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'Ghost Rider' Helmer Mark Steven Johnson Somehow Still Getting Work, Attached To Direct 'Autobahn'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist August 4, 2011 at 1:25AM

There are many, many bad directors who keep somehow finding big movies to direct: McG, Brett Ratner, Scott Stewart. But one of the most baffling is Mark Steven Johnson. The rare example of a filmmaker who seems to get worse rather than better, he started off, after penning the likes of "Grumpy Old Men" and "Jack Frost," by directing the sickly "Simon Birch." He then landed the big job of helming Fox's "Daredevil" -- no great shakes, but "Hiroshima Mon Amour" compared to his next superhero flick, "Ghost Rider." Last year, he proved there was no genre that he couldn't suck at by being the man behind the joyless, lifeless Kristen Bell rom-com "When In Rome."
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There are many, many bad directors who keep somehow finding big movies to direct: McG, Brett Ratner, Scott Stewart. But one of the most baffling is Mark Steven Johnson. The rare example of a filmmaker who seems to get worse rather than better, he started off, after penning the likes of "Grumpy Old Men" and "Jack Frost," by directing the sickly "Simon Birch." He then landed the big job of helming Fox's "Daredevil" -- no great shakes, but "Hiroshima Mon Amour" compared to his next superhero flick, "Ghost Rider." Last year, he proved there was no genre that he couldn't suck at by being the man behind the joyless, lifeless Kristen Bell rom-com "When In Rome."

Somehow, however, the offers keep rolling in, and Heat Vision report that the helmer is now attached to the Euro-thriller "Autobahn," which involves, and we're not fucking with you, an ex-Formula One driver who wakes up inside a BMW on the German no-speed-limit motorway of the title, and told he has 90 minutes to deliver a bomb or his family will be murdered. Five will get you ten that at some point during the pitching process, the phrase " 'Speed' meets 'Taken' '' was mentioned.

The script comes from rising writer Greg Russo, and Inferno Entertainment are backing the film, having moved the setting to Germany, and changing the title from "I-95," to better appeal to an international audience. Remarkably, Nicolas Cage isn't already attached, with the company hoping to cast a star before selling distribution rights at the American Film Market in November. So there's still time for that happen.

In the right hands, we suppose this could be frills-free fun, but Johnson is definitely not the right hands, for this or really any other movie. Still, it's happening, and maybe it'll be a good excuse to put some Kraftwerk on the soundtrack...

This article is related to: Films, Mark Steven Johnson, Collide


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