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.” (Click here for more…)
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 Lost, Fringe, 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. (Click here for more…)
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. (Click here for more…)
On the 19th of August J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot tweeted a link to a mysterious YouTube clip titled “Stranger.” The beautifully scored video narrated by an older gentleman told a brief story about a man emerging from the sea under a blanket of stars. At the very end the words “Soon he will know” appeared and then quickly vanished. Now, we know.
Bad Robot’s Twitter account spilled the beans with part 2 of the “Stranger” video titled “S. (From J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst – Bad Robot Productions).” This clip (embedded after the break) resumes where the last left off (narrator and all) and introduces a typewriter and a murder mystery. So no, this is not a teaser for the next Star Wars movie or Abrams’ upcoming NBC drama Believe or his adaptation of Rod Serling’s The Stop Along the Way. These videos are promoting a new novel conceived and developed by Abrams and written by Doug Dorst.
“S. is the chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don’t understand, and it is also Abrams and Dorst’s love letter to the written word.”
Abrams told EW: “I could not be more excited for people to get their hands on this book. It is difficult to describe because while it is a compelling mystery and love story, it is also much more than that. The work that everyone has done on S. is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Frankly, I’m amazed it was even possible to do this project at all.”
The book–which comes complete with newspaper clippings, a napkin with a hand-drawn map, and other special material to enhance the reading experience–hits store shelves October 29; preorder yours SoonYouWillKnow.com. For a peek at the layered synopsis, skip after the break. (Click here for more…)
Here is a TV project to keep a very close eye on. J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan (the auspices behind CBS’ Person of Interest) are adapting Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi thriller Westworld into a TV series for HBO. This marks the first foray into pay cable TV for Abrams’ Bad Robot production company. And like all things Bad Robot, the project is shrouded in mystery; this official logline will have to do for now: “Set in the amazing world dreamt up by Michael Crichton, Westworld is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.” The movie, which starred Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, and James Brolin, took place at a Western-themed amusement park rampant with androids who appeared nearly indistinguishable from humans. Watch the trailer here. Westworld went on to spawn a sequel Futureworld (1976) and even a short-lived TV series Beyond Westworld.
Nolan is set to direct the pilot (HBO has already agreed to a pilot production commitment!) and he will pen the script with writer Lisa Joy (Burn Notice). Abrams, Nolan, Joy, Bryan Burk, and Jerry Weintraub will executive produce.
J.J. Abrams has another super-secret project up his sleeve. On the 13th of August his production company Bad Robot tweeted out a link to a mysterious video titled “Stranger” hosted on BR’s newly minted YouTube channel. The minute-and-seven-second video, like most everything Abrams does, is shrouded in a giant blanket of mystery and intrigue. With no press release to work off, viewers are forced to speculate and theorize.
Backed by a beautiful, piano-led score likely helmed by Abrams’ go-to composer Michael Giacchino, “Stranger” sets up a starry night scene where a long-haired man emerges from the sea. The visuals come to a screeching halt when a menacing looking man whose mouth is stitched up takes over the frame. A narrator recites the following words: “He arrived knowing nothing of himself. Who is he? Soon he will know. Because what begins at the water shall end there. And what ends there, shall once more begin. This is what happens: men become lost, men vanish, men are erased, and reborn.” At the very end, the words “Soon he will know” begin vanishing one by one.
After racking my brain on this one, a few theories surface to the top. First, as everyone well knows, J.J. is currently working on reigniting the Star Wars franchise with Episode VII; though a viral campaign to get the buzz going around this highly anticipated film would be exciting, I just don’t see it here. The starry sky is a subtle hint, but everything else just doesn’t make sense for it to be SW related.
Another project under J.J.’s belt includes the upcoming NBC supernatural drama Believe but again, this black-and-white visual simply doesn’t line up with that show’s pitch. However, a slight clue lingers here, too; Jake McLaughlin who plays wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate Tate on the show sports a shaggy mane of hair just like the man who comes from the sea. But Believe‘s main star is a little girl named Bo who has super powers that need protecting and this teaser sheds no light on that whatsoever.
