JJ Abrams Compares His Process For Super 8 & Star Trek + Video Interview of JJ w/ Spielberg

JJ Abrams Super 8 hits theaters in two weeks, and more promotional interviews with the director are dribbling out. Below we have Abrams comparing his process for Super 8 and Star Trek, plus video of JJ with Steven Spielberg and more.


JJ Abrams Super 8 interviews

Here is a roundup from some of the latest interviews with JJ Abrams promoting Super 8.

From DailyAztec: JJ Abram was asked how his creative process is different on an original project like Super 8 and franchise projects like Star Trek:

The truth is that there’s very little difference in terms of how I approach any project, because I just try and approach it from a place of being interested in the character, the premise, the world. I’ve been very lucky to get to work on projects I actually do care about, as opposed to just taking new jobs.

“Star Trek” was very much about a family. And I had never really been a Trek fan growing up, so I didn’t have that kind of baggage when I approached it, but that was for me completely about doing you know telling a story about a family, people coming together, getting to know each other, and being stronger together than they were apart. It just happened to take place in the future and in space.

And “Super 8″ was obviously very much an autobiographical piece sort of in the beginning, even though it goes to crazy places that I never got to go as a kid. But the process was very much the same you know characters I cared about. How do you go through something you know traumatic and come out the other side? And that was sort of my way into this movie. And so everything’s really always about you know trying to serve the characters in the story as best as I possibly can.

And Empire Online has an interesting video interview with Steven Spielberg and Abrams talking about their collaboration on Super 8.

And Heyuguys.co.uk has audio of their interview with Abrams, talking about Super 8 and he also contrasts how keeping the secrets were easier this time around compared to Star Trek.

JJ Abrams chats about Super 8 by tim_dunlop

We will provide more updates as additional interviews are released, especially if there is something new about Star Trek.




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I’m guessing someone will take offense to JJ’s “baggage” reference.

@1 why would someone take offense?

#1,Phil,I’m sure your right,and I don’t take much offense at it,but there is a just a bit.

cool guys

maybe Trek 2 is being delayed to allow for Spielbergs first directoral foray into space set Sci Fi?

Isn’t it great that ST is in such good hands? Remember the days when ST films were directed by the likes of Start Baird, Jonathan Frakes and William Shatner on shoestring budgets?

Not that those guys are bad directors, but they are not being asked by a master like Steven Spielberg to direct a film that he is producing for them. I’d much rather wait a few months and have the best/hottest creative team in the industry deliver a great product than go back to the way things were done in the past and have mediocre directors deliever mediocre ST films.

P.S. Imagine how this site would BLOW UP if it were announced that Spielberg has directing and Abrams was producing the next film. I’d love to see Spielberg’s take on Star Trek.


If anyone was going to take ‘offense’, they would have done so two years ago when he referred to Star Trek’s “baggage”. This time he was referring to his own baggage. Understand the difference?


Abrams producing Speilberg (being his boss)? That’s not going to happen, son.

One thing that can be taken from J.J He does care about Star Trek. He did say in the interview that he was lucky to get projects he cared about and Star Trek is one of them.
I for one am glad we got a Director and Writting teeam that care about Star Trek. Tnak you J.J and Bob Orci and the court.

Super 8 is a prequel to E.T.

Again. If not for J.J Abrams and Bob Orci and the court. We would not have had a Trek 09 and a Trek 12 coming up. Thank you Guys.

Offense? … at least for me, definitely not! … I’m not a new fan before someone thinks that … I did not start it with Star Trek … and for that I thank the director JJAbrams for making a good movie … but this issue should have already been overcome … there are people who “need” to always be talking about the same, even if nothing can be changed about it … and do what? … be patient if possible …

:-) :-)

#11,Commodore,I agree with you,I’m so glad they did what they did,and are doing!

I can see #1’s concern…..there has been a lot of complaints over the last 12 months concerning the team taking over star trek….and how JJ is not a committed fan, not comitted to the project, the writers are taking to long….thanks to you guys who have posted above me for being cool. I think JJ is an awesome story teller. Yes, the first new star trek script had some plot “blehs” in it we shall say…..but so did some of the other star trek movies…..I’m thinking of #5, I’m thinking of #1, and I’m thinking of Generations.

anyways…that’s my speak….love yah guys.

J.J Abrams is a genius and legend in the making. There can be no debate about that. We are very lucky to have him as director. Otherwise, there can and won’t be any new “Star Trek”.

And still talking about the expectations of fans… about the director and producers… this is old but I just saw yesterday… and “Trek 2” may have delayed the debut …. so … is interesting and very funny… I hope that is connected with the subject of the article … and not be deleted… CP and ZQ in Sydney, Australia …



@ 11

I really like the last movie, but I think there are also other good producers/writers out there, who could have done a good job, too.

