Rian Johnson
Rian Craig Johnson is an American writer and director, who won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival that takes place annually in Utah, in the United States. It is the largest independent cinema festival in the United States. Held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort, the festival is a showcase for new...

 with his debut feature, Brick.


Johnson was born in Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

. He was raised in San Clemente, California
San Clemente, California
San Clemente is a city in Orange County, California. The population was 63,522 at the 2010 census. Located on the California Coast, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego at the southern tip of the county, it is known for its ocean, hill, and mountain views, a pleasant climate and its Spanish...

, and attended the high school where Brick was predominantly filmed. He then attended the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

 and graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts
USC School of Cinematic Arts
The USC School of Cinematic Arts, until 2006 named the School of Cinema-Television , is a film school within the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. It is the oldest and largest such school in the United States, established in 1929 as a joint venture with the Academy of...

 in 1996.

Johnson's film career, as told to Robert K. Elder
Robert K. Elder
Robert K. Elder is an American journalist, author and film columnist.- Early life and education :A Montana native, Elder interviewed Ken Kesey for his high school newspaper. The author encouraged Elder to attend his alma mater, the University of Oregon, which Elder did two years later...

, author of The Film That Changed My Life
The Film That Changed My Life
The Film That Changed My Life is a non-fiction collection of interviews compiled by American journalist, author and film columnist Robert K. Elder...

was largely inspired by Annie Hall
Annie Hall
Annie Hall is a 1977 American romantic comedy directed by Woody Allen from a screenplay co-written with Marshall Brickman and co-starring Diane Keaton. One of Allen's most popular and most honored films, it won four Academy Awards including Best Picture...

, "a film that broke so many rules in terms of film narrative":

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.

In addition to his film work, Johnson is also a folk singer and banjo
In the 1830s Sweeney became the first white man to play the banjo on stage. His version of the instrument replaced the gourd with a drum-like sound box and included four full-length strings alongside a short fifth-string. There is no proof, however, that Sweeney invented either innovation. This new...

ist. Some of his songs can be found on his website.

His brother is well-known music producer Aaron Johnson
Aaron Johnson (musician)
Aaron Howard Johnson is an American music producer. Aaron has produced and mixed many artists including Secondhand Serenade, Katie Herzig, and Eve6, but he is best known for being the producer of the Denver-based piano rock band The Fray....

. His cousin, Nathan Johnson
Nathan Johnson (musician)
Nathan Tyler Johnson is a film composer, songwriter and music producer.He was born in Washington, DC in 1976 and grew up in Colorado. After living in England in the mid-2000s, Johnson relocated to the East coast of the U.S. where he launched a live touring project with his band, The Cinematic...

, composed the score for Brick and The Brothers Bloom. Rian 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 relating to Rian's films.


Made for just under $500,000, Brick
Brick (film)
Brick is a 2005 American neo-noir film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It was Johnson's directorial debut and won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival...

is a crime drama starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt is an American actor whose career as both a child and adult has included television series and theatrical films....

. Johnson has often said that he looked to the novels of Dashiell Hammett
Dashiell Hammett
Samuel Dashiell Hammett was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories, and political activist. Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade , Nick and Nora Charles , and the Continental Op .In addition to the significant influence his novels and stories had on...

 as inspiration for the film's unique use of language. While the film is classified as a film noir
Film noir
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...

, Johnson claims that during production no references were made to film noir so as to focus the production away from reproducing a genre piece. Brick was released on DVD by Focus Features
Focus Features
Focus Features is the art house films division of NBC Universal's Universal Pictures, and acts as both a producer and distributor for its own films and a distributor for foreign films....


The Brothers Bloom

The Brothers Bloom
The Brothers Bloom
The Brothers Bloom is a 2008 American postmodern caper film written and directed by Rian Johnson. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz, Ricky Jay, Rinko Kikuchi, and Robbie Coltrane...

