J.J. Abrams talks 'Super 8,' past 'crazy' film projects
Director J.J. Abrams took parts of his adolescence in writing the script for "Super 8," which follows a crew of young filmmakers who witness a disaster.
The movie takes place in a small-town in Ohio in 1979. A group of youngsters witness a train crash while making a zombie movie on their Super 8 camera. Following the crash, disappearances and other strange events begin to take place in town.
"The inspiration was basically just wanting to make a movie about being a kid and making movies on Super 8 film," Abrams told OnTheRedCarpet.com host Chris Balish and other reporters at the film's premiere. "Then, obviously, the story evolved from there and became more of a love story and a family film and also a monster movie, so it was a combination of things."
When asked about why he chose to set the film in 1979, Abrams said that it seemed fitting.
"Well, I was a kid in the late '70s, early '80s, making Super 8 films and that felt right," Abrams said. "But also I wanted it to be '79 because the movie's kind of about the end of childhood, the end of an era and the beginning of young adulthood."
The Emmy-winning director said that his early work contained topics that were probably slightly inappropriate.
"I was filming a lot of really silly fight scenes and violent murder scenes, just crazy things that as a kid, I probably shouldn't have been doing," Abrams said. "But they were sort of working out ideas and responding to the horror films that as a child I was obsessed with."
The director was particularly impressed with his young "Super 8" stars, which include Elle Fanning, 13, and newcomers Joel Courtney, Ryan Lee, Zach Mills and Riley Griffiths.
"There aren't that many kids that are massively well-known really and the fact is that these were just the right kids," Abrams said. "They were fantastic and I think when you see it, you'll see that the performance by these young actors is just extraordinary."
Abrams got his start in film and television, writing "Armageddon" and co-creating shows like "Felicity," "Alias" and "Lost." The director also helmed the 2009 "Star Trek" film, and produced the Matt Reeves-directed "Cloverfield."
Abrams is currently working on a "Star Trek" sequel and "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol."
Watch the trailer for "Super 8" below.
Reporting by Chris Balish, co-host of KABC Television's entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).