The rumors are true, R2-D2 will return in Star Wars: Episode VII. It’s hard to imagine a Star Wars feature film without this little astromech droid, and it’s great to see a familiar friend returning to the big screen in 2015.
From StarWars.com: The first behind-the-scenes photo from Star Wars: Episode VII hit Twitter last Thursday, featuring director J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and a certain blue and white astromech droid — who StarWars.com can now confirm will indeed be in the film.
The other two guys pictured are Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples, Star Wars fans and members of the worldwide R2-D2 Builders Club.
Glad to see the return of a classic character to the big screen for the next installment of Star Wars.
News came a little while ago that Michael Arndt has been replaced by both J.J. Abrams (Super 8) and Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi). Rumors at the time pointed directly at Disney insisting that the release date for Star Wars: Episode VII would be 2015. Interestingly, the announced release date on December 18, 2015 places it about 4 months after the next D23 Expo.
But why has this shift in screenwriters happened?
Abrams was on a conference call, and Deadline reported he said the following:
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. Working with Larry Kasdan, especially on a Star Wars movie is kind of unbeatable.
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. [This event] doesn’t preclude working with Michael again in the future, he is one of the best writers around.
The New York Times interviewed J.J. Abrams regarding his upcoming book, S., which was written by Doug Dorst, based on a story that he wrote. In the interview, he mentions his favorite character that he created is still Sydney Bristow from Alias.
Of all the characters you’ve written across different media, who is your favorite?
I suppose my favorite that I’ve created was Sydney Bristow, the central character from the TV series “Alias.” She was a character with a secret, and that is always a fun place to start. I love how she was sweet and romantic and looked like the girl next door, but was also lethal and brave as hell, and would do nearly everything for love of country. But she wasn’t a superhero; she was terrified at almost every step. But still, she would do the right thing. I think we would all like to believe we would behave like that when the going gets rough. Also, we had Jennifer Garner playing the role, and she elevated absolutely everything.
Who are your favorite novelists?
My knee-jerk answer: Mark Twain for his amazing use of language and humor, and H. G. Wells for his wild, prescient imagination. I want to say Salinger, too, but all this is making me sound like I’m still in junior high. I have a great affection for the writing of Graham Greene and am amazed by the soul and poetry of Colum McCann. And I can’t tell which is more incredible: how Stephen King can grab you by the throat in whatever damn genre he’s writing in, or that as soon as you’ve finished his latest novel, he’s published another one. His skill and prolificacy is otherworldly. Like, maybe literally.
As “Episode VII” continues pre-production, Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams have assumed screenwriting duties for the film. Kasdan, who has been serving as a consultant on the film, is a veteran of several classic Lucasfilm productions, writing the screenplay for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and serving as co-screenwriter for “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” Acclaimed director and screenwriter Abrams’ credits include “Super 8,” “Mission: Impossible III,” “Fringe,” and “Lost.”
“I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” states Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a “Star Wars” story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production.”
Location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design are already underway on “Episode VII.” A team of gifted artists are working to bring the latest installment of the “Star Wars” saga, including director of photography Dan Mindel (“Mission: Impossible III,” “Star Trek“), production designers Rick Carter (“Lincoln,” “Avatar“) and Darren Gilford (“Oblivion,” “TRON: Legacy“), costume designer Michael Kaplan (“Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol“), special effects supervisor Chris Corbould (“Skyfall,” “The Dark Knight Rises“), sound designer Ben Burtt (“Lincoln,” “Star Wars: Episodes I-VI“), re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom (“Jurassic Park,” “Saving Private Ryan“), supervising sound editor Matthew Wood (“Star Trek Into Darkness,” “The Master“) of Skywalker Sound, and visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett (“Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End“) of Industrial Light & Magic. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper (“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” “Star Trek Into Darkness“) and Jason McGatlin (“Tintin,” “War of the Worlds“) serving as executive producers.
John Williams is returning to score Star Wars: Episode VII.
Shooting is scheduled to begin Spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios for an expected 2015 release.
J.J. Abrams spoke with The Wrap about the upcoming TV series, Almost Human. “The future lets you tell a story that’s not quite anything you’ve seen before,” executive producer Abrams says.
Abrams’ interview has inter-cut scenes from the debut episode of the new Fox drama and behind-the-scenes footage from the set. The “Lost” co-creator is fascinated by the possibilities offered by a story set three decades from now.
“It allows you to do some really cool stuff. It also allows you to have hyper-real stories,” Abrams continued. “Stories about bad guys that are doing things that are scarier, larger, more unexpected than you could do today.”
“Almost Human” stars Karl Urban (The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness) as human cop John Kennex and Michael Ealy as his not-so-human partner, Dorian. J.H Wyman, the executive producer of “Fringe,” penned the pilot and executive produces.
“Almost Human” premieres Monday, Nov. 4 at 8/7c on Fox.
J.J. Abrams spoke at Mashable’s Social Good Summit via Skype on Monday, revealing that there is more to his movies and television shows than just keeping you on the edge of your seat. While this is something that we’ve always known, we didn’t really know about the social good that came along.