Now it’s true that this may very well be an extremely early tease for The Stop Along the Way, Rod Serling’s final screenplay whose rights were recently sold to Bad Robot. Little is known about the project initially imagined by the Twilight Zone creator so it’s difficult to read into this any further.
I’ve saved the most believable theory for last. You may or may not know this, but Abrams is getting in on the books business. That’s right–he conceived and developed a story written by award-winning author Doug Dorst (Alive in Necropolis). And get this–the name of the novel is S. As in “Stranger,” as in “Soon he will know.” Now, read the novel’s synopsis:
At the core of this multilayered literary puzzle of love and adventure is a book of mysterious provenance. In the margins, another tale unfolds—through the hand-scribbled notes, questions, and confrontations of two readers. Between the pages, online, and in the real world, you’ll find evidence of their interaction, ephemera that bring this tale vividly to life.
S. is being released by Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company on October 29, 2013 and according to a press release. “Abram’ production company, Bad Robot, will be promoting the book leading up to and at publication time.” The video titled “Stranger” could easily be the start of a marketing campaign for this book. The synopsis hints that the story will expand its tale across various forms of media including the Internet. Until further evidence reveals itself, I think we having a winning theory here. It’s perfect, really. Viewers are clamoring to the idea that this video must be hyping a film or TV series when in reality it’s introducing Bad Robot fans to an entirely different form of entertainment: books!
Share your theories in the comment section below as we await the next “Stranger” tease that surely must be imminent.
J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company just secured the rights to Rod Serling’s final screenplay The Stop Along the Way. Serling is most famous for creating and hosting The Twilight Zone in the ’60s; he also wrote many screenplays and some of his works include Planet of the Apes and Requiem for a Heavyweight. Like all things Bad Robot, plot details are non-existant this early in the stage. In Serling’s final interview before his passing in 1975 he mentioned the project saying, “I just wrote The Stop Along the Way, which is, I think, a lovely script.” Abrams’ Warner Bros. TV-based Bad Robot plans to develop the script into an event limited series, according to Deadline. As the project gets shopped around to various networks, it is one to keep a close eye on and you can check back here for any and all pertinent updates. Abrams (the man behind one of the most mysterious television series Lost) and Serling (the visionary who thought up The Twilight Zone and all its intrigue) together–one can only imagine the possibilities of a such an exciting partnership.
Don’t worry, no spoilers here… This week director J.J. Abrams visited Conan and presented a short but definitely sweet deleted scene from his Star Trek sequel Into Darkness. If you’ve seen the movie, you know there’s a scene where a shirtless James T. Kirk is found in bed with two half-naked aliens. To balance it out, Abrams had envisioned a scene where moviegoers would also get to see the film’s antagonist played by Benedict Cumberbatch without his shirt on. In this case, it’s a fleeting moody shower sequence. Cumberbatch’s John Harrison stands in what Abrams calls “the shower of evil.” Ultimately it was decided that this would not make the final cut and you can hear why straight from the director’s mouth in the clip embedded above. Also discussed is the “revealing,” much talked about scene involving star Alice Eve stripping to her bra and underwear. Yum.
J.J. Abrams and Valve’s Gabe Newell strike a deal to produce movies and games based on their respective projects [Update: video]
At this year’s D.I.C.E. summit (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain), co-founder of game developer Valve conversed with filmmaker J.J. Abrams about collaborating on future projects. Gamers and sci-fi fanatics alike, perk up. Newell and Abrams have expressed their interest in bringing some of Valve’s most popular titles–Half-Life and Portal, specifically–to the big screen. ”We’re going to try and figure out if we can make a Half-Life movie or a Portal movie together,” said Newell. Additionally, Abrams said that he’d be interesting in working with Valve to create video games inspired by Bad Robot films. Apparently this partnership has been in the making for awhile. “We sort of reached the point where we decided that we needed to do more than talk,” Newell admitted. Though details beyond these are sparse, this is something to definitely be excited about and when more comes through the pipeline you’ll know.
