J.J. Abrams Talks Trek, M:I3, 'Lost' and 'Alias'By Michelle
May 2, 2006 - 8:57 PM
Amidst the latest Star Trek rumour -- that Ben Affleck might play Captain Kirk -- producer J.J. Abrams discussed his other projects, including the soon-to-open third Mission: Impossible film and his smash TV hits Lost and Alias.
Cinescape dropped the Affleck bomb, citing rumours heard by an anonymous source that the actor had been "talking to Paramount about possibly playing a lead role in a new Star Trek film from J.J Abrams" and that Abrams was coming to visit the set of Gone Baby Gone, which stars M:I3's Michelle Monaghan and is directed by Affleck.
Gossip aside, Abrams is promoting M:I3 and talking about television season finales, though he mentions Star Trek on occasion. In The Event Guide, he confirmed, "I'll be producing and most probably directing the 11th feature film outing, which won’t be out until about 2008 though." Most of the interview is about how he and Tom Cruise worked together on M:I3 after Abrams turned down Cruise and Steven Spielberg when they asked him to write the screenplay for War of the Worlds, because he was busy finishing the pilot of Lost. "It did cross my mind that my career was over...I just said no to Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise," recalled Abrams.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Cruise wanted the relatively inexperienced Abrams to direct as well as write so badly, he convinced Paramount to put the picture on hold for a year. "There were moments of lucidity where I would realize, 'What in the name of God am I doing?'" Abrams recalled. "And then I would just get distracted by the issue at hand, run off and blow something up." He was very surprised that Cruise was willing to lobby for him as director and teamed with Alias writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who will also reportedly write the Star Trek XI screenplay.
"You obviously worry when you're doing a show or a movie and you realize that if that person does anything in an extracurricular way, is that going to affect what you do?" Abrams said of Cruise's fame. "But you have to live in a practical way in that you try to control to the best of your ability what you can control."
Abrams explained to Moviehole that he had no problem multitasking, as he had to juggle his television commitments with his nascent movie career. "When I did television, I never thought of it as television, I thought of it as telling a story," he explained, noting that he always shot in widescreen, "just like a film. Because of that, I’ve never thought of it as TV compared to film." He said that he had deliberately looked for little-known actors to be Cruise's co-stars in M:I3 to have the kind of chemistry that Cruise had with Renee Zellwegger in Jerry Maguire. He also cast Keri Russell from Felicity, the show that launched them both to success.
In a New York Times profile, Abrams identified Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling as his personal hero because "he took outlandish situations and told them through emotional characterization." He said his greatest strength as a writer is that he writes quickly, he never goes anywhere without his BlackBerry and people's greatest misconception about him is "that what I do is work instead of fun."