Hey guys, I'm Joe Dante.

My latest film, Burying the Ex, hits theaters & digital platforms today June 19. You can check out here: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/buryingtheex/

Ask me your questions.


This has been great--thanx for all your interest!

Gotta run now and do phoners from Europe!

Thanx again!

Comments: 764 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

GetFreeCash344 karma

Hey Joe, thanks for doing this AMA! The 'Burbs is one of my favourite movies, do you have any funny stories from the set that you can share with us?

IamJoeDante517 karma

Well, there was the time that Michael Jackson's chimp Bubbles visited Corey Feldman and pooped all over his trailer. If that qualifies as funny...

nascentia242 karma

Mr. Dante! I feel like The 'Burbs is extremely underrated...that film is incredible. What was it like working with Tom Hanks? Do you have any memorable stories or anecdotes from filming that movie in general?

IamJoeDante298 karma

Funny how The Burbs is outstripping Gremlins as the movie I'm asked about most often! We were the only picture shooting on the lot during the writer's strike of 1988 and a lot of the funniest stuff in it was ad-libbed by the cast. The whole thing was fun actually.

poledancingpanda202 karma

Can we have a Small Soldiers reboot/sequel? Plz.

IamJoeDante228 karma

Yer talkin to the wind, pal.

MrCaul187 karma

Did it ever sadden you a bit that Eerie, Indiana never became a huge hit?

It always seemed like a show that came from the heart.

IamJoeDante132 karma

Eerie was a joy to work on but it never found its audience (it was on opposite 60 Minutes). When reruns became popular a few years later there was an attempt to revive it with a different cast and crew in Canada, but it didn't work--that version was even cheaper than ours!

LurchKIttyInTheCIty117 karma

Hi Mr. Dante, I want to first thank you for making the only movie to date that scares the living hell out of me. As silly as it sounds every time I watch Gremlins, I cannot not sleep for a few nights without keeping the lights on.

I have heard rumors of a remake. Is there any truth to those rumors? Bonus pic my Gremlins mug I am using right now:

IamJoeDante95 karma

Nice cup! Vintage? Save for Ebay! There are rumors of a remake once every few months. The latest one just a few weeks ago, but who knows?

ramon_von_peebles100 karma

Did you ever wonder what Gizmo would have looked like if he had become a Gremlin?

IamJoeDante312 karma

He was originally supposed to turn into Stripe, before Steven Spielberg took a shine to him and decreed he should be the hero's pal for the run of the story. That sent the FX people into a tailspin, as he was designed only for the first few reels. But then he ended up the star of the show!

shivan2192 karma

What was it like to work with the stars of Innerspace like Dennis Quaid, Martin Short and Meg Ryan?

IamJoeDante90 karma

They were so much fun! Maybe the most fun I ever had making a movie.

Xenomorph-7985 karma

Hi! Small soldiers was part of my childhood, and remains one of my favorite films. I feel that the movie is about the ramifications of corporate ignorance, advanced A.I. being treated-quite literally-like a child's plaything, and the innocence and nostalgia of classic toys and the like being brushed away by the high-tech, no-soul toys that come straight from the assembly line instead of the heart. What do you think the film is about, in your view?

IamJoeDante184 karma

That-- and the fact that just because someone looks different doesn't make them bad, and just because someone wears a uniform doesn't mean they're good.

Thompson_80 karma

Mr. Dante I adore Explorers from beginning to end, and the poster as well, any news on a special edition release?

PS. I also loved Matinee and Looney Tunes Back in Action as well, so thanks for making them!

IamJoeDante82 karma

I'm afraid the studio isn't much interested in Explorers (nothing new there). The current DVD isn't even from Paramount, it's a Warner Archive pickup. Maybe there'll be a Blu Ray someday, but the missing pieces are up in the stars somewhere with the Thunder Road.

aggregatorgeoff67 karma

Hey, Joe, I just rewatched the Burbs a couple nights ago and then was saddened to hear of Rick Ducommun's passing yesterday. He was hilarious in the movie. Any memories you can share of him?

IamJoeDante115 karma

Rick was at heart a stand-up comic with an edge. He beat out SCTV stars like Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis for the role despite being relatively unknown. His character is the heart and soul of what's funny about the movie, proving you don't have to be likeable to be funny.

Trionout60 karma

Joe, if you could fight one Tom Hanks sized Gizmo or 100 Gizmo sized Tom hanks, what would you choose?

IamJoeDante91 karma

A Tom Hanks sized Gizmo is as creepy as those big Minnie Mouses at Disneyland! So I'll take the tiny Toms.