Update: The exciting announcement laid out above came at the very end of a rich 20-minute conversation during which the Bad Robot and Valve founders discussed storytelling methods in movies and video games. At first the two make friendly jabs at each other’s work but quickly the back-and-forth evolves into a stimulating discussion about the importance of the relationship between the viewer/player and the on-screen experience. Watch the full clip courtesy of D.I.C.E. after the break.
FOX orders futuristic drama from J.H. Wyman & J.J. Abrams [Update: Another Abrams pilot a-go at NBC]
With Fringe in his rearview mirror, showrunner and sometimes writer and director J.H. Wyman has a new drama at FOX to work on. Today FOX ordered to pilot an hourlong drama from Wyman and J.J. Abrams, the same auspices that brought us Walter Bishop and the rest of the Fringe family. The untitled project is being produced by Abrams’ production company Bad Robot in collaboration with Warner Bros. TV. It’s being described as “an action-packed buddy cop show set in a near future when all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved humanlike androids.” Yeah, count me in. Wyman is writing the script and serving as executive producer, a title he shares with Abrams, Bryan Burk, and Kathy Lingg. After the script is locked in and casting choices are made, the pilot will be made and if all goes well we’ll have another Abrams/Wyman futuristic drama on the air in the fall.
Update: Mere moments after wrapping this post news broke that another pilot headlined by J.J. Abrams was ordered by NBC. (After landing the Star Wars directing gig and two pilots at two of the major broadcast networks, somebody is having the best week ever.) This project also falls under the Bad Robot/Warner Bros. TV banners and Abrams is working closely with Alfonso Cuarón (director of Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban). It’s working title is Believe and the script is currently being penned by Cuarón and Mark Friedman (Home of the Brave, The Forgotten). Believe is about “the unlikely relationship between a young girl in possession of a great gift/powers — which will come into their own in seven years — and a man sprung from prison who has been tasked with protecting her from the evil elements that hunt her power.” Abrams, Cuarón, Friedman, and Bryan Burk are executive producing. Cuarón is on tap to direct.
The Force is strong with this one. Today news spread like wildfire that J.J. Abrams–the same man who resurrected Star Trek for the big screen–will do the same for the other massively popular set-in-space franchise Star Wars. The Wrap broke it first.
This fall George Lucas sold his Lucasfilms to Disney for $4 billion and his partner Kathleen Kennedy signed on to ensure the making of a new Star Wars movie. Shortly thereafter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) agreed to pen the script and now the immense project has a star director in Abrams. Star Wars: Episode VII aims for a 2015 release.
Neither Abrams nor Disney has commented on the story yet. What’s interesting, however, is that just a couple months ago Abrams told Entertainment Weekly that he wasn’t interested in taking on Lucas’ lucrative franchise. He admitted that he had “original stuff” he was hoping to do next. He went on to say how much Star Wars influenced him at a young age and that it ignited his passion for visually epic storytelling. “As a kid I was always a fan of special effects,” he said. “Watching movies I was constantly trying to figure out how they did it, whatever the effect was. Star Wars was the first movie that blew my mind in that way; it didn’t matter how they did any of it because it was all so overwhelmingly and entirely great. It was funny and romantic and scary and compelling and the visual effects just served the characters and story. It galvanized for me; not for what was exciting about how movies were made, but rather for what movies were capable of.”
In a two-part interview with Hero Complex conducted in 2009, Abrams talked about the challenge of reimagining Star Trek in a post-George Lucas Star Wars world. “I’m just a fan of Star Wars,” he said. ”As a kid, Star Wars was much more my thing than Star Trek was. If you look at the last three Star Wars films and what technology allowed them to do, they covered so much terrain in terms of design, locations, characters, aliens, ships — so much of the spectacle has been done and it seems like every aspect has been covered, whether it’s geography or design of culture or weather system or character or ship type. Everything has been tapped in those movies. The challenge of doing Star Trek — despite the fact that it existed before Star Wars — is that we are clearly in the shadow of what George Lucas has done.”
