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Today there was a Geek Summit of sorts with an Entertainment Weekly hosted panel with Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams at San Diego Comic Con. Unfortunately there was no discussion of the Star Trek sequel, but there was news from Whedon on The Avengers, and Abrams confirmed the start date for Super-8 and also said some interesting things about 3-D. More details below and a full report below.
JJ Abrams talks Super-8 & 3D – Josh hearts Star Trek
Highlights & Key quotes
Joss Whedon confirms he will direct The Avengers
Abrams says shooting begins on Super-8 in September
Super-8 WILL NOT be in 3-D
Abrams’ Bad Robot is working on developing an Internet series/movie (like Whedon did with Dr. Horrible)
JJ Abrams on 3-D movies:
When you put the glasses on, everything gets dimmer. It all gets a little gray and muted. You get into it, my brain adjusts to it after a while, but for the first few minutes, it seems less than the experience…I’m not totally on board
Joss Whedon on Abrams Star Trek movie:
I keep watching it! [Star Trek] I have had moments of sheer —– panic because I love it so much. It is a gold standard for a team movie, for a summer movie, for any movie that has come out in the last couple of years. And it makes me throw up with fear.
POLL: 3D Trek sequel? Could it be that the Star Trek sequel will buck the new trend for summer blockbusters, and not be in 3-D? What do you think?
JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon at Comic-Con 2010
Full report: Abrams/Whedon Comic Con Panel Report
by Hillary Rothing [Originally posted on UGO.com]
The music of Dr. Horrible got everyone in the mood as we awaited the arrival of the "Visionaries" of the hour, Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams. There was high hope the two would hit on a number of talking points, Star Trek, LOST, Super 8, The Avengers and the biggest fanboy wet dream of all, a collaboration. No collaboration coming and aside from Joss’ confirmation that he is indeed, directing The Avengers, (while getting in a joke about Marvel’s inability to draft a proper press release out) we didn’t get too much intel on the immediate future for these two. But what we did get was some insight into the pairs take on the future of serialized television, 3-D filmmaking, the necessity of or lack thereof, of film school and plenty of jokes from Whedon.
What better way to start to begin this gathering of fans at the alter of Whedon and Abrams than with stories from their early days as mere fans, themselves. As a kid, J.J revealed that he was a bigger fan of the guys the who did the
make-up and effects on his favorite films rather than big name directors. Abrams explained that he would send fan letter to the make-up artist on The Exorcist, which yielded him a prop tongue, send to him with a letter from the artist suggesting he spread some peanut butter on the grotesque prop. Joss, sadly could not top the tongue story. However he did joke that he’s got an alien egg but he had to bury the franchise in order to get it. And thus an hour of classic Whedon wisecracks ensues.
Asked when they decided to become storytellers, Joss explained that it was something he always wanted to do because "making an honest living sounded really hard." It was those early days of writing TV specs in order to get by that make him realize writing was where he would find himself.
Abrams, it turns out "was the idiot who loved to do magic tricks for his relatives." It was "that feeling of creating an illusion and making people believe it" that appealed to him. With that, came mention of a debate between Brian K. Vaughn and Drew Goddard about who is more pathetic comic nerds or magic nerds. According to J.J. neither are pathetic. Well maybe magic nerds.
And then Jeff "Doc" Jensen asked the elephant sized-question that had been taking up space in the room thus far. Yes, Joss Whedon is officially directing The Avengers, something that’s clearly a personal dream a guy who claims the "seminal superhero stories of (his) youth were The Avengers and Thing one annuals."
On the comics end of the spectrum, J.J. sited his time spent working in a comic shop as influential but claims it was TV series like The Twilight Zone that provided that early inspiration and draw towards Hollywood.