Homeyjosey40 karma

What do you think of Furbys?

IamJoeDante110 karma

Funny you should ask...producer Mike Finnell and I noticed a certain similarity between Forby and Mogwai, and pointed it out to Warner Bros. Soon there was a Gizmo Furby for sale and, no doubt, some settlement $$ changed hands...

The_bad_guy_31240 karma

Good morning Joe, just like to express my condolences and raise a glass to the late Rick Ducommon, gone to soon. Ok, the Burbs, is one of the most fantastic movies ever made. To me it's one of the last of "old hollywood" as that set is so iconic. Please tell me the rumors of a possible remake aren't true? dont let them ruin it...

IamJoeDante52 karma

Rick was only in his 50s and had been sidelined for some time with diabetic issues. He is a vital part of why The Burbs has become a cult favorite. It's been borrowed from now and again since then--I think the most recent remake was that neighborhood watch comedy that was out a year or so ago....

shazbot99634 karma

How is it possible to work professionally with someone as beautiful as Phoebe Cates on the set? Seriously. I can't even form proper syllables when I so much as look at a picture of her. If I tried to actually be productive in a working environment with her nearby, I could not function. I want to know your secret.

IamJoeDante89 karma

Good question...when I found out she hadn't been born until after the JFK assassination I was able to put her attractiveness in perspective. Same with Alex Daddario and Ashley Greene on the Burying the Ex set--these girls are both so beautiful it takes your breath away. It does make going to work in the morning a lot more fun.

seismicor27 karma

Hi, Joe. Thanks for both Gremlins, they belong among my favourite memories of my childhood. My question is, was there a time after Gremlins 2 that you were considering making a third movie? I always wanted to see a third one. What would it be about? Thank you.

IamJoeDante43 karma

Gremlins 2 kind of put the lid on Gremlins for awhile. But since virtually everything you ever heard of is up for remake I'm sure there will be something in the future with Gremlins in the title.

HugoStiglit27 karma

Hey Joe, thanks for doing this! Massive fan of your work, especially The 'Burbs which is an all-time favorite of mine. With the rush of remakes in mainstream studio horror movies, especially the trend of remaking 80s cult films, what are your thoughts on the possibilities of any of your films from the era being remade? Any movies of yours that you would like to see a different take on, or any that you don't want to be revisited by different filmmakers?

Also how wild was 80s Bruce Dern to work with? Because I feel like he was wild.

IamJoeDante81 karma

Bruce Dern is great and lots of fun to work with. As for remakes, it looks like anything is fair game whether it's worth rebooting or not. People forget that sometimes movies work because of the era in which they were made and don't necessarily translate to our times.

theArnoldFans124 karma

You and James Cameron both directed a Piranha film..do you take great pride knowing you directed a better Piranha film over Cameron!? Have you ever almost worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger and who would win in a fight: a Terminator or 100 Gremlins?

IamJoeDante37 karma

I think Jim did the best he could with his piranha movie, before they kicked him out of the editing room! I did almost make The 6th Day with Arnold, who was wrong for the part. Couldn't the Terminator vaporize 100 Gremlins?

Docdante23 karma

Mr. Dante, thank you for doing this AMA today. Looking back at your career what is one movie if you had another bite of the apple, you would redo or change something?

IamJoeDante52 karma

I'd finish cutting Explorers, which was released in rough cut form. I'm as curious as the next guy as to what it would look like in finished form.

NecronomiconExMortis23 karma

How difficult was it to shoot 'The Howling'? It seems that we've only had a few truly excellent werewolf movies and 'The Howling' has creature effects that still stand up today.

IamJoeDante33 karma

The Howling was a low-budget movie and shot very quickly, but benefits from Rob Bottin's brilliant wolf work (on a shoestring) and some nice cinematography by John Hora. The script has more on its mind than just monsters, which also helps.

CommunistConsumer21 karma

There's a lot of great character mannerisms in The Burbs, were they improvised or was that your doing? When Tom Hanks' character first enters the Klopek's house comes to mind.

IamJoeDante17 karma

See above note.

White_Seth20 karma

Hi Joe!

Everybody knows that you shouldn't feed a mogwai after midnight. What time is it safe to start feeding them again?

IamJoeDante55 karma

Depends which time zone you're in... like if you're in a plane and cross the time zone. See the control room scene in Gremlins 2 for further details!

Hostandguest18 karma

Hi Joe, did you draw the "Escape From Movie Orgy" Schlitz poster and are there any plans to screen Movie Orgy again?

