Disney has hired Joe Johnston to step in for Lasse Hallstrom to direct the reshoots for the holiday fantasy The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Johnston has had quite a storied history in Hollywood, beginning his film career as an effects illustrator and designer working for the miniature and optical effects unit on the original Star Wars in 1977. Destined for the director’s chair, Johnston’s feature film debut came at the helm of Disney’s blockbuster fantasy Honey, I Shrunk the Kids! in 1989, and followed up with another film at the studio with The Rocketeer in 1991.
Since then, Johnston has amassed a pretty impressive resume, ranging from Jumanji, October Sky and Jurassic Park III to The Wolfman and Captain America: The First Avenger. Now, in an unexpected move, Disney is bringing Johnston back to the studio to help with one of its big movie offerings for the 2018 holiday season.
According to THR, Johnston will direct the reshoots for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms for Hallstrom. Insiders told THR the original director was unavailable to do reshoots for the film because of scheduling issues, and Hallstrom confirmed to the publication that he would be absent for the reshoots, saying of Johnston: “The film is in very good hands in London while I’m away. I will return to post production after the holidays.”
There’s no reason to believe that The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is in any sort of trouble because of the sudden move. For one, Hallstrom – a gifted director whose credits include What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Chocolat, The Cider House Rules, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and most recently, A Dog’s Purpose – is returning to finish up the film, which certainly wouldn’t be happening if Disney was unhappy with him. Secondly, an equally gifted filmmaker in Johnston is stepping in at a crucial time to ensure the production maintains a high standard of quality.
Johnston certainly is walking into a top-notch production, which stars Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and MacKenzie Foy (Interstellar); and on top of that, sources tell THR, the 32 days of reshoots will include material written by Oscar-winning Spotlight screenwriter Tom McCarthy. Johnston will most certainly fit the reshoots in before he begins his work full-throttle this coming winter on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, which the director says will be his last film.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, based on the classic ballet by author E.T.A. Hoffmann and Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, is pegged for a November 2018 release. In the film, Foy plays Clara, a young girl who is pulled into a fantasy world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice. Knightley plays the Sugar Plum Fairy, while Mirren assumes the role of Mother Ginger.
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