Joe Johnston Compares ‘Captain America’ Experience to ‘The Wolfman’

Published 4 years ago by

captain america joe johnston Joe Johnston Compares Captain America Experience to The Wolfman

When director Joe Johnston was announced as the official selection by Marvel Studios to helm what may be the most important Marvel Studios solo character film in Captain America: The First Avenger, there was some concern and trepidation. Sure, Johnston brought us highly respected October Sky and worked on films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars: The Empire Strike Back, but he also directed Jurassic Park 3 and more recently, The Wolfman.

The Wolfman was a critical and box office flop. It had a stellar cast and a well known film title, but despite that it was plagued with production issues and other delays, and when it eventually opened in theaters it was not able to earn its production budget back. If The Wolfman is why you may be worried about Captain America, don’t. Working with Marvel Studios was an entirely different experience and Johnston explains why below.

Comic Book Movie has the exclusive and posed one question for Captain America director: What are his feelings on the project?

Below is Johnston’s lengthy and detailed response which delves into the nightmarish mess that was The Wolfman. Fans of the Star-Spangled Avenger will be pleased to read:

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. “

It’s difficult to pass all of the blame of The Wolfman on its director, a director who joined the project at the last minute for financial reasons. We can appreciate that he takes responsibility for the film not meeting all expectations – and he should – but when it’s purely a job and not a creative venture, let alone a good experience, that cannot bode well for any major film project.

Captain American Comic Con Poster Joe Johnston Compares Captain America Experience to The Wolfman

Johnston continued to express how fortunate he is to work on a project with so many things going for it, especially the talent involved at all levels of the production.

“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.”

We can only hope that this translates into Marvel’s best film yet. Things are looking good and the buzz is highly positive for Thor, but Marvel needs their superhero leader to steal the show in order to drive their long term plans with sequels and certainly The Avengers. We should be seeing the first trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger soon, so stay tuned!

The First Avenger: Captain America hits July 22, 2011 and The Avengers is scheduled to debut May 4, 2012.

Share your thoughts in the comments and with us on Twitter @rob_keyes and @screenrant.

Source: CBM

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  1. I’m still really excited about this film despite how much THE WOLFMAN sucked.

  2. I enjoyed The Wolfman a lot

  3. Excited for this more than Thor, but both will be epic.

  4. Sounds good, sounds good. Making me look forward to the film even more.

  5. I really liked the Wolfman. Being a fan of the original film, I thought they did a really good job of updating it. There were scenes that were straight out of the original but looked outstanding.
    As far as Cap goes, I think we will get our first peek at him during the Superbowl. I will be surprised if we don’t.

    • Yeah, weird to me reading his comments about The Wolfman because I actually enjoyed it and gave it a good review.


    • I liked The Wolfman too, I like period horror like that, Hugo Weaving was brilliant in that film and he clearly liked working with Johnson as he’s back in CA.

    • You know Vic and DSB… here is the problem as I see it. Werewolves are just about played out. Film makers have been making movies and TV shows about them since this movie originally came out. The problem is that the newer Weres look really, really good. If you pit this version against something like Underworld, it just looks almost comical. What made this movie fun for me is the fact that they kept him old school. When I was a kid, Lon Chaney scared the crap out of me. Most of that is because that was the first Werewolf that I had ever seen. Now there are a multitude of extremely intense, very scary Werewolves. So there is no doubt that a lot of people just kinda went, eh… What a big underbite you have grandpa. :)
      On a side note. Do either of you remember a Werewolf TV show from the late 80′s, possibly early 90′s? I can’t remember the name of it. I just remember that when he changed a pentagram would come up on his hand and would start bleeding. Talk about a show that scared the crap out of me.

      • Nope, don’t recall any show like that.


        • That show was called “Werewolf”. It was quite good for a TV series at the time.

  6. Nice to read such a statement from a director.

    • agreed. he really seems to have taken a lot away from his wolfman experience, which sounds like a good thing now.

  7. Hey I loved the Rocketeer, so I got faith in Joe. I can’t freaking wait to see Cap diving sheild first through an entire squad of gestappo soldiers! AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

  8. “Money is always the wrong reason for doing something that requires passionate devotion.”

    i love his honesty about everything, that line says so much about him, it alone is the reason i’ll be watching capt america.
    hollywood should take it (the line) into consideration when greenlighting a re-make/prequel/sequel/re-boot.