, Johnson's second film, is a con-man story starring Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo
Mark Alan Ruffalo is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter. He starred in films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Zodiac, Shutter Island, Just Like Heaven, You Can Count on Me and The Kids Are All Right for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best...

, Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody is an American actor and film producer. He received widespread recognition and acclaim after starring in Roman Polanski's The Pianist . Winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003 at age 29, he is the youngest actor to do so...

, Rachel Weisz
Rachel Weisz
Rachel Hannah Weisz born 7 March 1970)is an English-American film and theatre actress and former fashion model. She started her acting career at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where she co-founded the theatrical group Cambridge Talking Tongues...

, and Rinko Kikuchi
Rinko Kikuchi
, born , January 6, 1981, is a Japanese actress. Kikuchi is the first Japanese actress to be nominated for an Academy Award in 50 years. She is currently Japan's only living female Academy Award nominee in acting categories...

. The Brothers Bloom was released in theaters in May 2009, and later on DVD by Summit Entertainment
Summit Entertainment
Summit Entertainment LLC is an independent film studio headquartered in Santa Monica, California with international offices in London.-History:...



Looper (film)
Looper is an upcoming American science-fiction film directed by Rian Johnson. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt. Filming began in Louisiana on January 24, 2011...

, Johnson's third film, began shooting in Louisiana on January 24, 2011 and is currently in production. Set in the near future, it has been described as dark sci-fi, and involves hitmen that are sent their victims from the future. The film will star Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis
Walter Bruce Willis , better known as Bruce Willis, is an American actor, producer, and musician. His career began in television in the 1980s and has continued both in television and film since, including comedic, dramatic, and action roles...

, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt is an American actor whose career as both a child and adult has included television series and theatrical films....

, Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt
Emily Olivia Leah Blunt is an English actress best known for her roles in The Devil Wears Prada , The Young Victoria , and The Adjustment Bureau . She has been nominated for two Golden Globe Awards, two London Film Critics' Circle Awards, and one BAFTA Award...

, and Paul Dano
Paul Dano
Paul Franklin Dano is an American actor and producer. He has appeared in films such as L.I.E. , The Girl Next Door , Little Miss Sunshine , There Will Be Blood , and Where the Wild Things Are .-Early life:Dano was born in New York City, the son of Gladys and Paul Dano...


Other projects

Johnson directed the video for The Mountain Goats
The Mountain Goats
The Mountain Goats is an American indie rock band formed in Claremont, CA by singer-songwriter John Darnielle. For many years, the sole member of the Mountain Goats was Darnielle himself, despite the plural moniker....

' 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
John Darnielle
John Darnielle is an American musician, best known as the primary member of the American band The Mountain Goats, for which he is the writer, composer, guitarist, and vocalist.-Places Darnielle has lived:...

 noticed a reference to them in the credits for Brick
Brick (film)
Brick is a 2005 American neo-noir film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It was Johnson's directorial debut and won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival...

: 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
Record Store Day
Record Store Day is an internationally celebrated day observed the third Saturday of April each year. Its purpose, as conceived by independent record store employee Chris Brown, is to celebrate the art of music...

 (April 17, 2010).

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
Buster Keaton
Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton was an American comic actor, filmmaker, producer and writer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face".Keaton was recognized as the...

-esque silent film he made in college. After working with Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt is an American actor whose career as both a child and adult has included television series and theatrical films....

 on Brick, the two shot a short film in Paris 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 show Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad is an American television drama series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. Set and produced in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Breaking Bad is the story of Walter White , a struggling high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with advanced lung cancer at the beginning of the series...

for its third season. This is notable in that it is his first time professionally directing a script he did not write, which he has stated many times he had no interest in when it came to film.

Johnson has also directed an episode of TV show Terriers
Terriers (TV series)
Terriers is an American crime comedy-drama television series created by Ted Griffin for FX. It premiered on September 8, 2010. The show was canceled by FX on December 6, 2010 after the first season.-Premise:...

that aired during its first season.

External links

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