Abrams on Howard Stern: Talks Strike, Shatner, Cloverfield ‘Sickness’ And More [UPDATED: Abrams on Opie & Anthony Too]

Star Trek producer/director JJ Abrams called in for an interview with the Howard Stern Show and being that it was Howard Stern, questions ranged from “is your wife hot?” to “did you bang Jennifer Garner?” to “how much money do you make?” to “is Tom Cruise nuts?” But he also took some serious questions about the writers strike, people getting sick watching Cloverfield and, of course, Star Trek (and Shatner). See below for some select quotes and the full audio interview.
[UPDATE: Abrams also called in to Opie and Anthony Show…details and audio below]

JJ Abrams quotes

On writers strike

If you are a writer/director you are striking on the one hand but also, if you are lucky, working on the other hand. I am directing this Star Trek thing and so there have been days I have been striking and picketing in the morning as a writer, and then I go ‘I got a be a director’ and I walk into the studio. So it is really screwed up.

On if he will go over budget on Star Trek?

When we did MI3 I made sure we came in under schedule and under budget. It matters to me. I don’t know why I care so much….part of it comes from working in television. When you work for the WB [Felicity] you had no more than what you were given, there was no such thing as ‘over budget.’

On Zachary Quinto (new Spock)

That guy is so great, I love that guy…He is the greatest. It is freaky how great he is.

On Shatner
Stern brought up Shatner and played a clip of Shatner on his show saying that he was ‘disappointed’ about not being in the film. This resulted in the following exchange:

JJ: I love Shatner. He is classic, he is the greatest
Robin: But Leonard Nimoy is in it
JJ: The thing is that Shatner filmed a scene in one of the movies where he died.
Robin: but Leonard Nimoy is in it
JJ: Because Spock didn’t die. Spock lived on.
Howard: But a young guy is playing Spock
JJ: We go back, there is a different time frame, but the idea that Shatner is not in the movie for any other than the fact that his Kirk died is ridiculous. I would put him in the movie in a second. I love that guy. I used to love him more for the couple of Twilight Zones he did then even Star Trek.
Gary: In one of the movies didn’t Spock die and then in another movie they brought him back.
JJ: Yah, but given what the story was it made sense for that story. But given our story it would feel like — even though it is Star Trek and science fiction thing, we want this thing not to feel like fanboys who are just shoving this guy back in because we are fans of his. We want the story to be better.
Gary: so you are going to cover every time frame in Star Trek history except the time frame that Kirk was alive?
Howard: I guess Shatner is a major pain in the ass to deal with
JJ: It would be distracting if you are watching the movie and all of a sudden we come up with some way to cut to Shatner. He said to me he didn’t want to do a cameo. And I thought that is fantastic and I appreciate that, but A. it is not the story we are telling, B. your character is dead, and C. if we put you in, he is so well known for some much else as well….
Howard: [cutting him off] Of course, you don’t have to explain yourself.

On Cloverfield ‘sickness’ and sequel
Stern took a call from someone who said “My wife and I saw Cloverfield and she vomited half way through it…it was awesome.” This prompted Robin to mention that there have been reports about people getting sick during the movie. [see article at MedicineNet]. Abrams admitted that some people were getting sick and that it was due to seeing the amateur-style camera on the big screen. He recommended that pregnant women and those on some medications should not see the movie. Another caller commented that the film was disappointing and that it didn’t answer any questions. To which Stern added a question about a sequel. Abrams replied to both:

There may be. I know that the studio is probably going to want one and we just need to make sure it is the right thing. I am sorry you didn’t like the movie, it is definitely not for everyone and I especially apologize if you threw up on yourself.

On Tom Cruise
Abrams wouldn’t take any of Stern’s baiting on his friend Tom Cruise, but did deny that Cruise had tried to covert him. Abrams did confirm TrekMovie.com’s earlier report that Cruise and his daughter Suri visited the set of his Star Trek movie.

For more listen to the entire Abrams interview from the Howard Stern Stern Show:

For more on the Stern Show, goto to Sirius Radio

UPDATE: Abrams on Opie and Anthony
Abrams called into to The Opie and Anthony Show (who also had Cloverfield star TJ Miller in the studio). For the most part they talked about Cloverfield, but did talk a bit about Trek.

Abrams on if Kirk is a womanizer in his Star Trek?

He really wouldn’t be Kirk without some of that

TJ Miller talked about how he visited the set of Star Trek and that the film “was going to be amazing from what I saw.” Abrams also ribbed him for when he talked to Chris Pine he pretended to be some big time actor, but was kidding, but Pine thought he was serious and ‘was a big jerk’ which Abrams thought was hilarious.

LISTEN: Click to listen to the audio from Opie and Anthony

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Well, it looks like Shatner is DEFINITELY NOT in the movie!

Abrams is clearly a classy guy. Good luck to him!

I’ll be sure to wear a hoody to Cloverfield in case someone in the row behind pukes up…

Agreed. Class act. IMO, we are finally hearing more fleshed-out reasons as to why Shatner wouldn’t be right for this story. Sounds legit to me.

