Jesse V. Johnson, in my opinion, is one of those directors who keeps getting better and better, career wise.
I remember the first time I watched the “Last Sentinel” film in 2007, which was also Don The Dragon Wilson’s last film, and from there on Johnson’s directing works have been improving.
He made the “Alien Agent” with Mark Dacascos, Billy Zane and Darren Shahlavi the same year, then it was “The Fifth Commandment” in 2008, after which came the highly entertaining “The Butcher” with Eric Roberts, and “Charlie Valentine” with truly a dream cast, for those who “know”.
And now, Johnson is working on “The Package”. The “Package” contains not only Johnson as a director, but also WWE Superstar-turned-action star Steve Austin, and the Big Swede, Dolph Lundgren himself.
I am a sucker for films with familiar actors, and a film with Austin-Lundgren tandem plus Johnson as a director sounds like a winner already.
I’ve been in touch with Johnson since 2009, when we first did an interview (Johnson uses real criminals and strippers in his movies, if you didn’t know – check the interview here), and I of course wanted to know more about the “Package” film, which had a very intriguing synopsis:
A courier for a local crime lord must deliver a mysterious package while being chased by a horde of unusual gangsters.
This of course was enough for me to drop Johnson a letter, and ask him about the film. The man in charge did not reveal a lot, simply stating that “its too early to say anything, since we are still shooting”.
Johnson added, that he’s “not at liberty to discuss the project” but “it will be an awesome picture”. Well, somehow I have a feeling that I will enjoy it for sure.
Below is a photo that Johnson shared, I assume its been shot somewhere between the takes, and there’s Jesse Johnson himself in the middle, with Dolph Lundgren on the right.
The second picture was shared by Dolph Lundgren himself, and it has Austin on the left, Lundgren on the right, and a “poor” stuntman in the center.
Lundgren said “they were discussing a fight scene for the Package”, and got this picture shot. Oh yes, and I am loving that “1960’s Cassius Clay t-shirt” on the stuntman…
Lundgren also shared Jesse Johnson’s words on his character in the film – “I am loving working with Dolph, he is prepared, invested and awesome to work with. A phenomenal talent, who has a chance to do something really interesting with this part.”
According to IMDB, Lundgren’s name in the film is “Big German”, and Austin is billed as “Tommy”, which gives me a reason to believe that “the courier” in the film is played by Austin, and Lundgren has a part of some “big crime boss”. I may be wrong of course, but we’ll wait and see.
The film also stars former martial arts champion, “Golden Boy” Jerry Trimble, who has been in Jesse Johnson’s last three movies (read my interview with Trimble here).
This is the second time Austin and Ludgren appearing in the film together, since 2010, where they both starred in a Sylvester Stallone blockbuster action movie “The Expendables”.
The film got a sequel, which is supposedly in post-production stage now. Lundgren is back in the film, reprising his “Gunnar Jensen” character, while Steve Austin is not, since he’s been terminated in the first film.
Johnson apparently has a very positive view of Steve Austin, as he told me: “Steve is doing great work, too, the man is fearless, and very, very focused. We’re all taking this one very seriously.”
Steve Austin has been transforming into a reliable action presence on screen, as in 2-3 years he has accomplished something Hulk Hogan never did, and something John Cena still has (if he wants) to do.
He’s been a lead in a number of solid action movies, he’s been a part of “The Expendables”, now he’s shooting a movie with Lundgren, and he also has an action film with Steven Seagal coming up, called “Maximum Conviction”. Personally, I like the direction his movie career is going to.
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