I dunno… I kinda think Spielberg has lost his mojo. I don’t know if its because he’s growing older or if making films like Saving Private Ryan and Schindlers List fundamentally changed him, but he seems to have lost the wonderment of his earlier films. Case in point: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He’s still one of the best directors ever but he’s not the same guy he was in the 70’s and 80’s.

I’ll be curious to see if JJ is able to recapture that wonderment.

#18 i’m gona stick my neck out, just a little, and say no to that.

If anyone is interested: Ricky Gervais recently had dinner JJ Abrams. He posted a picture of Abrams on his blog (http://www.rickygervais.com/thissideofthetruth.php). Just scroll down a few entries to see it.

Off topic. I just read that Actor Jeff Conaway. Zack Allan from Babylon 5 has passad away. He was 60. Sad.

It would be cool to see Spielberg, and JJ collaborate on Star Trek.

#22,Now that my friend,would be something to see!!

@ “If anyone is interested: Ricky Gervais recently had dinner JJ Abrams.”

Wonder why he is spending time that that myopic jerk….err, I mean “cutting edge comedian.”

Love Ricky Gervais! He apparently had been the first chice for the Scotty role, but turned it down.

#16 Trust the Aussies to promote their hookers…:)! Chris could be a lot like James Kirk – nice! Chris has got his beard there as well. He obviously shaved it off once he got to Auckland (April 2009).

I suggested more than 18 months ago my desire that maybe the JJ Abrams team up with Steven Spielberg or Peter Jackson to do the next Star Trek sequel. I guess it could be a case of what goes around comes around. Been there before…groan.

#8 – If Steven Spielberg was to direct any Star Trek movie, he would obviously also be (executive) producer. The same would apply to Peter Jackson. Although Peter Jackson seems to prefer bringing to life great fantasy fiction works, like the books of Tolkien, I am sure he could bring his talents to directing a movie like Star Trek and do it well, if he had the time or a particular interest. He has neither of these right now.


“Love Ricky Gervais!”

Like that it is a shock. :-)

“He apparently had been the first choice for the Scotty role, but turned it down.”

Thank goodness that mean-spirited pr**k was not given a role in Trek.

@26. Keachick, agreed….that chic doing the Aussie interview was like trying on purpose to have her shirt fall off down to her boob level….weird, distracting and unprofessional.

#28 I did not mean quite that. Anyway, it is not the first time that I have seen young female interviewers seeming to flirt with actors/celebrities, while apparently asking oh so serious questions. Anyone would think that the interview was about the interviewer and not the person(s) they are interviewing.

It was the bit at the end of the interview where one of the Aussie interviewers told Chris and Zach to “enjoy the prostitutes”. I also note that everybody liked to interrupt the other, except, for the most part, Chris Pine. That’s how it came across to me at least.

Ricky Gervais is a bit overrated.

Spielberg has lost his touch the last few years. The last Indiana Jones film was terrible. At this point I’d much rather have Abrams direct the next ST film.

@30. Hmm, Munich in 2005 was a great film. Hard to say one bad outing, caused primarily by Georg Lucas insisting on an alien-based crystal skulls dumb-ass story, should make believe Spielberg has lost it. You need more than one data point to prove a trend.

Yeah, Spielberg is pretty much coasting now. He doesn’t have the fire of youth, the drive to prove himself anymore. He’s reached his destination. Probably nothing more deadly to the creative process than that. Abrams is the new Spielberg.

““Star Trek” was very much about a family. And I had never really been a Trek fan growing up, so I didn’t have that kind of baggage when I approached it, but that was for me completely about doing you know telling a story about a family, people coming together, getting to know each other, and being stronger together than they were apart. It just happened to take place in the future and in space.”

A perfectly reasonable POV, I guess, except–if your childhood predelication was for STAR WARS, and your writers have handed you a script that’s basically a remake of TOP GUN, why bother to put it in space or call it Star Trek at all?

“Off topic. I just read that Actor Jeff Conaway. Zack Allan from Babylon 5 has passad away. He was 60. Sad.”

Agreed. A talented guy, his performances on Taxi and Babylon 5 were always servicable, and occasionally much better than that. Such a shame, and a waste, that he had demons who ultimately hounded him to death. Hopefully, he’s found some peace.

Of all the subjects for an Indiana Jones film, the crystal skulls blow chunks. How about King Solomon’s ring of power? How about the actual sealed book referred to in Revelation?

@34. Agreed, but Lucas insisted. So I don’t hold Spielberg responsible for the bad Indy outing. And like I said, one data point (i.e. one film that was mediocre) is hardly enough evidence for me to agree with you guys that he has lost it or is costing. Tell you what, if either (or both) “War Horse” and “Tintin #1” flops next year, then I will consider your arguments on his supposed downfall.