IamJoeDante36 karma

Yeah, I drew that poster. Couldn't afford anyone else. I'm sure the Movie Orgy will turn up again somewhere. I think the last place we ran it was the Museum of Modern Art!

MarkKlosterman18 karma

Given the troubled production of "Looney Tunes: Back in Action", how do you feel about the finished product?

IamJoeDante33 karma

I have mixed feelings about it. I think Eric Goldberg and I were successful at not debasing the characters, but there was so much second-guessing on that project over many, many months that it just feels overstuffed to me; kind of loud and noisy. But there are some good things in it.

sacredmage8016 karma

Hello Mr. Dante, I'm a huge fan of your work, especially Gremlins and The Howling (the first DVD I ever bought). One of the things that makes these movies so great is the usage of practical effects and how well done the practical effects are. I was wondering what your opinion is on the replacement of practical effects with CGI in modern movies and what you think the fate of practical effects will be in the future?

IamJoeDante43 karma

I think CGI is a terrific tool, but there's still a place for practical effects. It's better for the performers to have something to act to, for one thing. Rick Baker's disappointment at having his practical effects in the Wolf Man remake relegated to the back seat in favor of CGI may have contributed to his recent decision to retire.

Pyronic_Chaos15 karma

Has there been any thought put into a new Small Soldiers type movie with 'modern' toy and electronics? I'm thinkin of stuff like quadcopter air battles

IamJoeDante38 karma

Sounds promising. Crowdfunding anyone?

shivan2114 karma

How would you describe the period of american horror in the 1970s? And how did it change in 1980s?

IamJoeDante40 karma

The 70s was an anything-goes time in filmmaking, partly due to the rating system freeing movies from censorship. We killed off a whole summer camp full of kids in Piranha--that wouldn't have been allowed in the 60s. But the 80s were the just-say-no Reagan period which pushed back against the excesses of the prior decade and the movies got a lot softer and more Spielbergian.

shivan2114 karma

Hello Joe! Were the Gremlin characters exactly as you had imagined or did they surprise you?

IamJoeDante24 karma

Actually writer Chris Columbus had included some drawings of what he thought they should look like, so FX designer Chris Walas basically took off from there.

alwayslurkeduntilnow13 karma

When gremlins first came out it had an 18 certificate rating in the UK, now it is shown on a Sunday afternoon in the family slot. Do you think we were overly sensitised before or that society has shifted so much that what was a fright is now alright?

IamJoeDante24 karma

As time goes by things that were once shocking become more acceptable. In the US Gremlins and Indiana Jones caused a stir becuase they were rated PG, so the rating board came up with a new interim rating of PG-13 to keep such horrors from the eyes of 12 year olds. Today of course none of that really matters because kids are usually exposed to movies via home video.

Skippy889813 karma

I've always wondered why there was such a drastic tone difference between the first Gremlins and second one?

IamJoeDante69 karma

I was told that if I would make a second Gremlins pic I could do whatever I wanted with it. I certainly wasn't interested in making the first one over again, so went in a different, more satirical direction, which frankly I prefer.

MasterBerry13 karma

  1. With easy tech/craft access and crowdfunding so powerful as it is today, do you see it as possible for the B-Movie to make a gradual resurgence?

  2. I watched your film Matinee weeks ago, and I must ask, how insane was the William Castle experience in the theater and which of his films is your favorite?

IamJoeDante29 karma

The B Movie has made its resurgence--as the average A movie. Today's megabudget comic book movies would have been made on tiny budgets decades ago. But B-movie subject matter is now mainstream, while the average adult movie is now made as an indie or a cable series. My favorite Castle movie is House on Haunted Hill, but you can't beat The Tingler for sheer nuttiness.

GopherTrace212 karma

What advice would you give to someone making a low-budget horror movie?

IamJoeDante31 karma

Get your friends together and go out and shoot it. Edit on your computer. You can actually make a pretty good looking movie with today's technology that won't break the bank like my generation's shot-and-finished-on-celluloid efforts used to do.

white_water11 karma

Hello Mr Dante, big fan of your work.

Would you direct a remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon?

Are you still planning on doing Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes?

IamJoeDante20 karma

Still hoping to get MWKE off the ground, yes. I was involved with a Creature remake in the early 80s as back-up director for the ailing Jack Arnold, but it went poof as so many movies do.

mx3x11 karma

Hey Joe, would you ever consider doing another small soldiers movie ?

IamJoeDante23 karma

Are you offering??

