J.J. Abrams On The ‘Almost Fatal Sacrilege’ Of Directing ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 at 6:00 pm
Sometimes it pays to be a little bit subtle, but when it comes to something like the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, it doesn’t because people want answers now. So leave it to Playboy to ask the questions, and leave it to J.J. Abrams to stand his ground and skirt around questions that everyone wants to know.
Check out what he had to say about both franchises here after the jump.
While the director wouldn’t talk about plot specifics, he did talk about how he would approach making Star Wars: Episode VII:
“Here’s the thing. I try to approach a project from what it’s asking. What does it need to be? What is it demanding? With Star Wars, one has to take into account what has preceded it, what worked, what didn’t. There are cautionary tales for anything you take on that has a legacy””things you look at and think, I want to avoid this or that, or I want to do more of something. But even that feels like an outside-in approach, and it’s not how I work. For me, the key is when you have a script; it’s telling you what it wants to be.”
The director than talked about how he would keep the two most popular scifi properties separate despite being the director of the two:
“As with anything, because these are very different worlds, they shouldn’t feel the same aesthetically. They can’t. You’re right. But again, I don’t apply aesthetics first and fit a movie into that aesthetic. If I had come into Star Trek with those eyes, I would probably have been paralyzed. The advantage here is that we still have George Lucas with us to go to and ask questions and get his feedback on things, which I certainly will do. With Star Trek it was harder because I wasn’t a Star Trek fan; I didn’t have the same emotional feeling, and I didn’t have Gene Roddenberry to go to. But I came to understand the world of Star Trek, and I appreciated what fans felt and believed about this universe and this franchise.”
When it was announced that there would be a Star Wars: Episode VII, Abram’s name was among the first to be on a short list of directors who fans would like to see helm the film. Abrams had initially said that directing a new Star Wars comes with a burden of “almost fatal sacrilege.” So Playboy wanted to know if he felt that now:
“I meant if I viewed this from a fan’s point of view””and no one’s a bigger Star Wars fan than I am””or from a legacy standpoint, it would scare the hell out of me. But instead of trying to climb this mountain in one giant leap, I’m just enjoying the opportunity and looking to the people I’m working with. I’ve known Kathy for years. I’ve worked with the screenwriter, Michael Arndt, for a long time. I’ve known George for a number of years and he’s now a friend. Even if this wasn’t Star Wars, I’d be enormously fortunate to work with them.”
Finally, the director talks about the possibility of directing Star Trek 3, despite Paramount scheduling the film for a tentative 2015 release, which is the same year Disney would like to release Star Wars: Episode VII:
“No. I would say it’s a possibility. We’re trying to figure out the next step. But it’s like anything: It all begins with the story”