@33. Ah Dexter, I was just thinking that it was about the perfect time and place for you predictable anti-JJ post. Well done, as always!

35. MJ – May 27, 2011

Sure, it was Lucas’ story but Spielberg decided to do it. He’s not off the hook. He directed that piece of junk. I mean, how many times do you have read that Indy survives a nukular blast by being rocketed across the desert in a refrigerator, before that starts to seem like a scene worth directing? How about:

“George, I love ya, you crazy old fart, but that scene stinks. I’m not talking mildly, either, buddy. I’m the director, right? Well I direct that scene to leave the script and hop into the trash, pronto!”

And really, sort of like Ridley Scott, I have been underwhelmed by all of his recent work. It’s mediocrity on a grandiose scale.

@37. Again, all you bring up DM is the one data point of Indy. Hardly a trend. But we will have confirmation either way on your opinion when he has those two big movies coming out next year.

Don’t know what you are smoking regarding Ridley Scott. :-) Two of his fairly recent movies, Kingdom of Heaven (Director’s Cut) and American Gangster are among the best work of his career.

DM, I do find it kind of funny that folks keep criticizing the scientific accuracy of nuke scene in Indy 4, but when God himself shows up in Indy 1 and 3, well, NO PROBLEM! :-)) LOL

38. MJ – May 27, 2011

Come on, dude. You bring up ONE movie he made in 2005 and you accuse me of sampling? Get real. I didn’t see either Munich or The Terminal, but I saw everything else and I stand by my comments. There’s far more medicriity in that group than excellence.

And Kingdom of Heaven sucked. Robin Hood and Matchstick Men left me unmoved as well.

MJ number 31

I’m not saying that Spielberg isn’t still a very good director, but he hasn’t made a truly great film since “Saving Private Ryan” back in 1998. He’s also had some real duds of late as well. A few examples would be “The Terminal” “War of the Worlds” , “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”
and “Jurassic Park: The Lost World”

I disagree with you on “Munich” I thought it was a solid film, but not much more than that…Mind you I am a huge Spielberg fan and I do feel that some of his later day films like “A.I.”,” Minority Report” and “Catch me if You Can” are quite underrated. It’s just that he isn’t turning out classics like”Close Encounters”,Jaws and Schindler’s List” these days.

@41. Well Ivory, I agree with a lot of your post here except that I really enjoyed War of the Worlds.

@40. “Kingdom of Heaven” (again, I am referring to the Directors Cut with the 40 minutes of footage missing from the theatrical version) is in my Top 10 movies of all time. So we will part ways on that opinion.

FYI — your post #40 was the first time you mentioned ANY Spielberg movie other than Indy 4 in your criticism of Spielberg, so your “Johnny come lately” mentioning of other films of his you didn’t like to prove your point is a little stale at this late hour of this discussion.

J.J. Abrams is an excellent director. But this is another one of those quotes that makes some Trekkers question whether he gets it. I’m not talking about the baggage comment. I”m talking about the quote where he says, ” telling a story about a family, people coming together, getting to know each other, and being stronger together than they were apart. It just happened to take place in the future and in space.” So Star Trek is “Lost in Space?” Star Trek is science fiction that worked on multiple levels. As Leonard Nimoy says, it had uplifting stories, was entertaining and was provocative. (Link) Or as I put it, great Star Trek consists of heart, adventure and intelligence.

I mean look at Abrams comments on Star Trek. He thought it was “a little talky.” Entertainment Weekly, 5-8-09, pg. 30. And I guess this comment was to get non-Trek fans into the theaters, “We weren’t making a movie for fans of Star Trek. We were making a movie for fans of movies.” Entertainment Weekly, 10-24-08, pg. 31. That’s why some of us question whether Abrams understands what Star Trek is about.

Star Trek 2009 is a well made movie. There were times in it, that I thought this movie wasn’t made for me, a Trekker but for the teenage kids that I coach. But whether you liked, loved or hated Star Trek 2009, the team at Bad Robot have all said they want to go deeper. So even Trekkers have something to look forward to.

Check out Nimoy’s comments at 5:30 of the video about what is Star Trek.

I wish Spielberg could go back to film uplifting movies again, it seems that all these bitter vibes of the late 90’s and post-9/11 affected his work. His movies got muddy with its sense of humor misplaced. he is now directing a movie about a dead horse, another about a robotic apocalypse, and one more movie about a dead US president. he is depressed

Not that I find his “Peter Pan” magic 80’s bearable.