I still don’t buy the reasons (though I personally don’t care if Shatner is or isn’t in the movie – I don’t feel it matters): for me it’s just economic stuff (i.e. too much to pay) mixed with his ego.


… but I gave up on the Howard Stern crew years ago. You think the message boards HERE can be harsh??? They all sound like a completely miserable, nasty bunch. Just couldn’t even stand their voices anymore.

I’d say when a film more than doubles its budget on opening weekend, the studio will want a sequel. Nice to see success coming to a guy who by all accounts seems really nice and down to Earth.


#6, if you gave up on Stern years ago, you need to listen to the Sirius version of his show. You’d find it way better than anything he’s ever done.

Damn Rick Berman for killing off Kirk, we’d have Shatner in this movie otherwise!

I always hated the fact not that Kirk died, but HOW he died. Here’s a guy who has stood up to Klingons, Romulans, Tholians, evil alien world leaders, omnipotent beings, natural and artificial disasters, saves the world and the universe countless times over AND HE DIES BY FALLING OFF A BRIDGE?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I enjoyed the unusual way the story was told in Cloverfield, more a “you are there” effect, but my wife felt woozy coming out of the theater and was kind of disjointed for awhile.

Probably won’t be such a disorienting experience when watched on a TV.

Shatner wouldn’t be happy with a cameo? As usual his ego pushed him to want to dominate the latest movie!

Not to mention, one can only imagine how much money he wanted for his limited participation in the film.

His recent behaviour has eroded a tremendous amount of goodwill old time fans felt for him…………..SAD!!!

too bad Bill won’t be in it. But, JJ is right. He filmed a death scene where it would be very convoluted to get him in this movie.

Does anyone else think JJ looks like a young Kurt Russel?

My wife was also disappointed in the lack of questions answered in Cloverfield. I thought it was great, because you don’t NEED to know anything else but what the characters are feeling.

I’d LIKE to know where the monster came from, but that’s what comics/books are for.

How about the next movie being “Star Trek 12: The Wrath of Kirk”?

Maybe Cloverfield 2 could be the same movie filmed in a more traditional and structured manner. With answers, and without vomiting, I mean.

The folks complaining about Shatner’s absense and Cloverfield’s lack of answers sort of seem to be missing the point, generally. ‘Uh, we don’t get it”

So, what IS the point then?

They should do a short with him after the credits. It could be funny. :)

Shatner not in the movies??? When did this happen?

JJ’s gotta be pretty well centered to go on Howard Stern in the first place. He’s lucky they didn’t have him firing hot dogs at lesbians. Stern is the sewer’s sewer. Still, sounds like JJ did fine. Some day, we’ll get a straight answer on Tom Cruise, but then again I really really don’t care.

Cloverfield 2? With more traditional and structure? Does anyone remember what happened with Blair Witch Project and when they tried to do a sequel? I hope that they just leave it alone….

youd have to explain alot to get Shatner in the movie……Kirk comes back from the dead…. and gains 50 lbs. Shatner would look rediculous on screen as Kirk at this time. And thats all anyone would think about if he saw it.

My dear friend had to sleep thru the movie in order to suffer motion sickness that she is prone to have with me when we did not realize the cam was wildly and constantly moved around. :(

Anybody heard anything about what approach ILM is taking for the film’s special effects? Sadly, as much as I prefer they build a real-time model of the Enterprise, I know that they will probably do it CGI (especially knowing that ILM shut down their model shop a few years back).

I know CGI is the favored approach these days, but I still think for scale and realism, a model looks better. That said, special effects artists are getting better and better at it.

I cannot wait (I am one of those who feel the Enterprise is as much a character as the rest of the cast– yes, I know that sounds a little dumb… remembering Scotty’s comment “if you treat her like a lady she will always get you back home.”) to see how she looks on the big screen.

I have a feeling JJ and crew is making us a movie that is going to knock our socks off!

“Damn Rick Berman for killing off Kirk,” 8. Wobo – January 24, 2008 – It was not just BERMAN! Shatner AGREED to the death of Kirk! I wish people would stop blaming Berman and co. for something that Shatner wanted! Shatner has an ego roughly the size of our solar system, he wont do cameo’s! Ha! He does half baked comercials! I used to respect him but over the years I have actualy grown to dislike him, why? Because he has become egotistical and arrogant and a hypocrite. If he aint the star he wants nothing to do with it.

All this talk of Shatner being in the movie reminds me of all the talk in the late ’80s about how Elvis faked his own death and is living in a trailer park somewhere. It culminated one night on the tonight show when Johnny Carson tracked down the very thin and aged Elvis who was indeed living in a trailer park, just so he could “put to rest any rumors that Elvis is dead.”

You’re dead, Jim. But we’ll always love you!

#24 “If he aint the star he wants nothing to do with it.”

In spite of your screen name, you sure seem comfortable going off over stuff you have no real knowledge of.

The director is famous for inexplicable happenings.

So, you can either believe him face value- no Kirk, which I definately do, or you can think, at the end of the film, much like 2001: A Space Oddyssey, there is Shatner… for no explained reason… he’s just there, in his santa claus uniform and he says something odd like “Butterbrickle is good on the knees.” Roll credits…

I’m sure they could have come up with something if O and K are as clever writers as they’re pumped up to be. Oh well. Shatner in Trek 12? Sad thing is, Shat will pass away and the greatest Berman F-up will go unfixed on screen.