TheBigVitus11 karma

What was it like working on the twilight zone movie and 80's series?

Me and my friends are huge fans of the original and the version from the 80's.

IamJoeDante19 karma

The movie--my first studio movie and a blast to make. The 80s series--sooo cheaply made (and looks it) but it had better scripts than its elaborately produced rival Amazing Stories. I did one TZ and two AS.

man_mayo11 karma

Joe, what are some of the interesting items that you've kept from some of the movies you've been involved with?

IamJoeDante39 karma

I don't really save a lot of stuff, but I've managed to hold on to the Bat Gremlin and the spaceship models from Explorers. I also have some Innerspace miniatures from ILM.

BootStiefel10 karma

What do you look for when you crack open a script? Originality? Characters? Financing? Stars attached?

IamJoeDante37 karma

Financing?! Stars attached??!! hahaha! That'll be the day! Seriously, originality is much prized when it can be found. And characters are the key to audience identification.

George_Hale10 karma

Hi Joe! Have you watched It Follows? It's seriously the best horror film of the last 15 years. What do you think about it if you've seen it and do you think we're going to get a few more horror films like that from now on?

Also, as a horror comedy expert and as the guy who directed The Howling, do you like Teen Wolf(the TV Series)?

IamJoeDante13 karma

sob!< I must admit..I haven't yet caught up with either of these.

willsmith62610 karma

Can you talk a little about Rocking Ricky Rialto and his role in Gremlins? Also, love everything you've ever done.

IamJoeDante18 karma

Rockin' Ricky was created to find a part for LA DJ The Real Don Steele, who'd done many trailer voiceovers for me and was in Rock N Roll HS and Grand Theft Auto. Great guy, great voice.

shivan219 karma

How do you remember Roger Corman? Any funny story?

IamJoeDante27 karma

There's a wealth of funny stories about Roger, too many to list here. But if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be Reddit-ing with you now.

lula24889 karma

Why is it a disadvantage for humans to have two legs?

IamJoeDante56 karma

To get to the other side.

shivan219 karma

As one of big personalites of comedy horror genre, do you have any favourite comedy horrors of other creators?

IamJoeDante23 karma

Well, you can't beat those comedian vehicles of the '40s--The Ghost Breakers, Hold That Ghost, A&C Meet Frankenstein, etc. But there's a lot of comedy in James Whale's horror pix too.

shivan219 karma

How the Gremlin characters came onto your mind?

IamJoeDante37 karma

Actually they came into Chris Columbus's mind and he shared.

Obradbrad8 karma

Hi Joe! Was the Piranha remake everything you wanted out of the original but recreated in your own way? Because I find that the remake really captures piranhas eating people like the original never did.

IamJoeDante19 karma

Well, they had more money and better technology! We were lucky we got away with what we did in 1978!

Frajer8 karma

did you intend the gremlins to be good or evil?

IamJoeDante25 karma

The answer is in the mind of the beholder.

seismicor6 karma

How much are you satisfied with The Hole?

IamJoeDante15 karma

Not too satisfied that it never played in US or Canadian theaters! Seriously--it's in 3-D for goshsake. As a movie I think it goes some darker places than "family" entertainment usually goes...maybe that was the trouble.

Skullborn5 karma

Hey Joe, was wondering if there was ever a planned sequel for Small Soldiers? It did decently at the box office and had lots of merchandising, I'm surprised it never went anywhere considering the open ending!

IamJoeDante10 karma

Didn't make enough money to justify its cost. The title did it no favors. Who pays $$ to see something small?

GetSetGo875 karma

Hey Joe, thanks for doing this AMA! What was the fate of the Gorgonites? Did they ever reach Gorgon?

IamJoeDante21 karma

Last seen sailing for Gorgon, I'd like to think they found it. Jerry Goldsmith's music seems to indicated they would.

seismicor4 karma

Joe, can they make the Gremlins move/act the same way as in the original movies using CGI or is the animatronics the only way?

IamJoeDante10 karma

I have no idea what's up their sleeve, or whether they even intend to use the same designs. I'm sure CGI will play a big part in whatever they do.

Romnonaldao3 karma

Hi Joe! Thanks for all the great movies!

Have you ever considered doing a new Gremlins movie, or are you just done with that?

IamJoeDante6 karma

It's rumored there's a re-do on the way, but I don't know any of the details.

MidEastBeast7771 karma

Joe, have you ever been in a fist fight before? And if so, how did it turn out?

IamJoeDante4 karma

I lost.