Wednesday, March 10, 2021


"Who would’ve thought a seven-year-old boy hanging out in a car wash would have all of his dreams come true from a car named Eleanor?" It's a sharp paragraph, telling us from a single and unique experience emerged a style of life, a dream, and due a huge effort that it came true. Those words came from a passionate filmmaker: JOHNNY MARTIN, commencing the journey in the film industry as a stuntman (Chief) and with a vast films over his shoulders. I had the chance to talk with a man that can boasts to has directed oscar winning actors such as: Nicholas Cage and Al Pacino, a dream that many directors hasn't donde yet. But that is not his major achievement, is his movies: DELIRIUM, VENGEANCE: A LOVE STORY, HANGMAN and the one brings us here in this chat ALONE. This movie featured a young that has to faced the outbreak of a mysterious pandemic staying stranded in his apartment, facing it alone. If you wanna the speech and advices of a tremendous director, please stay and take a look iof this interiew.

EFF: Let me thank you for letting me interview you. Let's commence with a simple question. Where are you from?

JM: San Leandro Ca.

EFF: How did you get into this filmmaking world?

JM: I fulfilled my dream by regularly visiting my neighborhood car wash. I was a seven-year-old boy who loved two things, cars and movies. I bicycled to the car wash nearby my house, every day, in hopes for a great hot rod to pull up. One day a truck towing a car came driving in, and never would I have realized this would be the day that would change my life forever. Behind this truck, was a smashed up yellow mustang. Just as I got closer to it, a man came out of the truck. I knew the first moment I saw him, that he was someone special. I pedaled up to him and asked him what happen to his car? The man replied to me, “This is not JUST a car, her name is Eleanor and she’s a movie star, and my name is HB Halicki and I am a director, producer, actor, stuntman and a screen writer. Eleanor and I just finished a movie called “Gone in 60 Seconds." Me and HB sat there for many hours when I finally mustered up the courage to tell HB that me too, wanted to do THAT for a living. HB then took out a shirt and signed it and when He handed it to me and he said, “When you turn 18 kid, look me up and I’ll help you.” And that’s how my career began.

When I turned 18, I fled to Hollywood and began working as a stuntman and stunt coordinator, but I wanted more. One day I received a call from Mr. Jerry Bruckheimer. He asked me if I wanted to do one more movie as the stunt coordinator. I asked what was the movie? With a long pause, Jerry said, "The movie is called “Gone in 60 Seconds” with Nicholas Cage." It was like HB Hailicki was up in heaven watching over me and gave me this gift. I won an award for “Best Stunt Coordinator of the Year” for this movie. After that, I knew I could do anything I put my mind to with hard work and perseverance.

The first movie I produced become the Syfy movie of the year andI continued to produce award winning movies, eventually leading to producing high value movies for China Film Group (CFG); all of the movies were profitable. But I was unfulfilled, the coveted director role was my definitive prize.
Jhonny Martin and Nicholas Cage
Johnny Martin and Al Pacino

EFF: So, When and how did you establish that director role had to be done?

JM: With a $250,000 budget, that my high school buddies all contributed the horror film “Delirium” was born, shooting in an old house me and my pals used to sneak into when we were kids. "Delirium" went on to win several awards at film festivals and gave me the chance to showcase my directorial skills. This led me an opportunity to direct academy award winning actor, Nicolas Cage for “Vengeance: A Love Story.” Because of their affiliation from “Gone in 60 Seconds,” Nicholas and me remained close friends. Although Nic was originally going to direct and star in this movie, he realized due to schedule demands, he would not be able to direct the movie. only star in it. He asked me to step in, but not without the landmines of the Director’s Guild and attorneys to sort out the new director position.

Patriot Pictures then asked me to meet with the iconic Al Pacino, to shoot a movie titled “Hangman”. Mr. Pacino and me connected so well, that Mr. Pacino now refers to me as one of his own children. While shooting “hangman,” I received a call from a distributor who wanted to release the movie “Delirium” in theaters. I would never imagine that a movie made on a shoestring budget with lifelong friends, would receive this type of accolades and visibility. When “hangman” finished production, Johnny came back to Los Angeles working side-by-side with the great Mr. Pacino and delivered an exceptional movie.

