Tag Archives: J.J. Abrams

Star Wars Day: Emojis tell ‘The Force Awakens’, and J.J. Abrams & Lin Manuel Miranda perform the new Cantina song

Today is May 4th and you know what that means: it’s Star Wars Day! To celebrate the annual occasion, Disney dropped this incredibly adorable version of The Force Awakens…as told by emoji! In under four minutes, the cute clip breaks down the seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise, hitting most of the major beats of the film. Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren, Han Solo, and the rest of your characters pop up throughout in emoji form, and the animation makes fun use of GIFs, apps, and recognizable iDevices. Enjoy, and May the Fourth Be With You!

Now, those of you who picked up a copy of John Williams’ score from The Force Awakens likely scratched your head and went, Huh, where’s the new Cantina song? Well, here it is now! In honor of Star Wars Day, Lucasfilm is finally making “Jabba Flow” available to stream and purchase. The track is written and performed by director J.J. Abrams and Hamilton creator and star Lin Manuel Miranda. Watch them perform it live, for the first time ever, in a video recorded earlier today; it’s embedded below. READ MORE Star Wars Day: Emojis tell ‘The Force Awakens’, and J.J. Abrams & Lin Manuel Miranda perform the new Cantina song

Surprise! Bad Robot presents ’10 Cloverfield Lane’, a “blood relative” to 2008’s found-footage monster movie (Teaser inside)

J.J.’s done it again. Seemingly out of nowhere comes some thing; it’s a new Bad Robot-produced film titled 10 Cloverfield Lane. When I first stumbled upon this deliciously mysterious teaser trailer I thought to myself along with everybody else, “IT’S A SEQUEL TO J.J.’s MONSTER MOVIE CLOVERFIELD!” Not quite. Though the word “Cloverfield” is in the title and the teaser certainly alludes to some thing scary existing in the outside world, the Star Wars director released the following statement to Collider that attempts to clear that up:

“The idea came up a long time ago during production,” explained Abrams. “We wanted to make it a blood relative of Cloverfield. The idea was developed over time. We wanted to hold back the title for as long as possible.”

In a nutshell, writers Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken collaborated on penning a script a few years back tentatively titled The Cellar. It followed a woman who, in the aftermath of surviving a car wreck, finds herself trapped underground in a bomb shelter with a man who claims to have saved her life from a nuclear attack that destroyed the surrounding area above ground. Nuclear attack or… the Cloverfield monster! J.J. and his Bad Robot production house got involved with The Cellar when Paramount bought the script. The movie’s code name changed to Valencia to keep a lid on J.J.’s Cloverfield connection plans that apparently started to brew shortly after he signed on to executive produce it. It’s massively impressive how Paramount & Bad Robot were able to keep all of this a secret until the trailer dropped.

The teaser for 10 Cloverfield Lane (embedded after the break) first surfaced in front of Michael Bay’s Benghazi film 13 Hours, in an eerily similar fashion to the way Cloverfield‘s found-footage trailer debuted in theatres with Bay’s Transformers in 2008. It stars John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), and John Gallagher, Jr. (The Newsroom). Abrams produces with Lindsey Weber. Dan Trachtenberg, the massive talent behind the viral short film Portal: No Escape, makes his directorial debut. Despite their enthusiasm for making a direct Cloverfield sequel at some point, the original movie’s director Matt Reeves and writer Drew Goddard are not involved in this project.

I’ve been waiting for a true sequel to Cloverfield ever since I walked out of theatre in 2008 and got lost down the rabbit hole online trying to piece together clues pertaining to The Monster’s origins. Do Slusho and Tagruato ring any bells? Anyway. I find this whole “blood relative” idea to be incredibly intriguing. New survivors, new location (look at the poster pasted above; I don’t think we’re in New York City), new shooting style (it appears as though Trachtenberg is ditching Reeve’s found-footage shaky cam presentation here). The idea that 10 Cloverfield Lane is not a direct sequel to the original but rather set in the same universe as it offers the creative team a new avenue to explore the intensity of it all. If this teaser is any indication of what to expect, we are going to be getting an intimate character piece dealing with themes of trust and manipulation.

