J.J. Abrams Chats About 'Super 8', Reveals Story Info & Much More
"Do not speak of this… if you do, they will find you." Tonight was a moment to remember, not only because the Green Bay Packers won Superbowl XLV, but because J.J. Abrams finally debuted the first-ever footage from his new sci-fi movie Super 8 after enticing us with an explosive teaser last summer. Not only did the master of mystery give us a 30 second tease of the brilliance that will arrive this June, but he also spoke at length with Hero Complex in a very candid interview about Super 8 - including his inspirations, what it's about and a little bit more. It's a great piece and I've selected some of the best parts to highlight so read on!
"This is the first time I've talked about the movie with anybody that wasn’t working on it," Abrams revealed. It's time to finally take a peek inside. To start with the basics, Abrams says: "To me, all people need to know is that it's an adventure about a small town and it's funny, it's sweet, it's scary and there's a mystery: What is this thing that has escaped? What are the ramifications of its presence? And what is the effect on people? But I know that's not enough." He continues about how they must show something from it, "because we are up against massive franchises and brands and most people don't know what Super 8 means… [and] we don't want to be so silent or coy that people don't care or don't hear about it." So here's our first intro.
If you didn't see the new trailer, stop and go moment to watch it - it's only 30 seconds long. The immediate vibes I get from watching it are basically Stand By Me meets E.T. Which, to me, seems amazing, everything I'd ever dreamt of seeing in a sci-fi film. I'd love to see a brilliant throwback to those movies. Well, Abrams also describes it like that too: "a throwback spirit that in many ways evokes E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Stand By Me and maybe even The Goonies. Those were all movies from the 1980s popcorn era that most shaped the sensibilities of the 44-year-old Abrams, and the film's title has a similar heritage connection for him." Hell yea - this sound great! But what is it even about? Here's the basic intro and setup for the movie:
The Paramount Pictures release is set in Ohio in 1979 and introduces a troupe of six youngsters who are using a Super 8 camera to make their own zombie movie. One fateful night, their project takes them to a lonely stretch of rural railroad tracks and, as the camera rolls, calamity strikes — a truck collides with an oncoming locomotive and a hellacious derailment fills the night with screaming metal and raining fire. Then something emerges from the wreckage, something decidedly inhuman.
Most may remember that's the same train wreck we saw in the first teaser trailer and is included in clips from today's TV spot. Lucky Hero Complex editor Geoff Boucher got to see 30 minutes of footage and says there's a fantastic scene he saw: "quick-cut images that reveal the young faces, the small-town vibe and the vintage textures of a movie that includes plenty of time-capsule episodes — including a sparkling moment that will give Reality Bites a run for its money in the category of best usage of 'My Sharona.' [YouTube] … [As well as] an especially savage destruction of a gas station and a heartbreaking father-son conversation. During the visit, it was also apparent that Abrams believes he has something special with the film." Yep.
Abrams continues about how it wasn't easy to pull together, either. "The movie began as two projects that ended up merging due to their individual deficiencies. The first was a non-fantastical tale of youngsters and the way they see the world and each other through the viewfinder of their Super 8 camera." But apparently not many writers were interested. "I knew characters, I knew situations, I knew there were issues of class and a love story at the core and that it would be a coming-of-age movie. A lot of the writers were lukewarm." But, "this is a movie about overcoming loss and finding your way again and finding your own voice," he says. "A boy whose lost his mother and the man whose lost his wife. There's this father who, because of the era, never really had to be the parent. He's a good man, he works hard, but he's never stepped up as father."
"As the process went along I realized I had the potential makings of my favorite sort of movie, which is the one that is the hardest genre to define," Abrams said. "That because you could say — and be right — that it's a science fiction movie; or you could say — and be right — that it's a love story; or you could say — and be right — that it's a comedy; or you could say — and be right — that it's a special-effects spectacle. That sort of cocktail is for me what I love about movies… that was the beginnings of this movie coming together."
And what it evolved into was something similar to Spielberg's E.T. from 1982, but with J.J. Abrams' own sensibilities. And I think it looks phenomenal, even the 30-second glimpse we got today. "A tale of a single-parent family and the loss of connection and home, for human and alien alike…. The film begins with a small-town factory death that is very much of the real world." One of the young actresses starring in this is Elle Fanning (Benjamin Button, Somewhere). "Elle was born to do this," Abrams says of the 12-year-old actress, "and she is just eerie in her sophistication and wisdom." It's certainly the young cast that will bring an extra dimension of character to the film. And they all look like they're giving fantastic performances, too.
For now, this is all he'll say about Super 8, and we'll have to wait a few more months until the next trailer debuts, before the movie finally hits theaters on June 10th in the summer. "We have such a challenge on this movie," Abrams pleas. "Yes we've got Steven's name on it and my name on it — for what that's worth — but we've got no famous super-hero, we've got no pre-existing franchise or sequel, it's not starring anyone you've heard of before. There's no book, there's no toy, there's no comic book. There's nothing. I don't have anything; I don't even have a board game, that's how bad it is… But I think we have a very good movie."
Based on what we've seen, and knowing that Inception pulled it off last summer, it looks like Super 8 could be one of this summer's hits, in addition to being one of the summer's best movies. We'll definitely keep you updated! Don't forget to head over to Hero Complex for the full article. Who else can't wait for Super 8?