Since he was eighteen years old, Johnny Martin has been working solely in the film and television industry. He began his career as a stuntman, and within a relatively short period of time, graduated to being a stunt coordinator and second-unit director. In those capacities, Johnny has worked on more than 200 films, TV shows, and commercials, and even won the award for Best Stunt Coordinator of the Year for the film “Gone in 60 Seconds."
In 2003, Johnny launched his own production company, Martini Films. In 2012 ,Martini Films partnered with China Film Group (“CFG”) for the feature film “Urban Games”, which was entirely shot in China and Korea. During this production, CFG retained the services of Martini Films to produce a slate of films for CFG. Johnny Martin produced more than 18 films.
In 2014 Johnny began his directing debut on the horror film “Delirium.” After winning three film festival awards in 2016, he was hired to direct two films, “Vengeance: A Love Story," starring Nicholas Cage and Don Johnson and later that same year “hangman," starring Al Pacino, Karl Urban and Brittany Snow. On each of these films he has credited the late great Tony Scott for the many years of preparing him for his new venture.
From the Car Wash - To Al Pacino
Johnny Martin, acclaimed director, producer, actor and stunt coordinator/stuntman fulfilled his dream by regularly visiting his neighborhood car wash. He was a seven-year-old boy who loved two things, cars and movies. He bicycled to the car wash by his house, every day, in hopes for a great hot rod to pull up. One day a truck towing a car, came driving in, and never would he have realized this would be the day that would change his life forever. Behind this truck, was a smashed up yellow mustang. Just as he got closer to it, a man came out of the truck. He knew the first moment he saw him, that he was someone special. He pedaled up to him and asked what happen to his car? The man replied to Johnny, “This is not JUST a car, her name is Eleanor and she’s a movie star, and my name is HB Halicki and I am a director, producer, actor, stuntman and a screen writer. Eleanor and I just finished a movie called “Gone in 60 Seconds." Johnny and HB sat there for many hours when he finally mustered up the courage to tell HB that he too, wanted to do THAT for a living. HB then took out a shirt and signed it and when he handed it to Johnny he said, “When you turn 18 kid, look me up and I’ll help you.” And that’s how Johnny’s career began.
When Johnny turned 18, he fled to Hollywood and began working as a stuntman and stunt coordinator, but he wanted more. One day he received a call from Mr. Jerry Bruckheimer. He asked Johnny if he wanted to do one more movie as the stunt coordinator. Johnny asked what was the movie? With a long pause, Jerry said, "The movie is called “Gone in 60 Seconds” with Nicholas Cage." It was like HB Hailicki was up in heaven watching over Johnny and gave him this gift. Johnny won an award for “Best Stunt Coordinator of the Year” for this movie. After that, he knew he could do anything he put his mind to with hard work and perseverance.
Johnny soon became a member of the Director's Guild of America, but he still felt something was missing. When Johnny saw his name rolling on the end of the credits of the movie and not in the beginning, he realized he would never get recognized as a great filmmaker. Johnny’s life changed at that moment, deciding that the ultimate peak to climb was to learn how to become a great producer and ultimately, a feature film director. The first movie Johnny produced become the Syfy movie of the year and he continued to produce award winning movies, eventually leading Johnny to producing high value movies for China Film Group (CFG); all of the movies were profitable. But he was unfulfilled, the coveted director role was his definitive prize.
Johnny realized how difficult it would be to prove his directing skills and get work in Hollywood without directing a movie that would showcase his abilities. With a $250,000 budget, that his high school buddies all contributed, the horror film “Delirium” was born, shooting in an old house he and his pals used to sneak into when they were kids. "Delirium" went on to win several awards at film festivals and gave Johnny the chance to showcase his directorial skills.
This led Johnny to an opportunity to direct academy award winning actor, Nicolas Cage for “Vengeance: A Love Story.” Because of their affiliation from “Gone in 60 Seconds,” Nicholas and Johnny remained close friends. Although Nic was originally going to direct and star in this movie, he realized due to schedule demands, he would not be able to direct the movie., only star in it. He asked Johnny to step in; but not without the landmines of the Director’s Guild and attorneys to sort out the new director position. Being able to direct Johnny’s friend Nic while working together with great collaboration, the finished movie received a theatrical release.
Patriot Pictures then asked Johnny to meet with the iconic Al Pacino, to shoot a movie titled “hangman”. Mr. Pacino and Johnny connected so well, that Mr. Pacino now refers to Johnny as one of his own children. While shooting “hangman,” Johnny received a call from a distributor who wanted to release the movie “Delirium” in theaters. He would never imagine that a movie made on a shoestring budget with lifelong friends, would receive this type of accolades and visibility. When “hangman” finished production, Johnny came back to Los Angeles working side-by-side with the great Mr. Pacino and delivered an exceptional movie, that they both exuded pride for creating. Johnny Martin now has 3 movies being released in 1 year, working with one of the world’s most notable actors and finally achieving his dream.
Who would’ve thought a seven-year-old boy hanging out in a car wash would have all of his dreams come true from a car named “Eleanor?" Your future is bright Mr. Martin!