“Don’t open the door! You’re going to get all of us killed!” screams Goodman’s character as Winstead’s female protagonist unlocks the bunker’s door. What does she see? A nuclear wasteland? The Monster? Some thing entirely new? “Monsters come in many forms,” reads the poster’s tagline. The Mystery Box just arrived on your doorstep.

10 Cloverfield Lane opens March 11, 2016. READ MORE Surprise! Bad Robot presents ’10 Cloverfield Lane’, a “blood relative” to 2008’s found-footage monster movie (Teaser inside)

Is ‘Person of Interest’s number up? Producer J.J. Abrams comments on its absence [Update: CBS responds]

Wondering where Person of Interest went? Yeah, me too. The CBS procedural-serial hybrid from J.J. Abrams, Greg Plageman, and Jonathan Nolan had been renewed for a truncated 13-episode fifth season and said episodes have been produced. They’re simply waiting for CBS to air them. Prior to the new fall season, CBS promised they would surface sometime in midseason, but now we’re in January and there’s still no word as to when Samaritan will continue to wage war on Team Machine.

At a panel promoting 11.22.63, a new Abrams-produced thriller based on the novel by Stephen King, J.J. commented on the matter with a statement I think all POI fans saw coming and yet it still stings.

“My guess is it is the final season,” Abrams said. “The only heartbreak there is how much good story there was to come if it were to have continued. Jonah [Nolan] and Greg Plageman have done such an amazing job on that show. I know what these episodes are, that they’re done wrapping it up. We don’t yet have a schedule. But I know they will see the light of day, [and] people will get to see these episodes. I know the power of that story. Again, to have a show that goes on as many years as that has, it’s very hard to complain. It’s a miracle to get a show on the air and to have it last that long is something that we should just be grateful for. But I do love that show and I would’ve loved to see that continue.”

If you take CBS sitting on season 5 and pair that with J.J.’s comments, it certainly looks like this is the beginning of the end for Person of Interest. Of course, this isn’t the final nail in the coffin. POI could return to better ratings if, perhaps, CBS decides to air it in the summer where’s there’s less competition. “Things can be adjusted if [there’s] a miraculous [ratings] performance,” Abrams added. He even speculated about potentially shopping the series elsewhere if CBS indeed decides to cancel it. “In theory, [those conversations] will be had at the right time. But at the moment that’s not what we’re doing.”

If this is the end, at least our consolation prize is that the producers and writers went into making this fifth season knowing that it would probably serve as the series’ swan song. This means that storylines, including the fate of The Machine and Shaw and the takedown of Greer and his evil artificial intelligence Samaritan, should wrap up come the finale.

As we sit here patiently for new episodes, do yourself a favor and enjoy the Pink Floyd-infused dramatic sequence from last year’s memorable finale.

Update (1/12): CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller, who recently took over the reins from Nina Tassler, was asked about the fate of the series at the Television Critics Association winter press tour today and he didn’t dodge. See what he had to say after the break. READ MORE Is ‘Person of Interest’s number up? Producer J.J. Abrams comments on its absence [Update: CBS responds]

James Franco travels back in time to save JFK in ‘11.22.63,’ the next series from J.J. Abrams & Stephen King

J.J. Abrams and his production company Bad Robot (LostFringePerson of Interest) aren’t tipping toes into the world of subscription-based streaming; with 11.22.63, the ubiquitous storyteller is diving in head-first. Abrams’ latest TV series is coming to Hulu in 2016 and it’s based on Stephen King’s 2011 novel of the same name. King (Under the Dome) also serves as executive producer. Here’s the official logline, time travel included.

Hulu Original series 11.22.63 is a thriller in which high school English teacher Jake Epping travels back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — but his mission is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, falling in love and the past itself, which doesn’t want to be changed.

