Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey & Jason Momoa Join Ana Lily Amirpour’s Cannibal Love Story ‘The Bad Batch’ Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey & Jason Momoa Join Ana Lily Amirpour’s Cannibal Love Story ‘The Bad Batch’ Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far 13 Cult Films About Cults 13 Cult Films About Cults The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Plot Details Emerge As J.J. Abrams Talks 'Super 8'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist February 7, 2011 at 2:46AM

Maybe it's just because virtually every other Super Bowl trailer felt like being headbutted by an exploding Playstation in a candy store, but the first proper look at J.J. Abrams' top-secret "Super 8" seemed to stand head and shoulders above the rest; sure, it's got its fair share of things blowing up too, but it teased an actual movie, not just a bloated CGI-fest. Word's been typically quiet from the secretive hyphenate's latest project since the surprise announcement teaser last summer, but Abrams broke cover as the TV spot was aired to talk to Hero Complex, and a few more concrete details have emerged, both about the plot, and what the writer-director is aiming for.
6


Maybe it's just because virtually every other Super Bowl trailer felt like being headbutted by an exploding Playstation in a candy store, but the first proper look at J.J. Abrams' top-secret "Super 8" seemed to stand head and shoulders above the rest; sure, it's got its fair share of things blowing up too, but it teased an actual movie, not just a bloated CGI-fest. Word's been typically quiet from the secretive hyphenate's latest project since the surprise announcement teaser last summer, but Abrams broke cover as the TV spot was aired to talk to Hero Complex, and a few more concrete details have emerged, both about the plot, and what the writer-director is aiming for.

Abrams reveals to the site that the film is actually a combination of two separate projects that he'd been working on; a non-genre coming-of-age tale about teenagers seeing the world through their Super 8 camera, which the director was developing, to no avail, with Steven Spielberg, and a pitch sold to Paramount about a train traveling from Area 51 that never reaches its destination. Abrams reveals that, just as Spielberg decided to tell a personal story about divorce with sci-fi trappings for "E.T." (clearly the film's closest cousin), he was inspired to combine the two projects.

Set in Ohio in 1979, the final film follows six young people making a zombie movie with their Super 8 camera, who witness a horrific train crash, and catch a glimpse of a creature escaping from the wreck. In true Abrams/Spielberg fashion, the more fantastical elements will be grounded by what the helmer describes as a story "about overcoming loss and finding your way again and finding your own voice. A boy who loses his mother and the man who's lost his wife. There's this father who, because of the era, never really had to be the parent. He's a good man, he works hard, he's a deputy in the town, but he's never stepped up as a father."

As this melding might suggest, Abrams describes a film that doesn't sit easily in one box. “As the process went along I realized I had the potential makings of my favorite sort of movie, which is the one that is the hardest genre to define. That because you could say — and be right — that it’s a science fiction movie; or you could say — and be right — that it’s a love story; or you could say — and be right — that it’s a comedy; or you could say — and be right — that it’s a special-effects spectacle. That sort of cocktail is for me what I love about movies…that was the beginnings of this movie coming together.”

Indeed, Abrams typically says that he wishes that he was able to keep the film under wraps until release, although acknowledging that, as a film not based on an existing property, it needs to make a splash in order to survive in a crowded summer: “To me, all people need to know is that it’s an adventure about a small town and it’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s scary and there’s a mystery: What is this thing that has escaped? What are the ramifications of its presence? And what is the effect on people? But I know that’s not enough. Look, I feel we need a little bit of a coming-out party because we are up against massive franchises and brands and most people don’t know what 'Super 8' means. We’re a complete anomaly in a summer of huge films … and we don’t want to be so silent or coy that people don’t care or don’t hear about it.”

It all sounds increasingly promising, and the film has become easily one of our most anticipated tentpoles of the year -- and considering the near-unanimously positive reaction to the TV spot, we imagine it should have no problem standing up against its bigger competitors. We'll find out if Abrams has pulled it off when "Super 8" opens on June 10th.

This article is related to: Films, Actresses, Super 8, Elle Fanning


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates