Joe Johnston will receive credit as director for the forthcoming Disney film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Disney is bringing back the timeless Christmas story for an early November release, starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Mackenzie Foy as Clara.
The story of The Nutcracker has had many iterations over the years. Originally entitled The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, the story was written in 1816 by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann. However, the most popular version of the holiday story is The Nutcracker ballet. A two-act ballet, it was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The ballet premiered in December 1892 and has retained popularity ever since. Disney's new adaptation of the story, written by Ashleigh Powell and Simon Beaufoy, is directed by Lasse Hallström... and Joe Johnston.
As reported by THR, the Director's Guild of America (DGA) is making an exception to its usual rule and granting director credit to both Hallström and Johnston. The DGA has consistently allowed only one director credit, with the exception of established teams, like Joel and Ethan Coen, Joe and Anthony Russo, and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, for example. The criteria for determining director credit is the amount of time the director commits to the project for pre-production, shooting, and post-production. In the case of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Johnston filled the role of director during a 32-day reshoot when Hallström was unavailable, which was enough to earn him final credit. In a statement, Johnston said:
"I watched an early cut of The Nutcracker and The Four Realms, and I saw something unique and fresh. When I was asked to direct the remaining elements, I saw an opportunity to complete Lasse's wonderful and wildly inventive vision. I know we'll both be proud of the end result."
It seems that both directors are happy with the outcome. Discussing the recent decision, Hallström expressed elation, saying, “It was an absolute blessing to have Joe Johnston step in when it became clear that I wouldn’t be available for reshoots. Joe is the ultimate expert in visual effects and I enjoyed collaborating with him on this film." Hallström's background comes from dramas such as What's Eating Gilbert Grape and Cider House Rules, whereas Johnston comes from a very technical, visual effects based background, having gotten his start in filmmaking by working for Lucasfilm's visual effects department on the original Star Wars movies.
With both directors viewing the outcome in a more than positive light, it will be a real treat for fans of both filmmakers to see their names when the credits roll. Hallström's name will be first on the title card and Johnston's will follow. Still, the order doesn't seem to matter to either director. The DGA can be strict on their rules, and notably has granted Bryan Singer the sole director credit for Bohemian Rhapsody even when Dexter Fletcher shot 16 days following Singer's exit. But the positive partnership between Hallström and Johnston has paid off in each of their favor. Fans can see the final product when The Nutcracker and the Four Realms hits theaters later this year.
- The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) release date: Nov 02, 2018