Some may call him a pioneer of dark and gritty comic book films. Others might say he’s the worst friend Marvel Studios could have. Either way, Mark Steven Johnson has certainly made his mark on Hollywood. In 2003 he directed and co-wrote the screenplay for Daredevil, based on the eponymous Marvel character. Interestingly, Johnson appeared in Kevin Smith’s 2001 comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back pretending to direct a Daredevil movie. A few years later, he was actually hired by Twentieth Century Fox to direct Daredevil. Smith wrote several issues of Daredevil comics for Marvel in 1999 and had a cameo role in Johnson’s Daredevil. Ben Affleck, who starred in Daredevil, co-starred in Jay and Silent Bob. These fateful coincidences notwithstanding, the film opened to mixed reviews. In 2005, Johnson was the executive producer for the spinoff film Elektra (based on the Marvel character created by #7 Frank Miller), for which he also wrote an early draft script. Reviews for this film were awful, and Rotten Tomatoes ranked it the second worst reviewed comic book movie of all time. Did Johnson find redemption in 2007’s Ghost Rider (produced by #22 Michael De Luca with executive producer #5 David S. Goyer), which he directed and for which he wrote the screen story and screenplay? It depends on who you ask. It didn’t completely flop at the box office, and it got slightly better critical reviews than Elektra, but that’s not saying much. Despite these misfires, Johnson is set to direct a possible Daredevil II and co-write the screenplay for a film based on Marvel’s Luke Cage, but release dates have not yet been issued for these films. Johnson is currently involved as executive producer and writer for a television adaptation of Garth Ennis’ Preacher for HBO.
Influence Meter: ++++