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J.J. Abrams talks Super 8 + Watch Super Bowl spot February 6, 2011

by Rosario T. Calabria , Filed under: Abrams,Sci-Fi,Super 8 , trackback

During the Super Bowl tonight, Paramount released a new TV spot for J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8″. To coincide with its release, Abrams has decided to open up a little bit about the the secretive film. Click over the jump to read what Abrams had to say about the project.

Before we get into the interview here’s the recently released TV spot:

J.J. Abrams spoke with Hero Complex | LA Times about the film, which up until had been shrouded in secrecy. What we did know is that it was set in the fictional Ohio town of Lillian Heights, and that it involved a train crash that had something trying to escape from the wreckage..and a Super 8MM camera. Here’s what Abrams told Hero Complex:

“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. Look, I feel we need a little bit of a coming-out party because we are up against massive franchises and brands and most people don’t know what ‘Super 8′ means. We’re a complete anomaly in a summer of huge films … and we don’t want to be so silent or coy that people don’t care or don’t hear about it.”

The article also gives us a better understanding of the film’s title:

“Super 8″ takes its name from the Eastman Kodak film format that became a sensation with amateur movie-makers in the late 1960s and represented a rite of passage for several generations of aspiring directors, among them Spielberg and Abrams. 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.

“Super 8″ actually began as two ideas that were eventually merged into one with the help of Steven Spielberg. Abrams was pitching a non-fantastical tale involving young kids and how they see the world through their Super 8 camera, but he had a tough job wrapping a story around it:

Abrams took the vague notion to Spielberg and they decided to investigate further but a string of meetings with top writers in town ended with a lot of shrugs and consternation. Abrams said “there was not much there and it was frustrating because it would not go away in my head. … I couldn’t tell you what the story was. 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.”

J.J. Abrams on the set of “Super 8″

But an idea that Paramount had previously purchased from Abrams would prove to be the perfect other half. The idea centered around the government protecting classified possessions from Area 51 by shipping them off to other sites aboard midnight trains — but one of those trains doesn’t reach its final destination. With the two ideas merged, “Super 8″ was formed:

Abrams had “a pretty cool premise but no characters to speak of … so I was in possession of two halves and it occurred to me after six months or so to put them together.”

The idea met with immediate approval by producer Steven Spielberg, who likened Abrams’ struggle to take a personal story and combine it with a sci-fi element to what he did in 1982 with “E.T”. “Super 8″ begins with a small-town factory death:

“This is a movie about overcoming loss and finding your way again and finding your own voice,” Abrams said. “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, he’s a deputy in the town, but he’s never stepped up as father.”

Finally, the article ends with Abrams’ challenge in making the film a hit:

We have such a challenge on this movie,” Abrams said. ”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.

You can read the entire interview here. “Super 8″ hits theaters on June 10, 2011.

Paramount released the official teaser trailer last year (May 2010). You can watch it embedded below:


Follow Russ on his blog: Your Entertainment Now and on Twitter: Twitter.com/YourEntNow.

Comments

1. jas_montreal - February 7, 2011

i love it ! Oh man, that super bowl spot caught me in a special way. Can’t wait to watch it !

2. Harry Ballz - February 7, 2011

How many here give Super 8 a super rating of 8 out of 10?

3. Stefan Chab - February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Footage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1CzuaFQ87M&feature=player_embedded

4. James Heaney - February 7, 2011

Rosario, you are ROCKING TrekMovie today. THANK YOU.

5. Riker's Dad - February 7, 2011

indeed, rosario. thanks for this

6. Norman Bates - February 7, 2011

@Harry Ballz

I’m not rating a film that I have not seen yet. I was impressed with the Tron Legacy trailers, but when I went to see the film I was well miffed! I demanded my money back afterwards!

Mother says that they dont make them like they use too…

7. Ironhyde - February 7, 2011

So… J.J still wants it to look like someobody’s been playing around with the camera and touching their fingers all over the lense… and he just can’t let the flares go. Sigh.. Ok.. It’s his style. I hate it. Weakest part of STXI by faaaarr.

8. Chris Pike - February 7, 2011

Super 8 was much more of a 70’s fad than 60’s, where it was standard or regular 8 – dual perf’ed 16mm split, super 8 was a whole new format with much smaller sprockets and a resulting larger frame.. available in cartridges.