However, I’m sure Trek 11 will be a good movie, even if it is a complete reboot.


It was Berman’s idea of killing Kirk/Shatner off; therefore, he was to be goddamned!

Kirk is as alive now as he ever was. Every time you watch him on the screen or read his books, he is as alive as he was before Generations.

Kirk, the fictional character, is alive in our minds, the only way he ever lived.

Shatner playing Kirk now would be a joke. Let’s let Kirk live in our minds as he was…

am i the only person annoyed with him repeatedly calling this project ” that star trek thing “

No one in the theater I was in got “sick” from watching Cloverfield, not even my wife, who has epilepsy.
What a bunch of babys.
Besides if it bugs you, CLOSE YOUR EYES, stupid!

JJ has too much class for appearing on a show like Stern’s.
Stern’s an ignorant douchebag and proves it constantly by appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Now where’s the construction-cam bridge shot?

How can you not love that apology. “I’m sorry if you threw up on yourself.” Good times. Can you imagine Spielberg or Lucas saying that about one of their films? By the way, I did throw up in my mouth a little during Episode II.


‘Tis funny how we canna ever exhaust our conversation about Shatner…

To rememdy this, I am currently “re-mastereing” me won versions of TOS epsiosdes in which I digitally replace Shatner’s head with various other actors, including one of the Telly Tubbies… arrrrr… it be like therapy… like that device Tinky Winky… errrr… I mean Kirk was strapped to as Inspector Luger spun a lit wheel above him… arrrr…

Awwww… I still am entertained by Shatner and have me affections for the bloke… his strong Kirk interpretation helped sealed the legendary status of th’ show…

But enough. No need to keep o-Pine-ing about Billy Boy….

-9 Actually he “died” saving the Enterprise BEFORE he “died'” falling off that bridge.
He’ll never be dead. He’ll always be THE CAPTAIN!!!

If a sequel to Cloverfield is made, I hope it’s filmed in the traditional way!!

Abrams is SO right about how incredibly transparent and fanboyish it would look if they tried to fit Shatner into this movie. It would look like really bad fanfic.

The fact some fans can’t recognize that makes me VERY glad they aren’t writing for Star Trek.

34 what an idiot possin for a pic when hes signed the contract not to talk or take pics

Again, I ask the question: why did JJ simply cast Shatner as Kirk’s dad? That would have solved the entire quagmire of Kirk, while placing Shatner in the movie. I suggest you try to get this question answered, rather than focusing on the current string.

#19: “straight answer on Tom Cruise,”

*Straight* answer… BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!

Given the rumors that have been flying about his orientation for years, you a funny guy, Cmdr.R!

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

I just watched Star Trek VI last night and not only was Kirk alive, but so were DeForest Kelley and James Doohan. And that was the last time we would see them, true to their characters. Whether Shatner appears in Trek XI or not, that doesn’t change the fact that the trinity of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy is already gone. That dynamic can no longer exist on screen as it once did since one of the key actors is dead. Sure, you could always put Kirk and Spock together, but McCoy was always a vital part of balancing out the other two by acting as the conscience of the captain and the humanitarian.

That is pure genius. I think they SHOULD include that.

Did you notice … at one point during this interview, JJ attempted to use the lamest excuse that pops up in these very threads from time to time: having Shatner in the movie would be “distracting”, because he’s so well known for other things. Man, is that insulting! It’s the equivalent of saying Paul McCartney would be too distracting at a Beatles tribute show. Shame on you, JJ. GRRRRRR.

Berman – killed Kirk

Abrams – put nail in coffin

I hope to high heaven this puts an end to the Whither Shatner debate.

Everyone who’s been threatening to boycott the movie if he’s not in it can leave the building. . .


Oh, c’mon. Do we really need Tom-Is-Gay jokes? Aren’t they a) creaky and b) pointless? Can we NOT go there?

#40: Your answer is: “He said to me he didn’t want to do a cameo”

43 – Well, Paul would be distracting at a Beatles tribute show, since its a tribute show.

And also, since Ringo may not do it, and the other 2 have died, yes, Paul would be a distraction.

#19. Spoken like someone who knows nothing about Howard Stern or his show.

JJ was a great guest. He was honest, forthcoming, and funny. Star Trek is in good hands.

I’m distracted by the stupidity of the argument that Shatner’s presence would somehow be a distraction (sounds like a line out of Moonlighting)

This is a Star Trek movie. William Shatner is the most well know member of the Star Trek cast. If you said to me they were putting Madonna in the film… I would say yeah, that could be a distraction, but Shatner?

It’s time for Kirk/Shatner fans to face the fact that they never wanted Shatner and he will not be in the film.

This is colossal mistake for no other reason than it would have been cool/fun to see Shatner + Nimoy together one last time as Kirk and Spock. Please spare the argument that it would be “too fanboyish” to have Shatner in the film. This is a new Star Trek film we are talking about, not a new work of art from William Shakespeare.