Attended the University of Southern California (USC) Film School in the 1980s. The day after Joanou's student film Last Chance Dance (1984) was shown at the annual USC Film School screening - where student films are screened for industry professionals - Steven Spielberg phoned Joanou at home, asking if he'd like to direct an episode of "Amazing Stories." Joanou's reply was yes and he ended up directing two episodes: "Santa '85" and "The Doll," the latter of which won a best actor Emmy for actor 'John Lithgow'. Spielberg then gave Joanou the screenplay for Three O'Clock High (1987), then known as "After School".
[on Gary Oldman] I had a great relationship with him [on State of Grace (1990)] - later he was in Final Analysis (1992) but I cut him out. He was so good he tipped the whole movie. People just wanted to see a movie about him. They're like "Why can't we see a movie about that guy in an insane asylum that Richard Gere treated?"