“If we have a story we want to tell and can also make a change — that’s great,” Abrams said. “Five U.N. specialists spent time with our writers, and they really helped deepen our story lines and make the challenges even bigger: How do you prevent disease? What is life really like in a refugee camp? The whole notion of warlords is gonna be an issue in the series this year.”
Abrams’ team also met with people that are currently, or have, lived without electricity. “People with real-life experiences helped enormously to give the series a grounding in reality.”
Abrams also created a spin-off of his production company Bad Robot, to help with the social good effort. It’s called Good Robot.
The release party for the Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray lead to more interviews. People weren’t allowed to ask questions about Star Wars: Episode VII, but that’s no big deal… we’ll have plenty of time to learn about that movie over the next couple of years as we wait for it to come out. In the meantime, Geek Nation got the opportunity to speak to J.J. Abrams, Michael Giacchino and Simon Pegg. Here’s what Abrams said. You’ll have to go to Geek Nation for the rest.
First up, if he had to choose one particular element of Star Trek that convinced him to return to direct this sequel, what was it?
“It was the cast originally, because I just wanted to work with them again. But then we started talking about what the story would be, I was just getting very excited about the possibilities of doing – the idea of being able to bring Khan back. The idea of this black stealth version of the Enterprise was interesting to me. The idea of doing a chase scene in San Francisco. The idea of having a future San Francisco. It was a bunch of elements.”
On a project of this magnitude, when there’s so much pressure on the filmmaker to deliver a successful final product and so much money at stake, I wondered how much room Abrams had to experiment and try new things:
“I would argue, honestly, an incredible amount. We have crazy limits all the time on every movie, and you always think, ‘Oh, it’s got a big budget and therefore…’ you know. But honestly, the ability to say, ‘You know what would be really cool?’ and then figure out a way to make it happen, I don’t think I can imagine a more wide open opportunity than this. Part of the fun of this movie was being able to do that time and again – even last minute stuff, we were able to pull off.”
Since Abrams has become inextricably tied to the concept of the “mystery box” after his TED Talk and issue of Wired, I had to know how much of that concept the director felt defined his work, for better or worse:
“I think people might misread the mystery box thing as some kind of approach I take to making stories. It was really a deconstruction of what that mystery box – which is simply a mystery box that I haven’t opened that has magic in it – into how the idea of the box meaning the movie theater and what you might see, what you hope to see. That feeling of anticipation. What the TV, what the computer is when you’re going to either watch something or write something. What might be inside that thing, either as a point of creation or as a point of consuming entertainment? So I don’t ever look at a story and go, ‘Wait, wait. Stop everyone. Stop for a minute. Take the mystery box approach.’ [Laughs] I don’t think of the mystery box as a kind of format or a formula, but I do feel like anyone, any story you tell, or any story you watch that you like, makes you lean in and ask questions. That is simply a result of compelling moments that don’t have all the answers in front of you that make you want the answers. There’s nothing worse than going to see a movie where exposition is given about something that you don’t care about, and you just feel like, ‘Ugh. Now I’m being told, now I’m supposed to feel this.’ And it’s not an experience, but an exercise in being frustrated by bad storytelling.”
After thanking J.J. for “Lost” (“Oh, that’s sweet of you. I’ll tell Damon and Carlton you said so.”) and thanking him for his time, it was off to the party, where we ate Trek-themed ice cream (the best flavor was called “Starchip Enterprise”) and drank vodka slush drinks frozen with liquid nitrogen (not kidding).
Via Geek Nation
J.J. Abrams has managed to bring great TV shows to the small screen, great movies to the big screen, and now he’s likely going to bring great novels to the book shelf. After a book that was supposed to be a big piece of Lost didn’t pan out as well as they’d hoped, it looks like this one won’t be a misfire. “In all fairness, the book was written by Doug Dorst,” Abrams points out. “It was based on an idea that I had that we developed together, but I don’t want to take credit for writing the book. He wrote the book and it is an extraordinary thing that he’s done.”
Here’s the official description:
One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire.
A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.
The book: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V.M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.
The writer: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumors that swirl around him.
The readers: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.
“It’s a book that, when you get it, comes out of this sleeve and looks like an old library book,” Abrams continues. “When you open it, you see that not only is it an old library book, it’s a novel and that people have written in the margins. You realize that it’s two people writing to each other and that the book was used as a means of communication between these two. It’s an investigation into this mystery and also a love story. Kind of a play on top of a book. There are these pieces of ephemera. Postcards and photographs and maps and letters and things that are actually physical in the book and actually come out. It’s not like any book you’ve seen before, I think. It’s pretty amazing not just what Doug has done but also Little Brown’s Mulholland Books.”
There were times in Star Trek Into Darkness that the lens flares just seemed to be all over the screen. In a way, I kind of hope that the new Star Wars films that Abrams directs have Lightsaber lens flares. But I digress… in a new video from Crave Online, they interviewed Abrams and he gives an update on a potential new Star Trek TV series for CBS, as well as makes an apology for his use of lens flares. He’s got a great, laid back, sense of humor about it, and is so self-aware about it, it’s refreshing to have a film-maker that is able to laugh at himself.