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Joe Dante Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (2) | Trade Mark (9) | Trivia (13) | Personal Quotes (3) | Salary (1)

Overview (2)

Born in Morristown, New Jersey, USA
Height 5' 5½" (1.66 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Joe Dante is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art. After a stint as a film reviewer, he began his filmmaking apprenticeship in 1974 as trailer editor for Roger Corman's New World Pictures. He made his directorial debut in 1976 with Hollywood Boulevard (co-directed with Allan Arkush), a thinly disguised spoof of New World exploitation pictures, shot in ten days for $60,000.

In 1977 Dante made his solo debut as a film director with Piranha, which went on to become one of the company's biggest hits and was distributed throughout the rest of the world by United Artists. During his tenure at New World, Dante edited Ron Howard's directorial debut Grand Theft Auto (1977) and co-wrote the original story for Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979).

For Avco-Embassy Dante next directed the highly praised werewolf thriller The Howling (1981), followed by the It's a Good Life segment of the episodic Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).

Having worked with Steven Spielberg on Twilight Zone, Dante was chosen to helm one of the first Amblin Productions for Warner Bros. Gremlins (1984) became a runaway hit and grossed more than $200 million worldwide.

Dante followed up with Explorers (1985) for Paramount, a sci-fi fantasy about three kids who build their own spaceship, and then Innerspace (1987) for Guber/Peters, Amblin and Warner Bros., an action comedy in which miniaturized test pilot Dennis Quaid is injected into the body of supermarket clerk Martin Short.

Tom Hanks starred in Dante's next film for Imagine/Universal, The 'Burbs (1989), which was followed by Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) for Warner Bros. in 1990. _Matinee (1993)_ featuring John Goodman as a huckster showman premiering his new horror film during the Cuban Missile Crisis, was a production of Dante and partner Mike Finnell's Renfield Productions for Universal in 1993.

Dreamworks/Universal's Small Soldiers was released in 1998, followed in 2003 by Warner Bros. Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) featuring one of Dante's favorite actors, Bugs Bunny.

Dante's Homecoming, an episode of Showtime's Masters of Horror series, debuted in December 2005 to rave reviews from critics and audiences alike and was named to numerous "Top 10" critics lists. The Sitges and Brussels International Film Festivals both honored Homecoming with Special Jury Recognition Awards, and the New Yorker called it the best political film of 2005. More recent work includes The Screwfly Solution, also an episode of Masters of Horror, and the Halloween 2007 episode of CSI: New York. His new 3D thriller, The Hole, for Bold Films recently premiered at the Venice Film Festival where it garnered the first-ever award for Best 3D Feature.

Dante also produces the critically-acclaimed webisode/mobile phone series, Trailers from Hell.

Along the way Dante contributed several comedy segments to the multi-part Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) spoof produced by John Landis, and directed various episodes of the tv series Amazing Stories, Twilight Zone, Police Squad!, Night Visions and Picture Windows. He also directed the network pilots for Caleb Carr's The Osiris Chronicles (1995) and the NBC series Eerie, Indiana, on which he was creative consultant throughout its run.

Dante received Cable Ace nominations for his direction of Showtime's Runaway Daughters (1994) and HBO's The Second Civil War (1997).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Joseph Dante Jr. was born on November 28, 1946 in Morristown, New Jersey, and raised in the nearby borough of Parsippany. His father was a professional golf players and his father wrote some books on the instructions of playing golf some of which included Four Magic Moves to Winning Golf, and Stop that Slice. After a bout with polio that nearly crippled him at age 7, he slowly recovered and decided to take up drawing rather than athletics as his parents did.

Dante studied at the Philadelphia College of Art after graduating from high school. As a teenager, he contributed to Castle of Frankenstein and Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines with various writings, and upon graduation from the Philadelphia College of Art, he became a film critic for the Film Bulletin newspaper for which he later became the managing editor. With a friend, named Jon Davison, Dante cut together a series of movie clips and film trailers and edited them into a 7-hour long , The Movie Orgy (1968) which was shown on college campuses.

In 1974, Jon Davison was the head of advertising for Roger Corman's New World Productions and persuaded Dante to move to California to work for them as an editor for various movie trailers and films. In 1976, Roger Corman allowed Dante, to direct his very first feature film with New World staffer Allan Arkush which was titled Hollywood Boulevard (1976), a low-budget feature filmed in just 10 days on a $50,000 budget, in which Dante and Arkush inserted stock footage from other Corman-produced films. Hoping to get the jump (Note: Piranha came out 3 years after Jaws!) on the success of the Steven Spielberg film Jaws, Corman commissioned Dante to direct Piranha (1978) around the same time Jaws II was being made. Working with a budget of $660,000 and with a script by John Sayles, Dante had his first serious problems with the filming which included last-minute cast changes, underwater cameras that kept breaking down, union woes, and unusable second unit footage. But the finished film was a miracle of low-budget exploitation filmmaking and has become a cult favorite.

Dante co-wrote the story for Rock and Roll High School (1979), and was then directed The Howling (1981). With another script by John Sayles and with a budget of over $1 million, the movie about California werewolves proved to be another box-office hit, highlighted by state-of-the-art special effects by Rob Bottin. After directing two out of six episodes for the short-lived comic TV series "Police Squad! (1982), Dante found himself working alongside Steven Spielberg, John Landis and Australian director George Miller for the anthology movie The Twilight Zone, The Movie (1983) in which Dante directed the third segment, a remake of a 1961 original Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life", which allowed him to draw the script from his love of cartoons which played a major part in the segment.

