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This weekend fans will finally get to see what writer and director J.J. Abrams and executive producer, Steven Spielberg, have created in “Super 8.”
The story begins with a group of children filming movies with their Super 8 mm film camera, but after witnessing a mysterious train crash, the children begin to document strange events and begin to wonder if it was an accident at all. The film stars Kyle Chandler of Friday Night Lights fame.
Abrams spoke to the CU Independent and discussed his original story and working with Spielberg.
CU Independent: Can you talk about the writing process and inspiration for the story behind “Super 8”?
Abrams: It’s primarily a look at these kids and their parents; a coming-of-age and a love story that is kind of fused with, essentially, a monster movie.
The original idea was for a movie that revolved around a revisiting of my childhood, which was being a kid and making Super 8 films. At first I thought that was it, but then I sort of ended up coming up with a bunch of characters, which I loved, and thought there could be a story. But, the more I thought of it, the more it needed something that was a little bit bigger than just this group of kids and their parents. Then I hit upon the idea of combining that notion with another one that I’d had: a thing that escapes from a train car en route from Area 51. I thought, not only is it a bigger idea and has some spectacle to it, but it also allows the kids, who are making this scary zombie movie, to suddenly become, in a way, characters in a much more real and terrifying movie.
CUI: Could you try to describe the difference in your creative process, if any, between doing original films like “Super 8″ and franchise films?
Abrams: The truth is that there’s very little difference in terms of how I approach any project. I just try and approach it from a place of being interested in the character, the premise, and the world. Everything is really always about, you know, trying to serve the characters in the story as best as I possibly can.
CUI: What is the relationship like working with a producer like Spielberg?
Abrams: He set the standard. He was always honest, thoughtful and wise beyond even my expectations. The key to his genius, I think, is that he is simultaneously astute and wise about the ways of the business and the ways of story and the ways of film making. He just seems like sort of the oracle of ideas, and at the same time he is a little goofy kid. It’s the greatest thing, he has never lost that most precious thing, a sense of wonder. The ability to be both of those things, to be that wise and that childlike, is sort of ideal and something I respect enormously.
Spielberg was wonderful to work with, and there are other directors whom I also obviously admire enormously and consider huge influences, but no one as much as Steven. And working with him was a complete joy. His feeling is that there are certain conventions of the genre that you have to embrace. The point of a movie is being true to the point of view of the main characters because that really is everything.
He was a hero of mine when I was a kid, and to get to collaborate with him was surreal sometimes, and other times just wonderful.
CUI: What first attracted you to Kyle Chandler, as a potential star in this movie, and what are your expectations for Kyle Chandler’s career after “Super 8”?
Abrams: I think that it’s all downhill for Kyle after “Super 8.”
No, first of all, it’s incredibly annoying working with someone who makes people swoon. It’s literally like you cannot go anywhere without people just saying “Oh, Kyle! Kyle!” I get it. I cannot say enough good things about him. He’s as likable and as thoughtful and as fun as you would hope he would be. He’s crazy talented.
I think that Kyle is going to have his pick of what to do, and I just hope I’m lucky enough to get to work with him again, because I had the greatest time with him.
“Super 8” open in theaters everywhere June 10.
Contact CU Independent Entertainment Editor Anne Robertson at Anne.email@example.com.