It is definitely going to be interesting to see exactly how J.J. Abrams plans to bring Star Wars back into the fold compared to the way he did it with Star Trek. He’s a powerful player in the sci-fi arena, and personally I have no doubt he’ll get it right. What say you?
TCA 13: J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke promise a bigger, better, more surprising ‘Revolution’ this spring (new trailer inside)
Revolution is on break until March and executive producers J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke accept the extended with a positive attitude and they think viewers should as well. “When we were doing Lost, that [scheduling] helped us enormously,” Abrams said. “So when the idea came up for Revolution I was really relieved. I thought, and still think, that it will get us to a place where it will be the best possible way for the viewer to watch the show.” Added Kripke: “The little break has afforded us the ability to take a breath, look at what we’ve done, really analyze it, and make adjustments. It also supplied us a natural break point between the season’s first half and second half, and the second half sort of lives as its own continuous piece.” While Kripke maintained that “we learned that we did a lot of things right,” he also admitted that “the pace of the shocking surprises were a little too slow.” So what can viewers expect next? The “second [half will be] bigger, better, more exciting and [with] more revelations–at the same time maintaining the format.” The shock factor will increase as well.
What else? When Revolution returns this spring, the action will continue “exactly” where we left off. “Giving [Monroe] power was more about making him an unstoppable force,” said Kripke. “We start to deliver on the promise of the title. The revolution begins.” Kripke fed the questions, “Can [the Matheson family] stick together in the face of these overwhelming odds and danger? And can you maintain your soul when you’re a warrior?”
Kripke went on to say that he’s definitely planning ahead for upcoming seasons of the show, but they’re at the “cocktail napkin sketches” state at the moment. “Because [the world is] so expansive, there’s no end to the stories we can tell,” he said.
Revolution returns March 25. Get a glimpse of what’s to come in a new trailer after the break. (Click here for more…)
Director J.J. Abrams sat down with Conan O’Brien this week and during their interview Abrams–against the studios wishes–shared with the audience a clip from the upcoming Star Trek sequel. And it has a name now, by the way; it’s Star Trek Into Darkness.
Get this: the clip is only three frames long. After you watch it unfold at the speed of light in the video above, jump after the break for a better look at what you think you’ve seen. Conan correctly predicted that the Internet would freeze frame the very first look at Zachary Quinto as Spock in a volcano. There really isn’t much that can be gleaned from this, but at least it’s something.
Star Trek Into Darkness releases May 17, 2013. (Click here for more…)
Today NBC kicked off the 2012 Upfronts, an annual event where the big four networks present their upcoming slate of new programming to advertisers and the press. The Peacock unveiled 12 new series coming to the network next season; seven comedies and five dramas. Half will premiere this fall, and the others will wait for midseason. Jump after the break to get more information about all of the new shows including synopses, cast and creator/executive producer listings, and clips.
Also posted after the break is NBC’s 2012-13 programming schedule. The three most significant changes to the schedule include Whitney and Community moving to Friday nights paired with Grimm and Dateline NBC; The Voice gets a second cycle in the fall; and Smash is being held again for midseason.
NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt explained Community‘s move to Friday: “I know that most people in our industry think Friday is a graveyard but we don’t really believe that. If you don’t build it they won’t come. We got some traction with Grimm, it’s the No. 1 18-49 on Fridays. We thought if we have a base there, let’s see if we can give Grimm a lead-in with these shows that actually have fan bases–including Whitney.” … He added, “[Community] has its faithful audience and they will follow it to the ends of the Earth. And I really wanted to do something to invigorate Friday because we love Grimm. So I thought, let’s move a show where the audience will move with it. I actually look at the positive side of it, although no good deed goes unpunished.”
