Mark Steven Johnson
I literally learned to read by reading comics, Mark Steven Johnson once declared. So who better to bring the Marvel characters Daredevil and Ghost Rider to the big screen? But is this the same Mark Steven Johnson who started out as the writer who reunited Hollywood legends Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau for a last hurrah as the feuding neighbors in Donald Petrie's 1993 comedy "Grumpy Old Men" and Howard Deutsch's 1995 sequel, "Grumpier Old Men," which added Sophia Loren to the mix? It most certainly is and he has followed a pretty circuitous career path over the last two decades. Johnson allowed the comic banter to become a little coarser in "Big Bully," a 1996 Steve Miner farce that saw nerdy writer Rick Moranis re-confronted by childhood nemesis Tom Arnold. But he went to the opposite extreme with the sentimental scenario for his 1998 directorial debut, "Simon Birch," in which diminutive Ian Michael Smith embarks upon a God-given quest. Johnson took the first steps towards the fantastical with his screenplay for the 1998 festive family frolic "Jack Frost," as deceased father Michael Keaton reincarnates as a snowman. Johnson would teeter towards schmaltz again as director of the 2010 romcom "When in Rome," which saw Kristen Bell being pursued by suitors after stealing coins from the famous Trevi Fountain. But his collaborations with Ben Affleck on "Daredevil" and Nicolas Cage on "Ghost Rider" seem to suggest he is best suited to action laced with stunts and special effects.