J.J. Abrams Chats About 'Super 8', Reveals Story Info & Much More

February 7, 2011
Source: Hero Complex

J.J. Abrams Working on Super 8

"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.

Super 8 Movie Photo

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?

Super 8 Movie Photo

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VERY excited for this! i wonder how Star Trek II is coming along as well...

Nick S. on Feb 7, 2011


We get it, JJ. You won't reveal anything, and there will undoubtedly be an annoyingly elaborate viral campaign for months to come. Just show us a tentacle already, man! lol

Steven Christopher Shackelford on Feb 7, 2011


The slamming two projects together because they had individual defficiencies part makes me worried about the storyline in this :

Anonymous on Feb 7, 2011


I suddenly got bored with the idea and may wait until I see/hear more.

tra la la la la di da on Feb 7, 2011


sounds that this was rushed

Anonymous on Feb 7, 2011


There's no way... Abrams has been taking his time on this for a while. He's not rushed at all, just getting into it when it's ready, which it sounds like it was/is!

Alex Billington on Feb 8, 2011


damn! nice find.

Anonymous on Feb 7, 2011


itll be epic

A5J4DX on Nov 13, 2018


itll be epic

A5J4DX on Nov 13, 2018


Not interested, sounds like a mix match of idea that wouldn't stand on their own. It also doesn't help that their are 60 other alien based movies coming out where they have chosen to actually show something besides quick pans and edits. The teasing was kind of fun on cloverfield but after that it's getting old.

SuperL8 on Feb 7, 2011


Didn't read... One of the most anticipated films from 2011 (for me at least)... But I don't dare to think it would match Inception. That's like a M:I :))

Anonymous on Feb 7, 2011


So it's considered bad to create an original movie with no source material?

Mikejones on Feb 7, 2011


In Hollywood, yes, because the studios think it's hard to sell, no one will see it. But at the right studio with the right people, it can be a hit, and that's what they're hoping for.

Alex Billington on Feb 7, 2011


Its "Do not speak of this... if you do IT, will find you." Not "Do not speak of this... if you do, THEY will find you." I know what monster will look like, the way the monster will look is portrayed throughout the teaser as a metaphor, and will reflect on the kids, it will be scary, weird looking, non-humanoid, but good being that will only be violent towards the government and military with the big guns and heavy artillary, and yes it will have a connection with the children, rather than being looked upon by the adults as a dangerous beast. I am good at knowing this stuff and am an expert at figuring stuff out, im somewhat of a genius, as people tell me, im highly intelligent, and am compared to none, so yeah...

ImBetterThanYou on Feb 7, 2011


wow your awesome!!!! 😀

JohnSmith on Feb 7, 2011


Thank you, I Know

ImBetterThanYou on Feb 7, 2011


It's "do not speak of this...if you do...IT will find you". My mum says I'm a genius too...

Anonymous on Feb 7, 2011


I guess were both geniuses

ImBetterThanYou on Feb 7, 2011


I don't really understand what you're trying to say... but whatever. I heard what I heard in the TV spot.

Alex Billington on Feb 7, 2011


Wanna go for world domination?

Anonymous on Feb 7, 2011


Yup. Lets show the world whos boss 🙂

ImBetterThanYou on Feb 7, 2011


"...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 actually the best pitch to the movie-going audience I've read in a long time.

Anonymous on Feb 7, 2011


yes it is, isnt it, its such an original way to go about things by starting from scratch, hopefully JJ knows what he's doing.

Super10 on Feb 7, 2011


...and here's hoping it starts a trend of originality, in the Hollywood movie mill. That's probably asking a bit much though.

Anonymous on Feb 7, 2011


In Hollywood yes it is asking for much, so sick of all the remakes being made, just want to take a step back and make an original story driven movie, Super 8 will be one in a few this year of Fantastic movies.

Super10 on Feb 7, 2011


The film looks absolutely amazing. We have not seen the likes of this since the 80's and i'm ubber excited to see it. JJ Abrams is a fine filmmaker and story teller. This looks like it could make my top ten for the year but will have to wait and see.

Lost Son on Feb 8, 2011


Sounds to me more like the reworking of ET, than anything new.. Hollywood is lacking lateley for good storylines for films the movies I've seen in January are lets face it ain't up to much. There is nothing new there, they are droneing out the same crap... Lets hope that things get better later in the year.

Cineprog on Feb 8, 2011


In JJ we trust.

RandallM on Feb 8, 2011


I immeadiatly got an E.T. feel from the trailer as well. This makes me hopeful. That, and JJ can do no wrong in my eyes.

Andy Ortega on Feb 9, 2011

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