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J.J. Abrams Interviews edited by Brett Durham (book review).

January 24, 2019 | By | Reply More

OK, take a deep breath. The ‘J.J. Abrams Interviews’ book edited by Brett Durham has 30 interviews with the producer/director/writer. Jeffrey Jacob Abrams was born into the Hollywood system as both his parents and grandparents were also part of it. From the opening interviews, he reveals his grandparents were the bigger influence and his grandfather, Harry Kelvin, got him his first Super-8 camera at the age of 7 so that when he was winning awards in his teens, he already had 8 years experience. He broke into Hollywood as a co-writer and finally into TV before films, usually straddling between them both over his career. He’ll also talk about a $15 dollar mystery box of magic tricks that he has never opened that he regards as a totem of best not knowing everything.

The interviews begin in 2002 up to 2016 and obviously cover aspects of his career and more into his films than his TV work and the one book, ‘S’, that he collaborated on with Doug Dorst. As you would expect, there’s bound to be some repetition from the various interviewees and some information you probably know already. I was surprised on the number of interviews related to his ‘Star Trek’ (2009) film but there are still some surprises in the content.

Probably the most interviews after that focus on ‘Super 8’ (2011), named after the camera although I’m a little confused with the dates as to when Abrams first had the camera the film is named after. Mind you, who’s to say that he didn’t own two of them? In case you didn’t know ‘Super 8’ is a young adult SF movie where a train crash releases a creature into their town.

From the looks of things, the earliest major film both Abrams as a collective had an influence on was ‘Escape From New York’, where they attended an early cut of the film when director John Carpenter was looking for feedback. Both of them pointed out different things that Carpenter implemented.

There is some coverage of Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ but not in as much detail, no doubt to keep some surprises for its viewers. Although a fan of the original films, Abrams hadn’t had much of a holiday before being offered it but points out that producer Kathleen Kennedy can be very persuasive.

The book ends with just a mention of ‘Westworld’. If anything I’m surprised Abrams hasn’t been in more interviews, more so as these here aren’t just from the USA but a couple from the UK as well. If you do want some insight into what motivates JJ Abrams and his love of film and ideas then it is a book worth picking up.

GF Willmetts

January 2019

(pub: University Press Of Mississippi, 2015. 182 page enlarged paperback. Price: $25.00 (US), £25.50 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-4968-2042-6)

check out website: www.upress.state.ms.us

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Category: Books, Films

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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