Johnny Mnemonic director Robert Longo had to learn filmmaking on the fly

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There are also other strange happenings in “Johnny Mnemonic’s” cyberpunk future. In one scene, Johnny psychically bonds with a cyborg dolphin. Vicious gangsters roam the streets with a laser tourniquet wire that can take heads off in an instant. Ice-T, Takeshi Kitano, Udo Kier and Henry Rollins all appear in supporting roles. Dina Meyer plays a cybernetically enhanced bodyguard who belongs to a messianic cult of tech-averse anarchists calling themselves Lo-Teks. “Johnny Mnemonic” is very colorful and wacky. It did not receive good reviews.

Longo came from the world of high art, having previously been known as a sculptor and photographer. He came to directing via the world of music videos, having directed the videos for New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” and REM’s “The One I Love”. He moved into scripted entertainment with a 1992 episode of “Tales from the Crypt”, then in feature films with “Johnny Mnemonic”. In a 1995 interview with Wired, Longo explained that he still considered himself a neophyte director at the time and felt like he had to pretend until he made it. He said:

“There’s a Kurt Vonnegut quote that I love, something about when you pretend to be someone long enough, one day you’ll be that person. I was hoping that would be true of that experience. ‘Cause all of a sudden I’m making a movie and going easy Wait a minute I really don’t know how to do this Where the fuck are we gonna put these cameras It’s like waking up from a dream and realizing you’re riding a bike with no handlebars. Like, f***! I have to keep my balance! I was totally going on instinct. It was all I could do to keep my sanity.

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