In an interview with J.J. Abrams two years ago , we called the prolific writer/ director/ geek mastermind “the living embodiment of the kid in the candy store.”
You know, some appellations are just too perfect to want to change.
Fresh off hearing that his TV show “Fringe” was being picked up for a full season, Abrams sat down with MTV News to discuss the idea behind his newest hit, when we might see a “Lost” movie, and lots and lots on a little project you might have heard a thing or two about called “Star Trek.”
MTV: Are there lessons learned out of “Lost,” out of the good and the bad that came in the later seasons of “Alias” that you and [co-creator] Roberto [Orci] took into creating “Fringe,” or did you take it on your own terms?
J.J. Abrams: Yeah, you keep learning lessons. On “Alias,” we certainly learned lessons. We had issues with how the show was conceived because it was very much a serialized show, and the network very early on said, “We don’t want this to be a serialized show.” So we had to sort of change somewhere in the second year. We had to make it more of a stand-alone show, which was not what it was. The idea for “Fringe” was that we created a show that could have its own levels of mythology and confusion, but not make it a show that was impenetrable if you haven’t seen every episode.
MTV: The trio of characters at the heart of the show: Is that sort of where the show began, or was it more about dealing with the balance of science and the supernatural?
Abrams: The inspiration was to do what [David] Cronenberg did in his movies and what certainly Chris Carter did with “X-Files,” which was take characters you care and relate to and throw them into insane situations. That sort of describes, in a broad sense, my favorite movies — whatever they are. It could be “Tootsie,” “Back to the Future,” “Star Wars,” whatever.
MTV: Do you have a moment’s hesitation when you see that the “X-Files” sequel doesn’t do well at the box office this summer and think, “Well, the climate isn’t right for what the show is dealing with”?
Abrams: If we were literally doing an “X-Files” remake and not a show that dealt with weird stuff and FBI agents. There are definitely similarities, and “X-Files” is definitely an influence, [but] you never know why people respond to what they respond to, and all you can do is the best you can as often as you can.
MTV: Is there something to be gleaned from the fact that “Lost” and “Fringe” both began with a very harrowing sequence on a flight? I want to get you to cry, basically.
Abrams: I think the answer is, honestly, I was obsessed with airport movies when I was a kid, which were those crazy disaster films about airplanes. I just love them — to a degree that I actually bought the original artwork poster from “Airport 75.”
MTV: Can you categorically say on your watch there won’t be a “Lost” movie, or is it something that intrigues you in the least?
Abrams: I think that’s what they are doing every week — they are making a movie — so I can’t imagine there would be. But you never know. The one thing that makes you think, “Well, maybe,” is that ABC agreed to end the series after six years. Which is a gift, because you know you won’t have year seven and eight where you’re thinking, “Oh, this should have ended year six.” And you know how to pace yourself so that you know how to, you know, end the series. So you know there’s a chance, but my gut is that it would never happen.
MTV: “Star Trek,” this little film that you’ve directed that’s coming out next summer, where do you stand on it? Do you have a final cut, music in place?
Abrams: We’ve recorded most of the music, and we’re about a week away from locking the movie.
MTV: Can you speak to the running time? Am I in for two and half hours of brilliant “Trek”?
Abrams: It will be a two-hour movie. I’m sick of these two-hours-and-forty-five-minute movies. Seriously, it’s like I don’t have enough time to say two hours and forty-five minutes. I’m exhausted just saying that twice. I can’t stand it.
MTV: Do you have it on your iPhone or something? I heard a rumor that you had “Trek” footage somewhere.
Abrams: I did have it on my iPhone. Not the whole movie. I just had a little trailer footage. I showed Simon Pegg when we were at Comic-Con, I showed him this little trailer thing, and it was my favorite thing ever. He literally started weeping. It was ridiculous. He was sitting there, I mean, he must have been plastered. Because he was looking at my iPhone [crying].
Check out everything we’ve got on “Star Trek.”
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