Dec. 22, 2011 | 5:51 p.m.
There’s no 2011 movie that was covered more here at Hero Complex than “Super 8” (well, maybe that “Harry Potter” movie) and we’re not quite done yet — on Jan. 7 our Geoff Boucher will do an on-stage interview with writer-director J.J. Abrams and some of the stars of the film at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. The Q&A session will follow a 7:30 p.m. screening of the retro-spirited sci-fi film by American Cinematheque, the nonprofit, viewer-supported cultural organization that celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. Tickets on sale through the American Cinematheque website. RECENT AND RELATED Spielberg: This is the first true Abrams film A tour of ‘Super 8’ pop-culture artifacts J.J. Abrams on the big lessons of smaller budgets J.J. Abrams speaks: The secrets of ‘Super 8’ Elle Fanning puts the pedal down on career ‘Super 8’ star: ‘J.J. was the seventh kid’ J.J. […]
Nov. 22, 2011 | 5:28 p.m.
J.J. Abrams grew up in the entertainment industry and he’s a father himself but during the filming of “Super 8” — which arrives this week on home video — the director discovered early on that working with young stars created a special brand of filmmaker anxiety. Our Geoff Boucher caught up with Abrams last week to chat about that and the overall experience of making the film that earned $259 million worldwide despite a lean production budget of $55 million — which may sound like a lot until you consider the fact that “Green Lantern” cost north of $200 million and took in $219 million in global box office. (Note: This interview took place before Abrams spoke to the Los Angeles Times for an article about the criminal background of Jason James Murphy, a casting consultant on “Super 8.”) J.J. Abrams directs his […]
June 15, 2011 | 4:42 a.m.
The film “Super 8” is a valentine to amateur moviemaking, vintage coming-of-age films and the pop-culture texture of the late 1970s and early 1980s — so, essentially, the sci-fi thriller is also a tour through the mind and heart of writer-director J.J. Abrams. Nowhere is that more evident than the “Super 8” scenes that follow the young characters into their rooms at home; the walls, floors and desks are cluttered with carefully chosen artifacts from the long-gone era of vinyl and polyester. Abrams and I sat down with some movie stills and he talked about the retro backdrops that are, for him, touchstones from the movie of his own memories. Aurora “Hunchback of Notre Dame” model: In the photo above, Joe Lamb (portrayed by Joel Courtney) is painting a classic Aurora model. “In the movie we have a whole scene, a whole page [in the script], about dry-brush technique, and that’s […]
June 13, 2011 | 9:25 a.m.
The red-carpet sights and sounds of “Super 8” from the recent premiere in Los Angeles. Thanks to Amy Kaufman, the Los Angeles Times reporter, holding the camera and asking the questions. RECENT AND RELATED Spielberg: This is the first true Abrams film J.J. Abrams speaks: The secrets of “Super 8″ Elle Fanning puts the pedal down on career “Super 8″ star: “J.J. was the seventh kid” Spielberg on “Raiders” and 30th anniversary J.J. Abrams: 7 films that shaped “Super 8″ “Super 8″: A clue arrives in the mail… Close encounter with ’70s: “Super 8″ hits Twitter “Trek” writers: We’ve broken the sequel story Jon Favreau hits “Cowboys” campaign trail Ron Howard’s quest for King’s “The Dark Tower”
June 13, 2011 | 6:16 a.m.
The new J.J. Abrams film “Super 8” arrived Friday with a sci-fi tale of a ferocious monster on the loose in a small Ohio town, but, really, the movie’s true aspiration is to weave a coming-of-age story in the tradition of “Stand By Me.” We’ve been talking to some of the young actors at the center of the film who, judging by their poised and evocative work in “Super 8,” just might be the future stars of Hollywood. Today: a chat with Riley Griffiths, who grew up in Utah and plays Charles, the director of the amateur zombie movie that gets interrupted by an alien encounter. GB: It’s a movie about people making a movie, which adds an interesting layer to it. And the fact that it’s kids making an amateur film makes it quite endearing … RG: Steven [Spielberg, the producer] and J.J. made those kind of movies when they […]
June 09, 2011 | 10:20 a.m.