Next, Jensen asked Joss about his "take" on The Avengers. "I have to have a take?" was Joss’ response. He’s still writing an outline and in the stage of reworking it, said Whedon. But as far as his "take" Whedon said the thing he loves about The Avengers is "just how completely counter-intuitive it is. It makes no sense these people should be in same the room or on same team – and that is the very definition of family." Funny guy, that Joss Whedon
Next up was talk of J.J. mysterious Super 8. Abrams explained that his inspiration came from working on the restoration of Spielberg’s early works, which ultimately led him to call Spielberg with a pitch. The film will start shooting in September. Said Abrams, "the movie is in the spirit of the films (Spielberg) made years ago. It’s personal and hyper-real." And no, it won’t be in 3-D.
Which of course, led to a discussion on that very trendy form of filmmaking these days. Joss joked that he likes the format but said that some movies should not be in 3-D like Cabin in the Woods. For Abrams, 3-D "feels a little grey and muted. You get into it but he always seems less than the experience…I’m not totally onboard (with 3-D).
So are the two specifically writing for 3-D at all? Not especially it seems. Joss, again cracking jokes left and write, told a story about watching a bizarre horror movie on TV only to realize it was the Friday the 13th flick but with no violence no sex and of course, no 3-D and it was better.
Jensen next asked Joss about Dr. Horrible and long-standing rumors of a sequel. Whedon said it’s something that he, brother Jed and Mo Tanchareon have talked about over the years but nothings come of it yet, although some songs have been written. All three really want to do it said Whedon, but it needs to be on their "terms which seem to be interminable."
Regarding creating content for the Internet, Whedon said he felt like he "missed the boat on that" perhaps but did reveal that he started to work on an Internet piece with Warren Ellis called Wastleanders that he was going to direct. But then The Avengers came along…
Elaborating on the accessibility of filmmaking for the Internet, Abrams said the means are certainly there, explaining how he shot a recent Star Trek DVD trailer on a camera he used for his kids soccer games.
Of course, the topic of Whedon’s equally shaky and successful relationship with television came up. The situation with FOX and Dollhouse? Whedon said he "didn’t think it through." The networks want "sexy" but then they don’t seemed to be the crux of Whedon’s dilemma with FOX. Abrams added that he doesn’t think the networks are as interested in serialized stories as we’d like them to be. Added Whedon, "the networks will never admit that people want serialized shows. They see an easy cash cow in something like The Mentalist. When LOST was huge the networks still spoke against serialized story telling. They are thinking about their bottom line….With TV it’s about appealing to the audience and the first audience is the networks."
Whedon suspects he may be a better fit for cable. I like the sound of that. But Whedon’s happy to be working with Marvel, where he can do what he wants. Asked how he’ll reconcile he very unique approach to storytelling and dialogue with The Avengers, Whedon said "I think it’s very easy to fall into the aesthetic of something you love. My wish is to create something that comes from within but (The Avengers" has an established tone and I am going to respect that."
What about his thoughts on JJ’s end of the blockbuster movie making business? "I had moments of sheering fucking panic because I loves Star Trek so much. It’s the gold standard for a team movie, a summer movie or any movie that has come out in the last couple of years and it makes me throw up with fear."
On the topic of LOST, its end and J.J. thoughts on it were addressed.
"What Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse did was an amazing thing. When we first started and Damon and I wrote this Bible of what it would be, we were optimistic. A lot of things ended up in the series but most of them did not. Carlton Cuse came onboard and they all started making it what it became. There were ideas we thought were cool but we knew we had to be flexible. You could not anticipate Michael Emerson coming on board, which was supposed to be for a couple of episodes. They had to be entirely flexible and listen to the show. I personally believe that Damon and Carlton kicked ass and wrote an amazingly emotional episode for the finale.
Finally, the pair was asked if either of them kept any paraphernalia from their various projects. Said J.J., "I’ve got some phasers and cool gear from Trek but I don’t want to be one of those scary people on the shoe hoarders. Holy sh*t! Have you guys seen that show?"
Yes, we have J.J. but we’ll still take phasers or DHARMA jumpsuits you’ve got lying around.