Steven Spielberg & J.J. Abrams Talk SUPER 8

     May 26, 2011

Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams SUPER 8 slice

In just two short weeks we’ll finally get to see J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg’s alien conspiracy collaboration Super 8 and yet unlike most blockbusters in the pipeline, we still know very little about it. Much like on Abrams’ Cloverfield, the marketing department has wisely played their cards close to their chest and audiences are going to get the increasingly rare experience of walking into a major blockbuster without knowing exactly what they’ll see.

That said, the mystery surrounding Super 8 has only raised the demand for info on the project and today anyone hungry for details about the movie will have their desires met by none other than Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams. The pair rarely ever speak to the press these days (as only filmmakers of their considerable box office clout can), but a video interview with the dynamic duo has surfaced on the internet today that reveals some fresh and thankfully spoiler-free tidbits on the highly anticipated project. Geeks can officially start salivating. Hit the jump to see video footage of this rare sighting of Spielberg and Abrams together, hereby crushing rumors once and for all the Abrams is actually Spielberg going through a Benjamin Button-style reverse aging process.

super-8-movie-posterHere are some interview highlights for anyone who doesn’t have 13 minutes of sweet video watching to spare, but still wants to hear what Abrams and Spielberg have to say about Super 8:

-The film came out of Spielberg and Abrams’ nostalgia for shooting 8mm movies as kids.

-The movie was initially conceived as a story about fledging child filmmakers discovering they accidentally shot a Zapruder-type film with something in the corner of the frames that will unlock a mystery. It was always intended to be a personal film about Abrams’ childhood filmmaking days with a genre element added to give it a wider appeal. Initially it was going to be a heist movie before Abrams decided to combine the idea with another concept for a sci-fi/monster movie that he was working on.

– Sound designer Ben Burtt (Star Wars) worked on the film and brought in a super 8 movie he made as a teenager that incorporated a real train wreck which was eerily similar to the film the kids make in Super 8. Spielberg also revealed that his first 8mm movie was of a train wreck with model trains.

-JJ Abrams claims the movie wasn’t intended to be a direct homage to Spielberg movies from the 70s and 80s. It was always meant to be an homage to a time in Abrams’ life that was so important to his development as a filmmaker, but that time was hugely impacted by Spielberg’s movies. So the homage to movies like ET and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind was never deliberate, but it felt right.

-They wanted to set the movie in the 70s because so much more craft was involved in physically making amateur movies at that time. Spielberg thinks digital technology is a great outlet for young filmmakers today, but in the 70s it required more passion and effort to make 8mm movie and that seemed more dramatically interesting for the film. JJ also enjoyed the fact that kids making movies at that time would be more oddballs and outcasts than kids doing it today.

– Both Spielberg and Abrams admit how difficult it is to create an original movie monster these days, but relished the challenge and are quite pleased with their results. Abrams said that he was also very influenced by Alien in terms of holding back on seeing the monster until the very end to derive more fear and suspense out of the unknown.

Here’s the video clip courtesy of Empire:

jj_abrams_image__3_All in all, it was a pretty great interview. It’s so rare to see those guys speak that it’s always a pleasure. The fact that the movie has a personal element to it is promising in an age of product driven blockbusters, so hopefully that ends up being as integral to the film as they suggest. It’s also great to know that Abrams will continue to use the “fear of the unknown” as his guiding principle for the suspense and scare scenes in Super 8. Considering how well he pulled that off in Cloverfield and Lost, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Super 8 definitely looks promising and it’s nice to know that auteur driven blockbusters haven’t died out entirely. Abrams is one of the few directors in Hollywood who can put together a big movie with no stars and market it with his own name and it’s great to know that he’s taking advantage of that. With the ultimate blockbuster auteur Spielberg working on the movie as a guiding hand, the potential for this sucker to entertain on a grand scale is through the roof. Hopefully it can live up to the hype. We need at least some genuine summer blockbusters without The Rock these days. We really do.

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