While The Office and Parks and Recreation were picked up and given full 22-episode full season orders, other comedies like 30 Rock, Community, and Up All Night were handed smaller 13-episode orders; and this has led to speculation about whether or not NBC plans to phase these shows out sooner rather than later. Greenblatt addressed this: “[The Thursday night comedies] have a really strong following [but] they don’t have a large enough audience. They’re still shows that mean something to this network…I think on the Thursday night shows, ‘broad’ is synonymous with ratings…we’re always trying to be broader.” … He added, “a 13-episode order does not mean a death knell to the show.” So fret not, my friends. (5/14 update: It has been confirmed that the upcoming seventh season of 30 Rock will be its last.)
On why the network is saving Smash for midseason, Greenblatt wants the second season to air uninterrupted with not a single hiatus, like FOX started doing with 24 by premiering it in January instead of September. The plan is for the musical drama to produce 15-18 episodes every season as opposed to the standard 22. Also, the network wants accomodate new showrunner Josh Safran (Gossip Girl). Explains NBC’s Jennifer Salke: “New showrunner Josh Safran is coming in–he’s awesome. And we wanted him to get a chance to own [it] and get in there and have an ownership stake in the show — not just put a gun to his head and [tell him], ‘You gotta get going!’ So we wanted him to be able to stand back and have a real creative discussion about what he wants the season to be and be a big part of that.” (Click here for more…)
NBC is allowing J.J. Abrams to stir a Revolution by greenlighting his new sci-fi drama from Warner Bros. TV and Bad Robot. Eric Kripke (Supernatural) will pen the script and together he and Abrams will tell a story described back in September as “an epic adventure thriller.” Since then, however, two new and fuller loglines have surfaced that help generate a grander buzz for the project:
A high octane action drama from J. J. Abrams following a group of characters struggling to survive and reunite with loved ones in a world where all forms of energy have mysteriously ceased to exist.
In this epic adventure thriller, a family struggles to reunite in a post-apocalyptic American landscape: a world of empty cities, local militias and heroic freedom fighters, where every single piece of technology — computers, planes, cars, phones, even lights — has mysteriously blacked out … forever.
Now it’s got your attention, yes? With a pilot pickup, it won’t be long until we get our first glimpse at some of the action. Expect an extended trailer to hit the ‘Net this summer when NBC officially unveils Revolution at the network’s Upfronts presentation.
And for the J.J. diehards, you should also be aware that the CW picked up another new project from the mastermind behind Lost and Fringe. He and One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn are developing Shelter, a drama “set at a historic New England summer resort where the new and returning staff attend to the practical, emotional and often comical needs of the guests while navigating friendships, rivalries and romances of their own.”
Update: Deadline reports that Jon Favreau (Iron Man) will direct the Revolution pilot.
Alcatraz – FOX — 8PM
Another show from mastermind J.J. Abrams is about to premiere on network TV and that show is Alcatraz. Though chunks of the story take place on an island and one of the show’s leads is Jorge Garcia, Alcatraz and the intrigue that oozes from the promotional lead up to tomorrow night’s premiere is far different than what fans know from Lost. First, a quick mention of the plot: The show tells a story where Alcatraz inmates disappear from their cells in 1963 and mysteriously reappear in modern day society. A secret task force led by Sam Neill (of Twin Peaks fame) and Parminder Nagra (ER) manage to round up Sarah Jones who plays a homicide detective and Garcia who’s an Alcatraz expert and together they investigate the reappearances and ultimately try to unravel the mystery behind it all. In a tw0-part interview conducted by FOX, Abrams admits that when Lost was on, people were either invested in the show and watched every week or they likely didn’t watch at all. With Alcatraz he thinks that it plays more like a procedural (think inmate reappearance of the week) and because of this people will have an easier time jumping into the show even if they had missed previous installments. And for avid viewers who get hooked with the pilot, there will certainly be nuggets planted that tie episodes together for a more serialized feel. Having watched the pilot twice at Comic Con, I can say that the two-hour pilot will definitely hook Lost fans and at the same time it should help distance it from Abrams’ ABC hit. In this way Alcatraz will make room for newcomers to the procedural/serial hybrid and to the genre fare outputted under Abrams’ Bad Robot banner.