Movie actor James Franco, best known for stoner comedies such as This is The End and Pineapple Express, takes a dramatic turn as lead character Jake Epping and the supporting cast includes Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity), Josh Duhamel (Battle Creek), T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy), Cherry Jones (24), Sarah Gadon, Lucy Fry, George MacKay, and Daniel Webber.

The series’ first teaser trailer rests above and packed inside the 30-second clip are more than enough tantalizing glimpses to appropriately whet your appetite. “I’m gonna tell you something that’s gonna seem crazy,” says an off-screen narrator. “If you go through there, it’s 1960.” Chills is the proper response.

Prepare for you next binge as 11.22.63 rolls out on Hulu on February 15, 2016. Happy President’s Day.

J.J. Abrams & ‘Infinity Blade’ developer collaborate on new video game ‘SPYJINX’

Play video games? Dig the curious mind of director/producer J.J. Abrams? Well, here’s an excitingly fresh piece of news for you. Abrams (LOSTStar Wars)–who previously struck a deal with Valve–is teaming up with Infinity Blade developer ChAIR to produce a game called SPYJINX. Here’s what we know so far:

Powered by Unreal Engine 4, SPYJINX is a unique mix of action strategy gameplay, dynamic world building and RPG character development – all set in a thrilling, treacherous world of espionage.

As is tradition in the world of Bad Robot, juicy details surrounding the upcoming title are being closely guarded for now. SPYJINX is expected to roll out on PCs and mobile devices during its 2016 launch, and the plan is for the game to hit consoles sometime thereafter. Gamers are invited to sign up for the beta now to help the developers shape the game and work out the kinks.

Watch Abrams and ChAIR founder and creative director Donald Mustard discuss their new collaborative effort in the video hanging here. As more information spills around SPYJINX, you’ll know where to find it.

Doug Dorst & J.J. Abrams put the “S.” in “S.earch” with new promotional campaign for their mystery novel

The mysterious S. videos continue! Though, this clip is more straightforward than the last. Have you picked up a copy of Doug Dorst & J.J. Abrams’ novel S.? If not, now’s the time to jump in. In addition to briefly discussing the inspiration behind their book, in the video embedded above Dorst and Abrams explain that they’ve signed five copies and have hidden them in five different cities around the nation. They dare you to find one, read it, and then ditch it for someone else to discover (or keep it, that’s entirely up to you). Does this concept sound familiar? It should: D&A are borrowing the “Send Wonder” concept imagined by artist/magician Jamie D. Grant; he previously collaborated with Abrams’ Bad Robot and magic destination Theory 11 to create the Mystery Bottle. Grant’s “Send Wonder” campaign is all about spreading inspiration with the world through sharing and random discovery. Want to be one of the lucky five to score a signed copy of S.? Follow Dorst on Twitter where the author will be dropping clues to their whereabouts; first stop: NYC.

Up-and-coming director Chris Alender’s short film ‘Eye of the Storm’ catches J.J. Abrams’ attention

In 2008, J.J. Abrams put director Matt Reeves on the map with the shaky-cam monster movie Cloverfield; Reeves would go on to also direct the thriller Let Me In and this year’s excellent Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Abrams is looking to strike gold again by fostering new talent, according to Deadline. Enter Chris Alender, the founder of Soapbox Films, a production house that specializes in the making of music videos, commercials, and films. One of his films, namely Eye of the Storm, must have caught J.J.’s attention because Alender is now working hand-in-hand with the Star Wars director on an upcoming top secret project for Sony Pictures. Of course, as details slowly but surely spill out about the Abrams/Alender project you’ll hear it here.