9. CmdrR - February 7, 2011

Goonies-esque? Great trailer.
Thanks, Rosie… er, Rosario. Russ. (OK, that’s my last time attempting that joke.)

10. Jeyl - February 7, 2011

“A boy whose lost his mother and the man whose lost his wife.”

So it’s basically J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg remaking Signs. That’s what it feels like. A family must fight off aliens after the mother died some time before the events of the film. But hey, at least this will be J.J.’s second movie in a row where he kills off a mother so the father and son can have family coping time together. God knows mothers aren’t worth crap in stories unless they’re emotional baggage. If they’re not written out of the story, they’re killed off.

Kirk: I relieve you sir.
Pike: I’m relieved. Your father would be proud.

Your mother on the other hand? She’s still off planet and obviously doesn’t give a crap about your galaxy saving endeavor and being promoted to Captain of the Federation’s flagship.

11. CmdrR - February 7, 2011

10 – Jeyl — It’s OK. The academy really wanted Kirk for the football team, so they fixed it so his mom would get a cushy government job as Governor Kodos’ secretary. He also pulled some strings to land George a gig on Deneva.

12. Derf - February 7, 2011

“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.”

I’m inclined to want to see it based on the initial premise and that statement alone.

13. James - February 7, 2011

Was there a deliberate point in using James Horners snippet of music from Cocoon in this trailer? To get the point across that this is more ET/Close encounters then it is say Cloverfield/Independence Day?

14. Dawsons Creek - February 7, 2011

Holy Shit! Its the end of Trekmovie…….

15. Dee - February 7, 2011

Yes! …

16. Ensign Ro- (Short for Roland) - February 7, 2011

Personally, I find it very refreshing that something original is coming out this summer. Abrams’ concerns about it not being a sequel, based on a comic, toy, etc. is a big plus for me. If nothing else, it’s an original idea…or merging of ideas. I find that to be refreshing (at risk of repeating myself) in today’s Hollywood world of re-hashed ideas. I’m looking forward to this one.

17. Shunnabunich - February 7, 2011

It’s pretty telling of the state of Hollywood that Abrams cited having a story that, for once, ISN’T a remake or sequel of some kind…as an obstacle to getting it made, or something they needed to apologize for.

18. jas_montreal - February 7, 2011

I wonder if the trailer music was by Michael Giacchino

19. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - February 7, 2011

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.”

WOW!. An Orignal Idea for a Movie. That alone has me wanting to go and watch it. The Trailer looks to be good and I can’t wait to go and see it. WOW!. A Real movie that has not been done before. I guess there is still a little life left in Hollywood.

20. Austin J - February 7, 2011

Looks like a Live Action “Iron Giant”

WHICH WOULD BE EPIC.

21. Horatio - February 7, 2011

“We have such a challenge on this movie,” Abrams said. ”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.”

This sounds so refreshing. I hope this film is a major success if only to bitch slap Hollywood out of their current franchise fever. (Trek excluded, of course!)

22. J - February 7, 2011

”18. jas_montreal – February 7, 2011
I wonder if the trailer music was by Michael Giacchino”

If you mean the Superbowl trailer then no – Its from the Cocoon movie soundtrack by James Horner.

23. J - February 7, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODPK4Ezyq2U

from about 17 seconds in.

24. TrekMadMeWonder - February 7, 2011

Captain America is the only film to see this year.

Because there is NO Star Trek.

Why no Trek?

“Super 8″ is NOT Trek “Trekmovie.”

25. James - February 7, 2011

Perhaps this is part of JJ’s plan to get Tom Hanks (yes i know he’s not in Super 8 but him and spielberg are good pals!) to star in the next Trek film…

26. Marcus - February 7, 2011

@25-James – Yeah, Tom Hanks as the “missing” Zephrem Cochran that the ENTERPRISE discovers “alone” on a small planet.

27. James - February 7, 2011

Was thinking more as Commodore Decker actually..

28. Leo R - February 7, 2011

Anyone recognize the music used in the teaser trailer? Identical to another science fiction movie in the past.

29. James - February 7, 2011

”28. Leo R – February 7, 2011

Anyone recognize the music used in the teaser trailer? Identical to another science fiction movie in the past.”

See posts 22 and 23 – Music from Cocoon by James Horner.

30. Chadwick - February 7, 2011

I am just hoping this movie is not going to be shaky cam like Cloverfield…but a camera does drop at the end of the trailers so….yea.

Its been a week short of a month since JJ said the script is still being written for Trek 2.

31. gingerly - February 7, 2011

@20

“Looks like a Live Action “Iron Giant”

WHICH WOULD BE EPIC.”

I disagree, sorry. Iron Giant was good enough. We don’t need a live action remake.

I do like that JJ and co. aren’t giving away the entire film in the trailer, which annoys the crap out of me.

Won’t judge until I see the movie.

32. Red Dead Ryan - February 7, 2011

Looks like another J.J Abrams classic! Can’t wait for this!

33. John Lovitz - February 7, 2011

“We have such a challenge on this movie,” Abrams said. ”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.”

LOL. Welcome to where Steven Spielberg and other actually TALENTED people have already been: making ORIGINAL stuff.

34. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - February 7, 2011

looks cool

35. RaymondS - February 7, 2011

Ah, Super-8 film! Kodak introduced it in 1965 and it took the home-movie market by storm. It reached its peak in the late 1970s right before video became affordable for the masses.

Ironically, it was video that signed the alleged death warrant for Super-8 film, yet Kodak still makes Super-8 today. And home “video?” VHS anyone? Gone!

I’m probably one of the very few out there that still shoots movies on Super-8. The stuff I shot 30+ years ago is still as clean and colorful as it was the day it was shot. It was Super-8 that got me into film school at USC, where all our first semester projects were shot on Super-8.

Memories…

36. TJ Trek - February 8, 2011

come on a##ho#es.

I hate this crape dissing on TREKMOVIE for posting stuff that isn’t TREK. How many Trekkies out their only ever watch trek. Oh and how many trekkies out there are never interested in watching anything done by a “trek” director, or actor, or producor, or soundtrack composer for that matter. I can’t think of one. SO if you are dissing on trek movie because, God forbid, they posted something Non-trek that was put out by JJ Abrams, then you can go and look at Trekweb.com or Trektoday.com. Those are also great sites.

Otherwise, shut the He!! up. (if you agree with me, please put a post saying so. Maybe not as much anger though, I overdid it this time I think)

37. Trek Nerd Central - February 8, 2011

The trailer gave me chills, I’ll admit it. Right away I caught that whiff of “E.T.” and classic Spielberg.

Can’t wait!

And I agree with #31/Gingerly that it’s MUCH better not learning too much from the trailer. One of my long-running complaints concerns trailers that blow too much of the plot.

38. Red Dead Ryan - February 8, 2011

#35

I agree with what you said. Some people will complain about anything.

39. THX-1138 - February 8, 2011

Newsflash!

Trekmovie has reported on stuff that wasn’t Star Trek since day one. To get your panties in a bunch over it now is odd. I regard this site as a science fiction site covering all things related to the genre. And while we are at it, genre in general.

I know this may be difficult for some of you. I hope you can come to terms with this revelation. I mean about what the site may feature, not what I personally regard. Of that you are on your own.

Now with Super 8:

Myself, I was hoping for something less uplifting and more horror related. Not that this is going to be a bad flick or anything. I was just hoping for a “big scary bug” picture. But I guess another alien invasion movie might be going overboard.

40. keachick - February 8, 2011

#35 I am looking at possibly 200 VHS videos in front of me. We have two video recorder players. There are no videos on sale anymore, only DVDs etc and it is difficult to find blank video tapes to record on, but sometimes we do come across them and we snap them up. We record programmes and movies onto them from the television. One video player/recorder is about 12 years old and the other, which comes with a DVD player, is about six years old. Both play fine – touchwood (see me touch some mahogany).

Apart from two movies and two TNG episodes, all the Star Trek movies and TV shows we have are on VHS videos recorded off the TV.

We are not wealthy but we seem to get by OK with the tech we have.

41. skyjedi - February 10, 2011

It looks like Spielberg’ s Close Encounters/E.T. meets Spielberg’s war of the worlds.

42. Zanphers - February 11, 2011

Wow, this guy is indeed a nut case. Bad enough he screwed up on “star trek”, and made a total disaster of Cloverfield … Now he have drunk camera operators shooting this movie?

Pathetic.

Here’s a tip, Abrams, keep your drunks at home. Mount a camera to a stand to film.

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