If you’re looking for a new show with mystery and intrigue and smarts, tune into the Alcatraz premiere Monday night at 8PM on FOX. Next week it falls into its regular 9PM timeslot airing after House. Check out stylized cast photos below and hop after the break to watch the two-part Abrams interview.
The connective tissue tying together these two TV news bites: the pedigree behind the new respective projects come from a show you probably heard of…Lost.
First let’s see what’s up with the creator of the Island. J.J. Abrams has much on his plate already. This TV season he has three shows airing: Fringe (FOX), Person of Interest (CBS), and Alcatraz (FOX) premieres in midseason. He’s also working on the Star Trek movie sequel. But all of this isn’t enough for the mastermind behind some of the greatest shows produced for TV. He’s ready to dip his wand in a new Warner Bros. TV/Bad Robot project and it’s called Revolution. According to Deadline, the show is being described as “an epic adventure thriller.” Since it’s an Abrams project, don’t expect the plot to leak until the man behind the curtain allows that to happen. Abrams has teamed with Supernatural creator and executive producer Eric Kripke for Revolution; Kripke will pen the pilot script which recently got pilot production commitment from NBC. More as the story develops…
In other news, Lost showrunner Carlton Cuse has a new project up his sleeve too. His is titled Stronger and Deadline describes it as “a drama project with spiritual overtones.” Cuse’s partner in crime is author/pastor Rob Bell, and he will serve as co-writer and executive producer. Bell is leaving Michigan’s Mars Hill Bible Church (which he created) to develop the series which was recently sold to ABC. Deadline reports that the show “revolves around Tom Stronger, a musician and teacher, and his spiritual journey as he becomes a benefactor and guide to others.” Stronger won’t hide its autobiographical roots; Bell is in fact a former musician and he will likely incorporate his experiences into the script. Now don’t forget–like his former Lost cohort Cuse is keeping busy with multiple projects in consideration, too. Look out for his ABC civil war drama Point of Honor on the horizon.
Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt in the fourth installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise. Ghost Protocol is directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles). Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg reprise as Luther Stickell and Benji Dunn, respectively, and Jeremy Renner, Josh Holloway (Lost‘s Sawyer), Anil Kapoor, Paula Patton, Vladimir Mashkov, Michael Nyqvist, and Lea Seydoux join the cast. M:I 4 is a Bad Robot Production; J.J. Abrams produced the film (with Cruise and Paula Wagner) and co-wrote it with André Nemec and Josh Appelbaum (these guys previously worked with Abrams on Alias).
Here’s a synopsis that’s making rounds across the ‘Net: This is not just another mission. The IMF is shut down when it’s implicated in a global terrorist bombing plot. Ghost Protocol is initiated and Ethan Hunt and his rogue new team must go undercover to clear their organization’s name. No help, no contact, off the grid. You have never seen a mission grittier and more intense than this.
The trailer, in a word, is awesomesauce. It’s action-packed, thrilling, and sexy–a great mix if you ask me. And how insane is that final sequence we’re left with? Cruise actually scaled Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, to get the shot. Plus the theme song, it never gets old.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol hits standard and IMAX theatres on December 16, 2011.
The J.J. Abrams / Steven Spielberg production Super 8 is in theatres now. Leading up to the film’s release, Paramount has been adding snippets of video to this official website. On June 9, one day before the film hit theatres nationwide, the studio brought it all together and the final black-and-white video sits above. The “Full Editing Room Film” gives those anticipating Super 8 a small glimpse into the mystery behind the creature that lands in the small Ohio town the movie takes place in. If you’ve seen the movie already, you’d know that bits of this video are included in a pivotal scene.
I attended a midnight premiere screening of the movie, and without giving anyway away I will say this: Super 8 is a perfect summer movie filled with action and healthy doses of emotion & sci-fi. All of the kid actors nailed it, especially the young lead Joel Courtney. It’s truly a must-see. Whether or not it is a veiled Cloverfield prequel remains to be determined; I’d like to think it is. Also, beware of so much lens flares–alas, it is the Abrams touch (see Star Trek).