After going to Houston to pick up his son, who just returned from camp in Costa Rica, the hardest working man in show business, J.J. Abrams, actually made his way to the TCA Press Tour party for CBS/The CW/Showtime to support the upcoming CBS drama Person of Interest, premiering on September 22nd and starring Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. While we will run that portion of the interview closer to the show’s premiere, we did want to post the update he gave on the status of Star Trek 2 and his thoughts on Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
According to J.J. Abrams, they’re totally focused on getting all of the important elements together for Star Trek 2 – including the story, the characters, the cast and crew, and the audience – before they worry about pre-production, locations, and the wardrobe and visual effects budgets. He also said that Paramount has been very supportive because everyone involved just wants the movie to be as good as possible, and that he won’t officially decide about signing on as director until everything is in place. In regard to Mission Impossible, he shared some insight about Brad Bird as a director, and what it’s like to work with someone like Tom Cruise, who insists on doing all of his own stunts. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
J.J. ABRAMS: Yeah. There have been a lot of things that we’ve been working on, a lot of important elements that we just know we need to really nail down and solve. Once you say, “We’re ready to go, but we don’t have a finished script yet,” or “I’m directing the thing and here’s the release date, but we don’t have a finished script,” what starts to happen – and I’ve seen this happen with a lot of friends of mine – is that you’re suddenly in production on a movie that they’re thinking, “Oh my god, we weren’t really ready. We thought we’d get it done in time, but we didn’t.” So, while we have a moment to say, “Let’s get the important things figured out,” then all the pre-production stuff will come. But, I just want to make sure that we’re putting the story and the characters, the cast and the crew, and most importantly the audience, first before we start talking about exactly which locations we’re going to be shooting at and what the wardrobe and visual effects budgets are. It just seems important that we get the important stuff right first.
Was it a difficult conversation or an easy one, given your history with them, to say to Paramount, “We’re not going to make that summer release date because it would compromise the movie ”?
ABRAMS: They so get it. All they care about – and I had this discussion very recently with Rob Moore – is that the movie be good. No one wants to take a step backwards. They’ve been great.
Have you officially signed on as director?
ABRAMS: No. But, we’re working very hard on it and hopefully we’ll have something to talk about soon.
ABRAMS: The fact is that we never booked them, so it’s not like we’re unbooking them and switching and cancelling lunch dates. They all understand. They want to be in a good movie as well.
As producer, what are your thoughts on Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Brad Bird as the director? Is it the best one in the series?
ABRAMS: I think it’s the best one of the series. I do. First of all, you’ve never seen a live action Brad Bird movie, and yet when you watch it, you go, “This is a Brad Bird movie.” You realize you’ve been watching Brad Bird films that just happen to be animated. It’s really fun. It’s got a fun intensity to it, and that’s Brad. It’s the biggest one, by far, in terms of the stuff that happens in it. Also, there are other things like a portion of it was shot in IMAX and there’s a sequence on the tallest building in the world, the Burj in Dubai, where Tom Cruise did five days worth of wire work outside the building that is so insane, you cannot believe the insurance company let him do it. When you see it on IMAX, it’s terrifying. It’s crazy, what he did. It really is unbelievable. It’s weird to be in meetings with him and think, “That dude was running down the outside of the building!” I’m talking to him, he’s in my office, and he did that. It’s weird. It’s like talking to Buzz Aldrin. You’re like, “That dude was on the moon!”
You could have been the guy who killed Tom Cruise.
ABRAMS: Well, you’re always afraid of that ‘cause Tom wants to do every stunt. But then, when he does it, you realize he can.