Who would’ve thought a seven-year-old boy hanging out in a car wash would have all of his dreams come true from a car named “Eleanor?"

Delirium (2018) 
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EFF: I would like to talk with you about your whole career but now I want to focus on your last film "Alone" Starred by Tyler Posey and Donald Sutherland and produced by you, too. How did start the project? How did you get involved in? Why did you accept to direct it?

JM: Found the script when I was directing texas chain saw 3d. I tried to get the option for 8 years.  It finally came available. This was always one I wanted to direct. I got invited to Bali to talk about film funding and was able to raise the money through many investors there. We did not raise as much as I hoped but still wanted to try to pull this film off. I was the sole producer so when I had done directing I had to deal with budget issues and crew problems. It was one of the hardest films.  But when you are in their middle of shooting your mind just goes to that story and it still becomes one of the best memories you will ever have.

Alone (2020) 
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EFF : How long took to shoot it? What cameras did you use in the film and why?

JM: 21 days to shoot the film, I shot on the Alexa. I used that camera for darker mood films. Because the camera can shoot with low light and for digital keeps all the memory of the shot. Blacks are blacks but you see the image.

Alone shots

EFF: Ok, now you accepted to shoot it. What influences did you use in order to shoot the films, maybe any shot was inspired by any movie?

JM: I wanted it to always to have a futuristic tone of Alfred Hitchcock’s style Rear Window.  A shot that allows you to find what the actor is thinking about just by his stare and how his body is and even where he is in the room. Don't rush an emotion!

EFF: How much was the budget and what problems you had to beat in during the making of?

JM: Tyler could only shoot in La and I was planning going to Malaysia where it was much cheaper because our funding came from there.  We raised 1.7 mil. But the money only came in a few weeks at a time, schedules were changing, still trying to lock in Donald Sutherland 2 weeks into shooting and doing rewrites with him as I am directing at night and producing in the day and fighting a budget that is now 1/3 more expensive.  

Alone trailer

EFF: How to get a movie whose story elapses into an apartment most of its time keep a natural and entertaining flow?

JM: The key is angles. Every angle can represent a feeling the character goes through. When Aidan was scared, he sat on the ground. When Aidan wanted to kill himself he laid in bed and drank. But when Aidan was fired up he paced the room and that opens up the film. In addition, of course lighting to the mood the character is in, like with reflections to add to a tighter shot

EFF: How has been the audience response upon the movie?

JM: It’s Been very good. Especially to the people that got what I wanted this film to be. It was about a pandemic and these people were alive and going out of there mind. Not a zombie film. This film I just wanted the audience to feel what if this really happened to me!!!

EFF: What new projects you are working on now, something you can anticipate us now?

JM: Out to casting on my film rigged about a bomber who hold hostages in an elevator but not for the reason the police think and casting pursuit. My version of a modern day Spielbergs "duel". 
Johnny Martin on making of "Alone"

EFF: What advice would you give for those want-to-be filmmakers who are undecided in how to make their first film?

JM: Study, study and create a style that has yet to be done so many times before but don't be so much it distracts away from the story. Chot as much as you can learn the camera. But now the biggest advice: Be your own business learn producing so you know everything they do at all times to protect your film. I produce all my films so I can have all the information and know what I can do before it happens. Learn the market know what sells and who sells best (costs and distribution) for all 350 territories around the world.

EFF: If a producer would give you a chance to direct a remake of a horror film, what would it be and why?

JM: Phantasm or hannibal lector. Loved my 80's horror and I grew up where the film was shoot at. My first film I directed and produce delirium was at that location. I did that film for 200k just to have the best resume I can by having a made film.

EFF: Something you would like to say?

JM: Films are forever when you make a film you should know it will live alot longer than you will live. So make yourself proud and give a film all you have so you great grandkids can see who you were and what they can become.

**Johnny Martin's | Imdb | Twitter |  **

Alone (2020) 
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