  9. I didn’t see the Wolfman, though, but I did see Jurassic Park 3, and the less said about that, the better.

    Either way, so far this is looking good, and I’ll definitely give it a fair chance.

    • Tea Leoni was the wrong choice.

    • I actually thought Jurassic Park 3 was quite entertaining and fun. Jurassic Park 2 was just so awful that returning to the island was welcome.

  10. A film maker should always be proud of all his movies-even the flops.Its like telling your buddies how much your ex stank.,-shouldn’t do it.Dis’loyalty is immature,,I was looking forward to Chris’ new gig.

  11. Aw, come on, Joe, The Wolfman wasn’t THAT bad…it wasn’t the original but it wasn’t bad…

  12. I freakin love The Rocketeer!!!!!!!!! It’s amazing in every way. It’s up there with Indiana Jones and Star Wars for me.

  13. If all he had was three weeks prep time and turned in “The Wolfman”, imagine having 30 weeks, an awesome crew, cast, and production team? Of course this movie will work hahahahaha……..but seriously Im worried this movie better friggin work

    • ..can you imagine,’The Adventures of America,Captain America of the Marvel Universe’.

    • No doubt. 3 wks of prep time was outstanding for the level that he put out in that movie.

      • I agree. There were a lot of great moments in that movie, with some bad ones at times. However, I thought the werewolf attack scenes were the most ferocious ever done. He definitely set a new bar.

  14. Well he also did ROCKETEER which I love

  15. I saw the set built in Manchester u.k and I have to say it looked amazing my gf and I got to walk yhrough it which I will always remember I can’t wait to see it on the big screen I hope this film is as good as I think it will be

  16. the wolf man sucked..

  17. GreaterTater, the show was called WEREWOLF…it aired on Fox and was one of the first shows for the new network. It starred John J. York and Chuck Connors as the evil werewolf (who, in a nod to THE NIGHT STALKER, was named Janos Skorzeny). It ran for two seasons.

    • GOD I remember that Werewolf show

      Funny I just watched a few episodes on Night Stalker on Netflix streaming
      That show used to scare the crap out of me as a kid – sadly it has not aged well LOL.

      You can definitely see the limit of the budget they had back then

  18. Comparing Jurassic Park 3 to the second one, I’ll take his chapter over Spielberg’s second shot any day.I really didn’t care for JP2. There was just something ‘off’ about that movie.

    The third one wasn’t perfect but it had a lot of well done stuff in it

    When I heard he was doing Cap, I kept going back to the Rocketeer, especially being a period piece – USA circa WWII. I really feel he has the potential to knock Cap out of the park. Plus I just saw SUNSHINE and have more confidence in Evans now. He was really solid in that.

    • I agree to everything you said.

    • I too agree with everything you said.

  19. I’m kinda looking forward to this even though I still disagree with them casting Chris Evans. I’m not saying that I don’t like Chris Evans, I just think they could’ve picked someone else who has never been a superhero.

  20. ,,hek,..I’d-a done it!

  21. Hollywood types are getting more and more open about their recent flops. It’s an interesting trend – but it’s often tied to promoting their new film. “I know my last film flopped, but you can trust me that this new one is better.”

  22. This is probably the wrong place to make this comment but it has taken this long for me to finally “see” the original Lon Chaney Jr version of The Wolf Man. Anyway, long after the fact:

    The so-called critical flop was the better movie, not a perfect movie and unfortunately not particularly scarey, but a fuller story with more interesting characters than the hallmark staple, B-movie Universal fare. It is unfortunate that the project ran out of time because there were a few scenes that needed to be ironed out.

    Certainly, the extended version did improve on the cinematic release last year. It was great seeing John Gielgud offering the original Wolf Cane to Lawrence Talbot. It was great seeing Geraldine Chaplin’s short scenes. But, even there, cut scenes were missing that would have been great in the picture; the whole operetta scene have made the experience that much better had Joe been able to finish his picture right.

    Captain America was my favourite movie for 2011 though not as entertaining as Thor. So, I think Johnston did well.