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No major movie this summer has been kept under wraps like SUPER 8. A teaser trailer from last year showed a train derailment and some sort of creature escaping from a military train-car. Now, SUPER 8 writer/director Abrams has talked for the first time about the movie “with anybody that wasn’t working on it.” Also, you can take a peek at the 30-second trailer that aired during the Super Bowl.
The LA Times spoke with Abrams, who dropped some juicy details about the June 10 release that was executive produced by Steven Spielberg.
“To me, all people need to know is that it’s an adventure about a small town and it’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s scary and there’s a mystery: What is this thing that has escaped? What are the ramifications of its presence? And what is the effect on people?” Abrams says. “But I know that’s not enough. Look, I feel we need a little bit of a coming-out party because we are up against massive franchises and brands and most people don’t know what ‘SUPER 8’ means. We’re a complete anomaly in a summer of huge films.
SUPER 8 takes its name from the Eastman Kodak film format that amateur moviemakers used in the late 1960s. The story takes place in Ohio in 1979 and involves a group of kids who are using a Super 8 camera to make their own zombie movie. One night, their project takes them to the railroad tracks and, as they’re filming, a truck collides with an oncoming locomotive and something emerges from the wreckage.
“As the process went along I realized I had the potential makings of my favorite sort of movie, which is the one that is the hardest genre to define,” Abrams says. “That’s because you could say—and be right—that it’s a science fiction movie; or you could say—and be right—that it’s a love story; or you could say—and be right—that it’s a comedy; or you could say—and be right—that it’s a special-effects spectacle. That sort of cocktail is for me what I love about movies.”
[SPOILER WARNING!!!] SUPER 8 started off as two projects that ended up merging. The first was a non-fantastical tale of kids and the way they see the world and each other through their Super 8 camera. The second was a separate idea by Abrams for a scary film about the 1970s scrutiny of Area 51 and how government officials decided to ship the classified possessions from the notorious military base to other sites aboard midnight trains—but one never reaches its final destination. “I was in possession of two halves,” Abrams says, “and it occurred to me after six months or so to put them together. This is a movie about overcoming loss and finding your way again and finding your own voice. A boy who’s lost his mother and the man who’s lost his wife. There’s this father who, because of the era, never really had to be the parent. He’s a good man, he works hard, he’s a deputy in the town, but he’s never stepped up as father.
”We have such a challenge on this movie,” Abrams admits. ”Yes we’ve got Steven’s name on it and my name on it—for what that’s worth—but we’ve got no famous superhero, we’ve got no pre-existing franchise or sequel, it’s not starring anyone you’ve heard of before. There’s no book, there’s no toy, there’s no comic book. There’s nothing. I don’t have anything; I don’t even have a board game, that’s how bad it is. But I think we have a very good movie.”
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