By J. Rentilly
IN REAL LIFE, the 47-year-old J.J. Abrams is a
devoted husband and father with a close-knit
coterie of lifelong friends and collaborators. In
reel life, Abrams is the mastermind behind
such blockbuster film and television fare as
Lost, Alias, Fringe, Mission: Impossible 3 and 4,
Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness (just
released on DVD), all fantastic, cliff-hanging
tales that balance on the power of love, devotion, fidelity, commitment and family.
The Connection spoke recently with
Abrams about his successful body of work.
The Costco Connection: Your works have
a genuine sense of hope and optimism, and
they all deal with family in many ways.
Where does that come from?
J.J. Abrams: For me, the question of family
seems to be at the heart of most great stories.
I mean, TV is mostly family stories, even if
the families are not literal: people who are
thrown together in the hospital or the precinct or the law firm and they become the
closest allies with the deepest connections,
even if they have the greatest conflicts.
Looking at a movie like Into Darkness, it’s
about a family that depends upon each other,
that is understanding of each other, learning
what it is to be challenged, being faced with
questions of loyalty and responsibility and
sacrifice. My family means everything to me.
We’re better together.
CC: It’s well known that you were not, par-
ticularly, a Star Trek fan growing up. Why
board the Enterprise at all?
JJA: Part of why I chose to do Star Trek is
because it felt like a chance to take on a chal-
lenging, rich, exciting world that was full of
potential. It felt like an amazing chance to
make something that I never quite connected
with into something that was fun, thrilling,
relevant and meaningful to me.
We did the best we could to respect what
came before, but at the same time we didn’t feel
especially beholden to every literal and arcane
detail of the canon. We wanted this to be a
breath of fresh air, while bringing back characters that are beloved, and to honour the elements that made those characters so special.
CC: Is there a Star Trek character that you
really identify with?
JJA: I feel like I connect with all of them. In
some ways, working on a movie requires
being a little bit of Kirk and a little bit of
Spock. That is to say, when you are captaining
a ship or running a movie set, you have to be
the impulsive and instinctive, shoot-from-the-hip guy, but you also have to be logical,
organized and practical too. Part of the fun of
those two characters is they sort of complete
each other. So I have to say, I really do feel like
a little bit of each of them. C
J. Rentilly is a Los Angeles–based writer.
The Costco Connection
You can find Star Trek Into Darkness, along
with a variety of other DVDs, in your local
J.J. Abrams directs
actor Christopher Pine
as Captain Kirk.
Tablet or smartphone?
Hear more from J.J. Abrams
in an interview on our digital
newsstand (see page 61)
and online editions.