TFT caught up with Lost and Cloverfield maestro JJ Abrams to chat about monsters and the Star Trek sequel. He was in LA on the red carpet for the official DVD and Blu-ray launch of Super 8.
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What’s it like making a film that you’re only releasing part of the film to that talent every day during the shoot?
You mean script wise?
Well it’s not like they hadn’t read the script beforehand and they were allowed to read the script whenever they wanted to read it but rather than releasing the entire script to everyone… but the main cast got the whole script.
But what was it like having nobody really know what the monster looked like?
Well the look of the monster that was something we were developing in post. But I showed them images as we had them.
What made you set the film in 1979?
I knew the movie was going to be called Super 8 and I knew they were going to make Super 8 movies and that was when Super 8 movies got made. It would have been a weird thing to have the film take place present day about kids making a retro film.
It could have been modern day. It could have been iPhone movies…
It could but actually there’s was a sort of innocence in the sense of a time and a place that was really the first inspiration for this movie. So it wasn’t about a bunch of kids making movies it was about a bunch of kids in the ’70s making movies. That was always the inspiration.
And they say never work with children or animals, how did you find such a great cast?
The pound. No. We had this amazing cast that we were very lucky to get. [Casting directors] April Webster and Alyssa Weisberg are brilliant. We saw a ton of kids and we were very lucky to find these.
Aside from Super 8, what’s your favourite monster movie?
I have a bunch. I would say that one of my favourite monster movies is The Thing, John Capernter’s The Thing. And Alien I love as well obviously, only a few years apart. The original King Kong and Mighty Joe Young are both fantastic. Godzilla. Then there are movies like The Fly, the Cronenberg remake that I love, that might not be considered a monster movie but is an amazing thing.
You guys now have more time for Star Trek 2. Are you going to decide on a villain soon?
Yeah, the script’s written, we’re going through it obviously with revisions but we’re deep into prep and it’s going great.