At the Tribeca Film Festival recently, a series of conversations took place in what was called the “Director’s Series.” These are notable not just for who took part, but just for the fact that they are lengthy, in-depth conversations with filmmakers about film, art, and the realities of moviemaking. We posted one of these previously between Joss Whedon and Mark Ruffalo, which got up close and personal about Whedon’s career and Marvel, but this next hourlong conversation is a bit lighter in tone but no less interesting.
J.J. Abrams and Chris Rock sat down for over an hour to discuss Abrams’ career and, well, pretty much everything else. Rock admits up front he did little preparation, so what follows is very much a conversation that touches on some of Abrams’ work in television—including a pretty good Lost story—as well as his directorial features and the experience of working with someone like Tom Cruise on his first movie.
But the two also talk about what TV shows they’re watching now, Rock rails against Batman v Superman and Fantastic Four, and they discuss their philosophies when it comes to hiring actors and directors as a producer. This last point leads to a great story from Abrams about working with a difficult performer on Alias, which shaped how he approached casting from then on.
And then, of course, Abrams talks about Star Wars: The Force Awakens and addresses the criticism that the film hinged too much on nostalgia by explaining the movie very deliberately hit upon familiar beats. The full interview is absolutely worth a watch, and Rock keeps things entertaining—particularly during the Batman v Superman portion—so check it out below, via The Film Stage.