Last night I saw 20-plus minutes of Super 8 and talked to JJ Abrams. Ask me anything!
I don't know what to say. I mean that in both a literal and figurative fashion. Sitting in a New York City theater last night, JJ Abrams introduced about 22-minutes of footage from SUPER 8, which gave me actual goosebumps and had me wondering how I could describe this to our readers. In a literal sense, Abrams (and later representatives from Paramount) pleaded with the audience not to spoil anything about what we saw. I had a big debate in my own mind about what I could talk about from the footage I saw that would give you an idea for the scope and tone of the movie without giving anything away.
Then I had an idea: following Reddit's popular AMA (ask me anything) forums, I'd let you guys lead the way.
Before we get into that, I should first tell you that what the 22-minutes of footage I saw consisted of two scenes from the film. The first, about 14-15 minutes, was an extended look at the only image we've had of SUPER 8 since its very inception: the train crash. Any director can stage a train crash but Abrams and crew were wise to show us about 10 minutes of preceding scenes made up of character work. So when what happens, happens, it's so much more of an impact than just a bunch of train cars exploding off tracks.
The second scene will be more difficult to describe. It is glimpsed briefly in the latest trailer and as JJ describes it, "It takes place in a gas station and it's a scene where the...thing that has gotten off the train crosses paths with some...people."
It's difficult to extrapolate what the final movie will be based off about 20-minutes of footage but based on what we saw, SUPER 8 looks to be everything you've wanted out of this film - an original sci-fi, coming-of-age story from JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg - and then some. It is both very Spielbergian and very Abramsian (an adjective I actually discussed with Abrams himself).
After the footage, I got the chance to speak to Abrams and, separately, some of the creative team. It was very informal, no recorders or scribbling down quotes, but in typical JJ fashion, he had some very insightful, interesting and funny answers to any questions lobbed his way. (In the background was a legitimate Super 8 projector spooling the trailer on the wall.)
Without further ado, let's try this out! I'll leave the comments open on this article and check back frequently answering any and all questions to the best of my ability and with as little spoilers as possible.