Star Wars Episode 7 News

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

J.J. Abrams Interview With Playboy.

Very long and interesting interview with Episode 7 director J.J. Abrams. He talks about rebooting Star Trek and Star Wars, profiting off paranoia, capturing distracted fans and plenty more...

PLAYBOY: Nothing matters more to moviegoers than the stories and characters from Star Wars. In your wildest, geekiest fantasies, did you ever imagine yourself helming the two biggest sci-fi franchises in the universe?

ABRAMS: It is preposterous. Ridiculous. Completely insane. It really is.

PLAYBOY: Star Wars and Star Trek are church and state in Hollywood. Can you really be loyal to both? Star Trek fans cried out on Twitter that you were cheating on them.

ABRAMS: I mean, I get it. The worlds are vastly different. Honestly, that was why I passed on Star Wars to begin with. I couldn’t imagine doing both. But when I said that my loyalty was to Star Trek I was literally working on finishing this cut. I couldn’t even entertain another thought. It was like being on the most beautiful beach in the world and someone saying, “There’s this amazing mountain over here. Come take a look.” I couldn’t balance the two, so I passed on Star Wars.

PLAYBOY: What happened between saying no and saying yes?

ABRAMS: It was a wild time. I was near the light at the end of the tunnel with my work on Star Trek. I felt I needed a bit of a breather, actually. But then Kathleen Kennedy [the new Lucasfilm head who oversees Star Wars] called again. I’ve known her for years. We had a great conversation, and the idea of working with her on this suddenly went from being theoretical and easy to deny to being a real, tangible, thrilling possibility. In the end it was my wife, Katie, who said if it was something that really interested me, I had to consider it.

PLAYBOY: There’s much to discuss, such as the rumors of old cast members returning.

ABRAMS: [Smiles]

PLAYBOY: Will this be a distinct new trilogy?

ABRAMS: [Smiles]

PLAYBOY: Can you do away with Jar Jar Binks?

ABRAMS: You won’t like this answer, but it’s so early it would be insane to discuss details or get into plot points about what this unfilmed movie will be. And I’m not going to give my opinion on the original movies or characters.

PLAYBOY: But as a lifelong Star Wars fan, surely you have broad ideas about what needs to happen going forward. Three quarters of planet Earth came down on George Lucas for practically ruining Star Wars in Episode I. The Star Wars universe revolted.

ABRAMS: Here’s the thing. I try to approach a project from what it’s asking. What does it need to be? What is it demanding? With Star Wars, one has to take into account what has preceded it, what worked, what didn’t. There are cautionary tales for anything you take on that has a legacy—things you look at and think, I want to avoid this or that, or I want to do more of something. But even that feels like an outside-in approach, and it’s not how I work. For me, the key is when you have a script; it’s telling you what it wants to be.

PLAYBOY: Star Wars needs to look different from Star Trek, certainly.

ABRAMS: As with anything, because these are very different worlds, they shouldn’t feel the same aesthetically. They can’t. You’re right. But again, I don’t apply aesthetics first and fit a movie into that aesthetic. If I had come into Star Trek with those eyes, I would probably have been paralyzed. The advantage here is that we still have George Lucas with us to go to and ask questions and get his feedback on things, which I certainly will do. With Star Trek it was harder because I wasn’t a Star Trek fan; I didn’t have the same emotional feeling, and I didn’t have Gene Roddenberry to go to. But I came to understand the world of Star Trek, and I appreciated what fans felt and believed about this universe and this franchise.

PLAYBOY: As recently as last fall you said that directing a new Star Wars comes with a burden of “almost fatal sacrilege.” Do you feel that?

ABRAMS: I meant if I viewed this from a fan’s point of view—and no one’s a bigger Star Wars fan than I am—or from a legacy standpoint, it would scare the hell out of me. But instead of trying to climb this mountain in one giant leap, I’m just enjoying the opportunity and looking to the people I’m working with. I’ve known Kathy for years. I’ve worked with the screenwriter, Michael Arndt, for a long time. I’ve known George for a number of years and he’s now a friend. Even if this wasn’t Star Wars, I’d be enormously fortunate to work with them.

PLAYBOY: How much of your personal vision can you put on this?

ABRAMS: For me to talk to you about what the big themes or ideas are before they exist is disingenuous, but naturally I have a big say in how this gets put together. When I get involved with something, I own it and carry the responsibility of the job.

PLAYBOY: You’re certainly cautious about sharing information. It’s not just Star Wars you don’t want to talk about. You famously withhold almost all spoiler information on your projects. What prompted that?

ABRAMS: That’s a paranoia I’ve developed since the Superman script I wrote years ago was reviewed online. I always had a sense of how I enjoyed entertainment, which was to sit down in front of a TV or inside a darkened movie theater and be surprised by everything that happened on the screen. It used to be that to get a spoiler you had to really seek it out. Now you have to work to avoid it. If something happens on Downton Abbey or Homeland, you practically can’t speak to another human being or you’ll hear what happened. The truth is, people don’t like spoilers. When we were doing Lost, fans would ask me what was going to happen. Before I could even open my mouth, often they would say, “Don’t tell me.” Would I have wanted to hear from Rod Serling what was going to happen on each episode of The Twilight Zone? No way! The buy-in with entertainment like that—or with any great thrill—is that you’re going on an adventure and you don’t know where you’re heading. That’s the stuff of show-business magic. 

PLAYBOY: When the Star Wars news broke, Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Disney didn’t just pick a beloved director: They picked a guy whose name is synonymous with the whole millennial rise of geekdom as a cultural force.”

ABRAMS: Here’s the thing: The pencil-necked geek guys with pocket protectors and tape on their glasses are the people who invented the iPod and the iPad and everything else everyone carries with them all the time. The digital age was foreseen by a group of short-sleeved, buttoned-down, white-shirted guys and their female equivalents who were designing the very stuff that’s now ubiquitous. It’s not that there’s this millennial rise as much as we’re incorporating into our daily lives the technology that is fulfilling our need for instantaneous communication and information. And there’s a general understanding that smartphones didn’t come from jocks.

PLAYBOY: Do you track what people say about you online?

ABRAMS: A little. With Star Wars I glanced at some things here and there just to make sure I wasn’t getting my ass kicked, and the response was kinder than I expected, which was nice. It’s a funny thing. I feel very analog as a human being, which is of course ironic because I love editing, sound design and visual effects.

For the whole interview go to:

No comments:

Post a Comment