But more on Alender’s short film. Eye of the Storm, embedded above for your viewing pleasure, is technically a music video for musician Ben Lovett whose song of the same name is featured throughout the clip. It wears an aesthetic that’s reminiscent of what you’d find in a Sin City movie, and yet it’s distinctive enough to be hailed as a success all on its own. Elements from science fiction and steampunk are fused together here to create a mini-adventure in the sky as a giant ship soars into the eye of a massive storm. There’s a mystical potion and a dragon, to boot. What Alender’s created here, essentially, is an exquisitely executed short film that leaves the viewer wanting more by the time you get to the end. Equally impressive is the effort put into making it a reality; after the break, check out a BTS video revealing practical effects used to manifest stunning results.

Abrams knows how to pick ’em. Cannot wait to see what Alender cooks up next. READ MORE Up-and-coming director Chris Alender’s short film ‘Eye of the Storm’ catches J.J. Abrams’ attention

Abrams reveals Episode VII’s X-Wing Starfighter in new fundraiser clip

Director J.J. Abrams is back to remind Star Wars fans that his UNICEF fundraiser “Force for Change” is still in effect. He shares that people from over 119 countries have participated so far and you can too at Omaze.com. [The chance to win a trip to the set and be in the movie is now over. The winner will be announced next month.] Now, as Abrams is spilling the details the camera in the clip above slowly pans out to reveal his version of the famed X-Wing Starfighter.

Star Wars Episode VII releases December 18, 2015.

J.J. Abrams shares his inspired “Mystery Box”

If you haven’t seen J.J. Abrams’ TED Talk from March 2007, stop what you’re doing and watch it now. In it, the prolific filmmaker talks about his “mystery box.” When he was young his grandfather Harry Kelvin would take him to a magic store in New York City called Lou Tannen’s Magic. One day his grandfather bought him Tannen’s Mystery Magic Box, a box embossed with a giant question mark filled with $50 worth of magic tricks for the low price of 15 bucks. To this day, Abrams’ mystery box remains sealed and it sits on a shelf in his office at his production company Bad Robot. He reveals his reasons behind not opening it and keeping it after all these years: it represents his grandfather–an important figure in his life–and the notion of infinite possibility.

“…It represents infinite possibility. It represents hope. It represents potential. And what I love about this box, and what I realize I sort of do in whatever it is that I do, is I find myself drawn to infinite possibility and that sense of potential. And I realize that mystery is the catalyst for imagination… I started to think that maybe there are times when mystery is more important than knowledge.”

Think about to some of Abrams’ most prominent creations. Lost was one giant mystery box full of potential and engrossing enigma. Did we ever really need to know what the Island was or even represented? In the end, no, we did not; Lost was about a group of plane crash survivors finding salvation and hope in each other. Look at Cloverfield; Abrams unleashed an exciting campaign leading up to that monster movie by not revealing what the mysterious otherworldly creature actually looked like. And then there’s the dearly departed Fringe; that show was literally about infinite possibilities and holding onto hope in the worst of times.

Seven years after introducing that box on stage at TED, Abrams is releasing his very own mystery box for you to put up on your shelf. Bad Robot teamed up with Theory 11, an online source for high-grade magic products, to create and produce a handcrafted, wooden Mystery Lockbox. It’s made of 100-year-old reclaimed wood, the lid is iron-branded with the Mystery Box emblem (it’s a giant question mark undoubtedly inspired by Tannen’s box), and each box sold is locked with an alphanumeric combination lock. The Lockbox includes a letterpressed note from J.J. Abrams enclosed in a kraft paper envelope stamped with a black wax seal. The main contents of the box are 12 decks of Mystery Box Playing Cards and each deck is individually wrapped in letterpressed kraft paper. Art direction for the box and deck of cards are by Abrams and Theory 11’s Jonathan Bayme.

The Lockbox with the letter and 12 decks of cards is on sale now for $149.95. The cards are also sold separately at $9.95 per deck. Bad Robot will donate $1 per deck purchased to 826 National, a non-profit dedicated to promoting creative writing in schools and workshops around the America.

