J.J.’s in Japan, so we paid him a visit to ask about his favorite part of making films and the intense pressure of working on such a beloved franchise.
Up until a few days ago, our Japanese-language correspondent P.K. had never seen anything from the Star Trek franchise. He hadn’t watched any of the movies, reboots or otherwise, nor a single episode of the myriad TV series that are part of the sci-fi classic’s complete body of work.
Then he went to a press screening of Star Trek Beyond (which was finally released in Japan on October 21) and was completely blown away. As a matter of fact, he came out of the screening so amped up that he immediately rented the 2009 Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, went home, and watched them back-to-back that very same day.
Given how quickly he’s taken to the series, we decided P.K. would be the perfect member of the RocketNews24 team to send out for an exclusive interview with J.J. Abrams, producer of Star Trek Beyond and director of the two preceding Star Trek films. P.K. met up with the multi-talented movie icon at his Tokyo hotel, where he was staying during his trip to Japan to promote the film’s opening, where the two had the following conversation.
P.K.: I attended the screening for Star Trek Beyond. I can say, without exaggeration, that it was awesome.
Abrams: Thank you! I’m glad to hear that.
P.K.: To be totally honest, I’m a Star Wars fan, but I’d never seen any of the Star Trek series before Beyond. I think there might be many other fans who love Star Wars but haven’t watched any of the Star Trek movies, but how do you feel about that?
Abrams: Well, Star Wars and Star Trek are different, very different, series. I know a lot of people like to try to compare them to one another, but I don’t think that’s something you can really do.
So, for people who aren’t already fans of Star Trek, I’d say this: Star Trek Beyond is a great entry point to the franchise. The portrayal of the characters and outer space environments are all well-done. The characters are relatable, and the action is great too.
Movies of such a large scale don’t come around very often. You could say this is the first. So because of that, I think Star Trek Beyond is really a great entry point. Justin Lin has done a fantastic job as director.
P.K.: After watching Beyond, I watched the 2009 Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. I feel like Beyond is the best of the three.
Abrams: Haha thanks. I’ll let Justin know!
P.K.: Aside from Star Trek, you’re also involved with the Mission Impossible and Star Wars franchises, both of which have very passionate fanbases. It must be satisfying to work on such highly anticipated projects, but I imagine those high expectations must also make things difficult. Do you worry about taking on such big challenges?
Abrams: Haha of course I worry! I think about the good and bad of any project. But what I think first is, “Wow, how lucky am I?” I’m really fortunate to be part of films that people expect so much from.
P.K.: You’ve worked as both a film and TV director, as well as a producer, scriptwriter, and a composer. Which do you feel suits you best?
Abrams: First, I have to say that I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to have done all of them. But I guess I’d say that what I like best is directing. Directors are engaged with all aspects of the film, from the script to editing. I like being able to take part in all of the different processes of filmmaking.
This time, for Star Trek Beyond, I’m a producer, but the producer’s job is to support the director’s vision, so I was always thinking of how to provide that support to Justin, who’s an immensely talented director.
P.K.: It’s sort of changing the subject, but I’ve always thought, “I’d love to be in a Star Wars movie someday,” and now I feel the same way about Star Trek. Do you think I’ve got a shot?
Abrams: Haha sure, you probably do. You know, we had an open audition for Star Wars. If you want work as an extra, you could try getting in touch with people who’ve done that sort of thing before.
P.K.: I’ll give that a try! Finally, do you have a message for RocketNews24’s readers?
▼ He sure does!
A big thanks to J.J. for taking the time to talk with us, and we hope to sit down for another chat the next time he’s in Japan!