The new J.J. Abrams film “Super 8” arrives Friday with a sci-fi tale of a ferocious monster on the loose in a small Ohio town but, really, the movie’s true aspiration is to weave a coming-of-age story in the tradition of “Stand By Me.” All this week we’re talking to some of the young actors at the center of the film who, judging by their poised and evocative work in “Super 8,” just might be the future stars of Hollywood. Today, a chat with Ryan Lee, the 14-year-old Texan who plays Cary, a boy with a penchant for explosives and a knack for making his friends laugh. NC: “Super 8” reminded me of movies I liked when I was a kid, like “The Goonies,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” and “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” especially when it came to the relationships between the kids. RL: It’s funny that […]
June 09, 2011 | 6:17 a.m.
A sci-fi movie with an elusive name — one word and one number — arrives in theaters during the summer with a relatively modest budget and special effects that, on the screen, look far bigger than their cost. There’s not a single movie star in it, though, because the project’s biggest name is its producer. The movie is called…”District 9.” Or perhaps “Super 8“? Paramount Pictures executives are certainly hoping that Friday’s release of “Super 8,” from director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg, will start a success story not unlike 2009’s “District 9,” the nimble Peter Jackson-produced enterprise that posted an opening weekend of $37 million in domestic box office and went on to an Academy Award nomination for best picture. John Horn of the Los Angeles Times takes a look at the commercial aspirations and challenges of this new film; here’s an excerpt […]
June 08, 2011 | 6:17 a.m.
The new J.J. Abrams film “Super 8” arrives in theaters Friday with a compelling cast of youngsters who are a wild mix as far as experience — Elle Fanning has been around television or movie productions since she was a toddler, while Riley Griffiths‘ first day on the “Super 8” set was his first day on any set. Putting that ensemble together was an excruciatingly slow process, according to producer Steven Spielberg, who has decades of experience in the cinema of youth. “The casting process was the longest casting process I’ve ever seen on a little movie,” Spielberg said with an admiring groan. “This is a movie that is big, absolutely, when you see it in theater, but it didn’t cost a $100 million to make. It was a relatively modest budget for the amount of production value that J.J. was able to put on […]
June 07, 2011 | 11:23 a.m.
The new J.J. Abrams film “Super 8” arrives Friday with a sci-fi tale of a ferocious alien on the loose in a small Ohio town but, really, the movie’s true aspiration is to weave a coming-of-age story in the tradition of “Stand By Me.” All this week we’re talking to some of the young actors at the center of the film who, judging by their poised and evocative work in “Super 8,” just might be the future stars of Hollywood. Today, a chat with Elle Fanning, the 13-year-old Georgia native (and sister of Dakota Fanning) who plays Alice, whose factory-worker father is in a grim spiral after a run of hard luck and hard-drinking. GB: One of the strengths of the film is that the friendships among the youngsters feels very authentic, it doesn’t come off as an adult’s condescending or clumsy version of kid life. […]
June 02, 2011 | 9:29 a.m.
There are plenty of stories with Hollywood endings — this is one with a Hollywood beginning. A new J.J. Abrams film called “Super 8” reaches theaters on June 10 with a coming-of-age story about young, amateur filmmakers who film a spidery space alien on the loose in Ohio during summer 1979. For people who know the 44-year-old Abrams, that plot seems only slightly more fantastic than the real-life, three-decade story that led to the film. “The craziest thing is that it’s true, it actually did happen,” says Damon Lindelof, who collaborated with Abrams on the landmark ABC series “Lost” and the hit 2009 film “Star Trek.” “The more you know about the story, the crazier it is to see this movie coming out now.” “Super 8” was written and directed by Abrams, but it was produced by his childhood hero, […]