Steven Spielberg then hired him to work as director for the Chris Columbus script of Gremlins (1984) which was another box-office success. Dante then directed Explorers (1985) which starred Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix as suburban kids seeking alien life. But the Paramount distributors rushed the film before Dante was finished editing it and the studio's lackluster effort to advertise it led him to become disillusioned with the movie industry.

He directed some episodes for the Sci-Fi series "Amazing Stories" before directing his next Science Fiction feature which was Innerspace (1987) a take on the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage, which, whilst critically well reviewed, was another box office failure.

After directing five episodes of "Eerie, Indiana", a tv series on which he also served as creative consultant, Dante returned to the big-screen with the well-received Matinee (1993), an affectionate period satire set in 1962 against the background of the Cold War and starring John Goodman as a film director, inspired by gimmick filmmaker William Castle. Dante spent the next several years working for television and re-making several movies such as Runaway Daughters (1994) and directed a satire on politics with The Second Civil War (1997) for which he was nominated for a Cable ACE award.

Dante's next two films, Small Soldiers (1998), and Looney Toons: Back in Action (2004) garnered good reviews but were not commercial hits. He was recruited by Mick Garris to direct two episodes of the anthology series "Masters of Horror" (2005 and 2006): "Homecoming" a biting political satire and the first American film to deal with the Iraq War.

His latest film The Hole 3D premiered at the 2009 Venice Film Festival and won its inaugural Best 3D Film Award.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Matt Patay

Trade Mark (9)

Always casts Dick Miller in a cameo or supporting role
Frequently has films/television series with themes similar to the movie in various scenes.
Always includes a reference to the Warner Bros. cartoons somewhere in each of his works.
Frequently casts Robert Picardo in supporting roles or cameos
Frequently casts William Schallert in supporting roles or cameos
Frequently hired composer Jerry Goldsmith
Frequently casts Kevin McCarthy
Frequently casts Ron Perlman in supporting roles or cameos
Wildly animated characters

Trivia (13)

Former Roger Corman protégé. Also helped by Steven Spielberg.
Directors he has cited as his principal influences include Chuck Jones, Frank Tashlin, James Whale, Roger Corman and Jean Cocteau.
Was interested in directing Batman (1989), which went to Tim Burton.
Was scheduled to direct a Jaws (1975) parody (under the National Lampoon banner) in the early 1980s called "Jaws 3 People 0". Universal Pictures dropped this concept in favor of a "straight" film (which became the critical and financial flop Jaws 3-D (1983)).
Was one of the directors considered for Jurassic Park (1993), which went to Steven Spielberg.
His favorite films are Bride of Frankenstein (1935), To Be or Not to Be (1942), The Night of the Hunter (1955), Touch of Evil (1958) and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
Is a major fan of 1950s science fiction films, and often contains references to them in his movies. Since he is considered an authority on the subject, he is also frequently interviewed about them for documentaries, television specials, and DVD special features.
He has directed Robert Picardo in ten films or television films: The Howling (1981), Explorers (1985), Innerspace (1987), Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), The 'Burbs (1989), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), Matinee (1993), The Second Civil War (1997), Small Soldiers (1998) and Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), He also directed Picardo in five television episodes: Amazing Stories: Boo! (1986), Rebel Highway: Runaway Daughters (1994), Masters of Horror: Homecoming (2005), CSI: NY: Boo (2007) and Hawaii Five-0: Olelo Pa'a (2013).
He has cast Dick Miller in every film or television that he has ever directed: Hollywood Boulevard (1976), Piranha (1978), Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979), The Howling (1981), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Gremlins (1984), Explorers (1985), Innerspace (1987), Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) (though Miller's scene was cut), The 'Burbs (1989), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), Matinee (1993), The Second Civil War (1997), Small Soldiers (1998), The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy (1998), Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), Trapped Ashes (2006), The Hole (2009) and Burying the Ex (2014). He has also directed him in four television episodes: Police Squad!: Testimony of Evil (Dead Men Don't Laugh) (1982), Amazing Stories: The Greibble (1986), Eerie, Indiana: The Losers (1991) and Rebel Highway: Runaway Daughters (1994).
He directed William Schallert in five films or television films: Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Gremlins (1984), Innerspace (1987), Matinee (1993) and The Second Civil War (1997).
He has directed Belinda Balaski in ten films or television films: Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Gremlins (1984), Explorers (1985), Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), Matinee (1993), The Second Civil War (1997), Small Soldiers (1998), and The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy (1998). He has also directed Balaski in three television episodes: Eerie, Indiana: Foreverware (1991), Eerie, Indiana: The Hole in the Head Gang (1992) and Rebel Highway: Runaway Daughters (1994).
He directed Kevin McCarthy in seven films or television films: Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Innerspace (1987), Matinee (1993), The Second Civil War (1997) and Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003).
Often cites The Innocents (1961) as his favorite horror movie, and one of the scariest he's ever seen.

Personal Quotes (3)

[in "Halliwell's Filmgoers and Video Viewers Companion", on producing movie trailers for Roger Corman] We did all kinds of things in trailers to help sell films. We had a famous exploding helicopter shot from one of those Filipino productions that we'd cut in every time a trailer was too dull because that was always exciting.
[on Gremlins (1984)] What I like in movies especially are movies that do things that you can't do in real life and show you things that you can't see by walking out in the street. And there have been a lot of great movies that show you real life as it is lived and should be lived. But my favorite kind of movies are the ones that show you things that you can't see anywhere but in the movies. And this picture? Believe me, you'll never see this stuff except in the movies.
[on the late Elisabeth Brooks] The Howling (1981) was her first major hit movie. Elisabeth brought to the role of Marsha Quist exactly what was needed. She was a beautiful and exotic woman and we will miss her.

Salary (1)

Piranha (1978) $8,000

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