Thursday, May 21, 2009

Post Trek Interview With Abrams

AICN has posted a post-Trek release chat with director JJ Abrams as he discusses his approach to the film and its current success (the movie has passed Wolverine in box office for the year). Below is a few answers but the full interview can be found here.

Quint: It’s not even an opinion at this point. Look at the success of the film so far, both critically and monetarily. I think it’s pretty clear that you guys have hit that sweet spot, which, I still don’t know how you guys were able to do that.
JJ Abrams: I think that part of it was that Alex (Kurtzman) and Bob (Orci) and Damon (Lindelof) are so well versed in TREK and yet they’ve got a great perspective on how TREK is perceived outside of that fanbase. And then you’ve got myself and Bryan Burk even more so, who were less familiar and so we had to this sort of range of experience with STAR TREK and a range of knowledge of it. And so you had the inside out and the outside in working together to make the movie and it really was the litmus test for us, which was “What is the story and the narrative of the story that we would all appreciate?” Once we got to that, we felt like we might be on to something.

Quint: Well, you seem to inject a lot of the adventure of a STAR WARS into the STAR TREK universe and you are also able to figure out the one way to reboot it where you kind of take away any arguments you have about bastardizing or going off canon. You were able to find a way to give yourself freedom to have fun with the movie and not be so tied.
JJ Abrams: I think that the convention of breaking away from the timeline, which just obviously gave us the freedom to tell a story that wasn’t constrained by canon, but at the same time… and the weird part is that we also had to embrace it, because that’s what we were inspired by and we had to honor it and make sure that we weren’t insulting, as much as we could, the fans of TREK.

And we knew no matter what we did, that there would be some percentage of STAR TREK fans that would hate it. We just knew that there was no way to make everyone happy and yet it was important that we try and so that was the approach. The other weird balancing act is that it was simultaneously its own thing, but it was also adhering to what has come before. It was a vision of the future that needs to work in a way that was relevant for today, but also was a vision of the future from fifty years ago, so there was a lot of bouncing back and forth. There was a brand new cast and yet it also had a character played by one of the original actors, so it was a strange backwards/forwards original piece that was also trying to adhere to what came before, so there was always this bizarre dance going on between trying to make something that was just purely its own piece and also something that was honoring and… what’s another word for it? Just being true to what had come before and that was, I guess, the biggest challenge of the movie.

Quint: I think also, just as a testament to the cast that you were able to draw, we haven’t really touched on Karl Urban or Simon Pegg and those guys bring so much to the movie, but as a testament to everybody, at the end of the movie all I wanted to do was see the next adventure of that crew. It seems like they are finally in the places they need to be and all is right in the world and they are about to go on their real adventures. So is that something that you purposefully set up, so you have…
JJ Abrams: The idea was that there were all of these disparate pieces and in a way, they are all sort of orphans and then by the end of the movie, they all click into place, they have all sort of come together as a family.

When Karl Urban came in, quite frankly I felt that it would be unlikely that that guy from BOURNE or the hunk from LORD OF THE RINGS was going to be Bones. I knew he was from New Zealand. I just didn’t see the connection, even though I liked his work very much, but I thought “Well, he doesn’t seem right for this, but I’m a fan.” He came in and blew my mind so fast. It was one of those great things where it’s a great lesson to not be so closed minded, but God he was amazing. He just channeled DeForest Kelley, it was eerie.

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