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Master of Mystery J.J. Abrams Talks 'Trek' & 'Star Wars' with Playboy

by
April 24, 2013
Source: Playboy

J.J. Abrams

"It all begins with the story." As everyone knows, J.J. Abrams doesn't reveal much when he talks in public about his projects and movies. There's always an air of mystery to him, but Playboy took a crack at getting the filmmaker/media maven to open up and tell his story in an interview they just published today. It's one of the best interviews with him yet and covers quite a few fascinating topics about everything from Star Trek Into Darkness to Star Wars to "Lost" to Cloverfield and so much more. The entire piece is worth reading in full, but there are a couple of quotes pertaining to the two sci-fi franchises he's working on worth featuring.

First up, while we've seen plenty of footage and have a general idea where Star Trek Into Darkness is going to go, Abrams confirms: "The next step has to be about going deeper and, yes, as the title indicates, getting a little more intense. We're testing these characters in ways they deserve to be tested." While we wait another 23 days for that to hit theaters, we're all wondering about Star Wars: Episode 7. Will he say anything? Not really, but here's one of the exchanges that starts regarding going from passing on to taking the offer.

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.

They cover a lot of ground regarding his interests, working on "Lost" and "Alias", and everything inbetween, plus his current and future plans. That's where a few interesting bits are revealed, including this exchange:

PLAYBOY: Let’s talk sequels for a minute. Since you’re doing Star Wars, does that put you out of the running to direct the third Star Trek movie?

ABRAMS: No. I would say it’s a possibility. We’re trying to figure out the next step. But it’s like anything: It all begins with the story.

PLAYBOY: What about an Alias movie?

ABRAMS: We discuss it. In the right circumstance and situation I would definitely be open to it.

PLAYBOY: Cloverfield II?

ABRAMS: Part of me just wants to let it go, though we’ve had a couple of discussions about cool ways to do it. I’m looking forward to seeing Pacific Rim this summer. It feels like there are some really big monsters coming down the pike that could inspire something we do.

For the full J.J. Abrams interview, head to Playboy.com (it's mostly SFW to read the entire 4-page article). Impressive interview, I think he gets J.J. to talk more about certain details than anyone else has before. One of his favorite answers is when he's asked about "Who's an up-and-coming director to keep an eye on?" His answer, one of our favorites: Rian Johnson. "I love what he did with Looper, the scope of the movie and the emotion—and that moment when we discover who the Rainmaker is is one of the most chilling, awesome moments I’ve seen in movies in a long time. He has a big career ahead of him." Indeed, as we've been saying. I'm excited to also follow J.J.'s career, not only with Star Trek and Star Wars, but anything Bad Robot does.

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  • OfficialJab
    I don't know about the returning cast. Carrie just doesn't resemble Leia at all any more, and I really doubt she'd be enthusiastic enough about anything Star Wars to make it worth bringing her on board. The rest are fine, but I wouldn't miss them if we went on without them.
    • http://www.facebook.com/luis.eo306 Luis Eduardo Ortiz
      She said she wanted to return. And since this project was announced a couple of months ago, I couldn't stop thinking about all the characters coming back. I have always believed that what makes sequels work are the actors and characters that made the original a success, and forwarding their story and developing it in further areas to explore. Their age and looks already present themselves to aid with the story. Have it set decades after Return of The Jedi. With Luke having rebuilt the Republic with the new Jedi. Bring back the Jedi temple. I have faith J.J. won't disappoint. He was my very first and only choice when they announced they would be making this movie. As for Star Trek 3, if he stays on as Producer like he said it would be fine. Jon Favrou stayed as Producer and IRON MAN 3 looks kick ass.
  • Playboy rocks
    Tis' a mighty interview ! Thank you. Yes, they did a great job in making him talk. Well,the readership of Playboy is much bigger than that of Empire,so that means more asses on the seats. I wish more directors would see it too. I hope they manage to get one of the Nolans for Interstellar too. Either Chris or Jonathan
  • Chris Groves
    Kudos to Abrams for giving a Pacific Rim plug!
  • protocl17@yahoo.com
    Pleae JJ bring back darth maul and kill jar jar. darth maul is outstanding.
    • http://twitter.com/Nifty_Films Nifty Films
      He was my favorite character in that film. Killing him off was one of the most stupid things that Lucas did in the new films.
      • Avi
        true very true...
      • Trek Wars
        No.There are far more stupider things he did in those movies. Also he is kind of an obvious villain.
        • http://twitter.com/Nifty_Films Nifty Films
          But was he always a villain? They could have shown a little bit of his back-story so that we could have found out more about him. Plus, he was a total bad-ass. I say either make a movie concerning him or Darth Bane. There needs to be more or the Sith side of things represented.
  • http://twitter.com/FidelReyes_ Fidel Reyes
    J.J. is a genius, plain and simple, the best thing about this guy is how secret he keeps his projects and ideas, it's better for us we get more surprised when we see the final product!
    • It's Khan
      The final product is most of the time a let down..for me anyway... ..also it's Khan....
      • N.
        Of course it's Khan!!!
        • Trek Wars
          No but really .According to furiousfanboys dot com. also the movie is pretty lame imho
    • Avi
      j j is no genuis! Kubrick,Scorsese,Cameron,Chaplin,Malick they are genuises! When he makes a movie like inception he is a genuis! All he does is reboots in a great way but genuis noop!
      • OfficialJab
        All he does is reboots?
  • Skynet300
    Bring back Darth Maul!!!!!!!!!!!! Please:)
    • JBrotsis
      No.
    • http://twitter.com/Nifty_Films Nifty Films
      YES!!!!!! *Team Darth Maul*
    • Avi
      yes he should come back! My favorite!
  • JBrotsis
    After reading the way he thinks before diving into directing a movie, I gotta say, JJ has got to be one of the BEST directors of our time! I was hoping he'd mention some of "LOST" as I was hooked to that show religiously (though wasn't too fond of the ending). I know they said after 2015 there will be a SW every year, but I really hope that doesn't mean we have to wait till 2018 to see the third installment of Star Trek 3.
  • http://twitter.com/Nifty_Films Nifty Films
    So it's now okay to say that you read Playboy just for the articles.
  • N.
    I trust JJ I'm sure he'll bring justice and peace back to the galaxy!

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