Director In Focus: J.J. Abrams


Jeffrey Jacob “J.J.” Abrams was born in June 27, 1966 in New York. Coming from a media industry based background (both his parents were producers), Abrams wished to attend a film school but decided against it in favour of college on the advice of his father who said “it’s more important that you go off and learn what to make movies about than how to make movies.”

Abrams made his directorial debut in 2006 with Mission: Impossible III, up until that point he had made a name for himself with popular TV series’ such as 2004’s Lost (which ran until 2010) and since then has become iconic with his work in the genres of action, drama and science fiction. As a director, he has several trademarks such as often including a sub-plot about a box with mysterious contents, or adding a ‘cold opening’ – a suspenseful opening sequence before the opening credits used as a ‘hook’ so the audience are directly introduced into the story (he did this with both M:I III and his 2009 re-boot of Star Trek) and he is very enigmatic when it comes to the plot lines of his projects.

Abrams’ recent works, a re-imagining of the massively popular sci-fi series Star Trek and its sequel, Star Trek: Into Darkness have not only given him a positive reputation but have also paved the way for his directing of the first instalment of the new Star Wars sequel trilogy, making him the first director to direct films from both franchises, which have rivalling ‘fandoms’. Initially, Abrams had declined the role of director, however the potential creative freedom he’d have with the project as well as persuasion from his wife and the fact that the Star Wars franchise is something of an inspiration to Abrams, changed his mind.

For all sceptical fans, the final trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens enhances Abrams’ enigmatic style of filmmaking, yet fails to avoid the video game style of airborne fights that he generally eludes to. The trailer epitomises the work Abrams has placed into the making of this movie, showing promise and will no doubt prove to be an effort worth waiting for for any sci-fi fan worth their salt.

Did you know?

  • Abrams is one of the co-founders of the production company Bad Robot, which as well as powering his own projects, has also produced every single Mission: Impossible movie since Abram’s own effort.
  • As well as lending a helping hand on Lost, Abrams also created the cult TV show Alias.
  • In 2013, Abrams and author Doug Dorst released a novel entitled S. which required readers to uncover puzzles hidden in secretive messages throughout the book.

The Film You Should Watch: Either of Abrams’ Star Trek films will certainly prove to be a great warm-up for this December’s latest Star Wars.


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