Hope that JJ helps to fix this guy.

btw, fortunately, imo, it will have to be JJ to direct the sequel. I would prefer Alfonso Cuaron to direct Star Trek, but at this point of temperature and pressure, it is better a powercharged director that these powercharged (for now) producers, writers, actors would follow blindly; if mistreated and mishandled Star Trek can be pretty cornball and it happened too many times already.

Since Abrams new movie, Super 8 deals with Area 51, just thought you should know about the popular book “Area 51” by Annie Jacobsen. In her interviews she debunks the alien stuff.

But she unloads a whopper about the alien crash landing at Roswell. She says it was a Russian hoax. Stalin got Josef Mengle to create alien like humans to be crewmembers of a remote controlled ship! I’m not kidding. (Link) The purpose: Create hysteria ala Orson Welles “War of the Worlds.”

So get this. The government has given four explanations for Roswell. First, alien ship actually crashed. Nope, weather balloon. Then it was a top secret ballon to test for Soviet nuclear tests. Dummies that were dropped in the fifties were the aliens. And now, it’s a Russian hoax.

Maybe Abrams will get it right. Maybe he’ll tell us what we really have at Area 51, :-)

Roswell was a Soviet Hoax

Area 51 houses the Soviet ship crashed at Roswell

33 – agreed.
JJ appears to be OK as a director. He has only had 2 features so far, right? MI:III and Star Trek 09. I guess he could be a genius and a legend in the making, but I haven’t really seen enough to make that determination. MI:III, was OK and ST09, was, well, there was only so much he could with that script. His movies so far are, let”s say, less than genius. Super 8 may be the greatest thing since ET (which I wasn’t really that impressed with) but we don’t really know yet.
I think JJ did a serviceable job with ST09: we got an action packed summer popcorn movie that was a little better than Lost in Space in terms of remakes of 1960s science fiction shows.
And it is a real shame about Jeff Conaway.

Gah. These same quotes, out of context, over and over.

How about…

”I think a movie that shows people of various races working together and surviving hundreds of years from now is not a bad message to put out right now,” says Abrams, whose infectiously upbeat energy and disdain for cynicism are among his most marked attributes. (Not for nothing did Abrams give Randy Pausch, the now-late author of The Last Lecture and avowed Trekker, a cameo in the film.) That ethos may seem cornball to an America darkened by a decade’s worth of catastrophe, but after an election season that has seen both presidential nominees run on ”hope” and ”change,” Star Trek just may find itself on the leading wave of a zeitgeist shift — away from bleak, brooding blockbusters and toward the light. ”In a world where a movie as incredibly produced as The Dark Knight is raking in gazillions of dollars, Star Trek stands in stark contrast,” Abrams says. ”It was important to me that optimism be cool again.” (EW)

I can’t find the other darned quote, I think it was after “talky” but he elaborates and it’s a lot more thoughtful than just that sound bite.

And, yeah, we’ve probably had this talk before, but , at it’s worst, Star Trek WAS talky. And, heck, to have someone say, we’re going to do this right and make a hell of a movie for movie fans, well, that’s actually a good thing… Trek was notoriously underbudgeted and, often, I think, considered as something only fans would be interested in, and thusly not a priority. The acting was lousy. The effects weren’t always great. People would say things like, “that was pretty good, for a Star Trek movie.”

“…A family, people coming together, getting to know each other, and being stronger together than they were apart. It just happened to take place in the future and in space.”

What the heck is wrong with that? How is that different from say, Star Trek III, which wasn’t about Genesis, really, but about friendship and loyalty? The best Trek WAS universal. A lot of those stories could have happened anywhere, and some were old Western formulas. Wagon Train to the stars. Plus, Horatio Hornblower. Moby Dick. It was about people and storytelling. It was never about hard science fiction, or about a real, workable blueprint for a utopian society, other than having a united Earth and a united federation of planets where rights and fredoms are universal. Where is all this intelligence people point out? It may have been in keen character observations, or examining things like bigotry and imperialism. but it was a show for a general audience. The few social issues that were addressed, were often addressed clumsily and with broad allegories. Not that that wasn’t better than nothing.

The Trek message wasn’t about Kirk giving silly, self-important, patronizing speeches about how man had evolved, even though Kirk did that, but it was just about showing an optimistic future where we were working together, we got along and we were dedicated to exploring and discovery, at a time when races and sexes weren’t working together.

I’m done. If you didn’t like it, you didn’t like it. But the ‘Star Wars not Star Trek’ stuff drives me nuts. It’s an origin story, like Batman Begins, with not much else to it other than, they get together. Yes, they’re young. Yes, there needs to be more there, there.

@45. Dead U.S President? Dead Horse? Well of course they are dead because these are historical movies…i.e. in the past. LOL

@48. Jack, your best post ever — you nailed it!!!!!