Interview: Don Johnson on his legendary career and movie A Little White Lie

We speak to the legendary Don Johnson about his career and new film A Little White Lie co-starring Michael Shannon.

Don Johnson is a personal hero of mine. One of my prized possessions is a framed, autographed copy of his 1987 album, “Heartbeat”, which I have hanging on my living room wall. Being a child of the eighties, I always thought he was the coolest of the cool. As a youngster, I got into Miami Vice in a big way through re-runs, and I loved him in action flicks like 1989’s Dead-Bang, and 1991’s Best Movie You Never Saw fave Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. Plus, there was Nash Bridges!

This week, Johnson, who’s been carving out a terrific niche for himself as a character actor in recent years, stars alongside Michael Shannon and Kate Hudson in the comedy-drama A Little White Lie. In it, Johnson plays a famous writer whose big personality hides a certain degree of insecurity. I was lucky enough to sit with Johnson for a great interview where, among other things, he revealed that he based his character on his friend, the legendary Hunter S. Thompson. He discusses how the film was a week away from wrapping when the Covid pandemic began and how it took 400 days before they were finally able to wrap the movie. He also teases his upcoming action thriller Rebel Ridge, which is being directed by Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room) for Netflix, which he thinks might be a really special film, even if it was the hardest physical shoot of his life due to an injury.

Johnson, who it must be said is a terrific guy, also indulged me in a little talk about his 1989 action flick Dead-Bang, which was directed by the legendary John Frankenheimer. In it, there’s this amazing foot chase that climaxes with Johnson puking all over a perp, and Johnson, to my delight, not only remembers the scene but admits it was his idea. He also told me some great stories about the director as well as folks like M. Emmett Walsh, the late Gregg Allman, and more. This was my second time interviewing Don Johnson (the first time was for Brawl in Cell Block 99), and both times he was as friendly of an interview subject as you can hope for, and he ended the interview by paying me a super nice compliment that made my day.

A Little White Lie is in theaters, on digital and on demand Friday March 3rd.

Here’s the studio synopsis (which to be honest doesn’t really reflect the actual film all that well):

Shriver (Michael Shannon), a down-on-his-luck handyman who has never read a book in his life, is mistaken for a famous writer that has been in hiding for over 20 years. With nothing to lose, he accepts an invitation to attend a college literary festival and finds himself surrounded by adoring fans and an English professor (Kate Hudson) who captures his heart. Shriver must do whatever it takes for his shot at love in this fish-out-of-water comedy.

It’s a nice little gem of a movie (review to follow soon) and worth checking out.

Originally published at

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