominated|
|2012||Looper||Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay||Won|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Original Screenplay||Won|
|Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)||Nominated|
|Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Screenplay||Won|
|National Board of Review Award for Best Original Screenplay||Won|
|Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay||Won|
|Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|2013||Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|Saturn Award for Best Director||Nominated|
|Breaking Bad||Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Drama Series
|2018||Star Wars: The Last Jedi||Empire Award for Best Director||Won|
|Saturn Award for Best Director||Nominated|
|Saturn Award for Best Writing||Won|
|Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)||Pending|
|Circuit Community Awards for Honorable Mentions||Won|
|Denver Film Critics Society for Best Adapted Screenplay||Nominated|
Ms. Longworth said, at the house in the Los Feliz neighborhood that she rents here with her boyfriend of five years, the director Rian Johnson ("Looper").
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