JOHNNY MNEMONIC (Robert Longo, 1995)

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Re: JOHNNY MNEMONIC (Robert Longo, 1995)

Postby Jox on 29 Dec 2021, 12:05

Before The Matrix, Johnny Mnemonic and Hackers led the internet movies of the '90s
https://www.cnet.com/news/hackers-25-jo ... -internet/

Meanwhile a rival production in Canada was having the opposite experience. Visual artist and music video director Robert Longo dreamed of a black-and-white arthouse film based on William Gibson's short story Johnny Mnemonic, about a courier who uploads digital files into an implant in his brain. Gibson wrote the script, but despite his success as bestselling author of cyberpunk novels like Neuromancer -- in which he coined the term "cyberspace" -- it proved difficult to raise the $1 million they needed. "You're not asking for enough money," Gibson told Longo, and eventually Sony's Tristar studio financed a bigger production with Val Kilmer in the lead role. Keanu Reeves took over after Kilmer dropped out. But when Speed boosted him into an action superstar, Tristar began to see the film as a popcorn summer blockbuster.

The suits imposed reshoots, complaining the action wasn't being taken seriously and the footage was too dark. Longo also had to employ guerrilla filmmaking tactics on his own set, moving the camera himself when the crew was at lunch so he could get the shot he wanted. Speaking on the phone from New York, Longo's memories are peppered with entertaining asides about who was "evil," "a dick," "an idiot" or "a fucking idiot."

"I had a lot of great people working with me, don't get me wrong," says Longo. He fondly recalls executive producer Staffan Ahrenberg, who helped get the movie rolling, and production designer Nilo Rodis-Jamero, who developed the film's riotously imaginative aesthetic. But the movie was ultimately taken out of Longo's hands and re-edited to compete at the summer box office against Braveheart, Die Hard with a Vengeance and Batman Forever (the one with Val Kilmer).

"I would say maybe 55% of the film I'm happy with," sighs Longo.

It might be a mess, but you can't say Johnny Mnemonic is short on ideas. The eclectic cast includes: rapper Ice-T and punk rocker Henry Rollins; Japanese icon Takeshi Kitano in a rare (mostly) English-language role; Dolph Lundgren dressed like Jesus; and an ex-military dolphin that reads minds. What's not to love?

Gibson drew from across his books and stories to posit a nightmarish near-future of "terminal capitalism," plagued by cut-throat corporations and unregulated body modifications. One of the film's big themes is addiction to technology, and Longo compares Johnny Mnemonic's "parasitic" brain implants to today's smartphones that feel to us like a phantom limb. As Henry Rollins' character says in the film: "Electronics around you poisoning the airwaves... But we still have all this shit, because we can't live without it!"
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Re: JOHNNY MNEMONIC (Robert Longo, 1995)

Postby Jox on 05 Jan 2022, 21:42

Robert Longo's black and white version has actually been available on iTunes & Apple TV since December 23 (US)!
https://mobile.twitter.com/SonyPicsHome ... 3448187938
https://www.facebook.com/sonypicturesho ... 5534937638
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Plug into all-new digital extras, including an alternate black & white version of the film - #JohnnyMnemonic is Now on Digital: https://bit.ly/MnemonicExtras

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Includes a 25 minutes conversation with Keanu Reeves, Robert Longo and William Gibson

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