Now the decision remains: do you open the box or do you remain inspired by the mystery inside like Abrams does with his? Abrams, in his letter to Mystery Box owners, puts it like this: “The choice to open the box, or not, is yours.” READ MORE J.J. Abrams shares his inspired “Mystery Box”

J.J. Abrams & Alfonso Cuarón introduce NBC supernatural drama ‘Believe’

Levitation, telekinesis, the ability to control nature, see the future… since she was born, Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) has had gifts she could neither fully understand nor control. But now that she is 10 years old, her powers have become stronger and the threat from malevolent forces that would use her abilities to control the world has grown more dangerous. With her life and future in jeopardy, Bo’s protector, Milton Winter (Delroy Lindo, The Chicago Code), turns to an unlikely source to keep her safe – Tate (Jake McLaughlin, Crash), a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate who’s lost his will.

Tate and Bo begin an extraordinary journey, one in which trust must be earned. On the run and traveling from city to city, every place they stop and everyone they meet will be changed forever. But they’ll have to keep going to stay one step ahead of the sinister forces after Bo’s power… because it will take a miracle to keep them safe forever.

That’s how NBC sets up Believe, the latest series from J.J. Abrams–the creative mind behind LostFringe, and Person of Interest. Joining Abrams behind the scenes is Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón who serves as executive producer and director of the pilot episode.

Get acquainted with the cast and auspicious behind Believe in the clip embedded above. The exciting opening sequence brilliantly executed by Cuarón is on display and you’ll hear from him, Abrams, and some of the stars. “It, to me, was one of those great opening scenes that, when Alfonso described it, I had that sense of, ‘Wait a minute, I’m not changing the channel until I know exactly what’s going on,” gushes Abrams.

Believe premieres March 10. Watch a sneak-peek trailer after the break. READ MORE J.J. Abrams & Alfonso Cuarón introduce NBC supernatural drama ‘Believe’

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ gets its 2015 release date

The next installment in the Star Wars saga will release into theatres on December 18, 2015.

“We’re very excited to share the official 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture,” said Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios.

Despite a change in the writing department, Episode VII is on track for its now solidified 2015 release. Two weeks ago Michael Arndt stepped away from the film and director J.J. Abrams and consultant Lawrence Kasdan took over the screenplay duties. Recently Abrams opened up about the switch-up.

“It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be,” he told Deadline. “Working with Larry Kasdan, especially on aStar Wars movie is kind of unbeatable.” He added, “Working with Michael was a wonderful experience and I couldn’t be a bigger fan of his or adore him more. He’s a wonderful guy and was incredibly helpful in the process.”

Mark your calendars, people. We get to revisit that galaxy far, far away in two years time.

[Via Star Wars]

Preview ‘Revolution’ season 2 ahead of next week’s premiere (inside J.J. Abrams teases new supernatural element)

NBC’s action-packed drama that poses the question “what would happen if the lights went out” returns for its second season next week so there’s no better time to catch a new preview of what’s to come in Revolution. At Comic Con we learned that the nukes set off at the end of season 1 do in fact go off and decimate large sections of North America. We also learned that the lights will turn off again, and this time for good. In the new preview clip embedded above you’ll hear from the cast and they spill s’more season 2 details: time jumps three months into the future, our main band of survivors makes camp at a fictional town in Texas named Willoughby, and you’ll also catch glimpses of Rachel’s encounter with her dad (played by Stephen Collins), Monroe’s fight club, and Neville’s beard. “It’s the same Revolution everybody knows and loves,” says Tracy Spiridakos (Charlie Matheson), “but with a different little kick to it.”

What might that kick be? Executive producer J.J. Abrams teases it in an interview posted after the break. When the power goes out for good early in the season, Abrams describes a “rip” in reality that occurs. In essence, a supernatural element is being introduced into Revolution this season and Abrams says it will provide the launchpad for more compelling storytelling and higher stakes. Get the tantalizing scoop after the break; below that is a season 1 recapper.

Revolution returns Wednesday, September 25 at 8PM on NBC. READ MORE Preview ‘Revolution’ season 2 ahead of next week’s premiere (inside J.J. Abrams teases new supernatural element)