On the eve of Star Trek Into Darkness, JJ Abrams tells all

It’s taken four years to finally get to this point, but Star Trek Into Darkness is several days away from hitting theaters, and the reviews are pretty positive overall.

The public will ultimately decide how well this new Trek holds up next to JJ Abrams’s 2009 reinvention of the franchise, but from what we can gather so far it looks like it should be a good, fun time at the movies this summer. 

To help promote the film, Abrams has not only been going all over the world, because Trek is only big in the States and he’s trying to spread the word everywhere, including Moscow, but he also made a fun appearance on Howard Stern. As fans of Stern know, he’s an excellent interviewer who can get the goods out of people, and this interview didn’t disappoint. 

When Abrams first came in, Stern told him, “I remember when you were a loser having just written Felicity, now you’re a winner!” JJ at first sounded tired, and who can blame him? As Jimmy Kimmel, who hung around for the interview a bit, told Abrams, “You have a lot of shows on television.”

During the interview, Abrams talked about having his own 3D printer, which he uses to make props and models, having a bizarre meeting with Eddie Murphy in his office where he refused to turn on the lights and his entourage never left the room, as well as taking on the Star Wars franchise. 

Howard got much more out of Abrams than a lot of interviewers would on this subject, and he began by telling JJ that taking over Star Wars was “a no lose,” because “the last three that George Lucas made were horrible. He ruined the franchise, which is perfect. You’re going to come in there like Jesus Christ himself and save the franchise.” 

Abrams said, “The way I looked at it was when I was a kid and I saw Star Wars, it just blew my mind, and that feeling is something I haven’t felt in a long time.” Abrams sat down with producer Kathleen Kennedy to talk about directing the next movie, and initially he turned it down because he wanted to take some time out with his wife and family after putting in his time on Into Darkness. 

But after the meeting, he walked away with the impression that this would be a “once in a lifetime opportunity, crazy opportunity.” He told his wife he was still going to turn it down, but she told him, “You’ve got to really think about, because this is something you’ll regret if you don’t consider it.” This is one reason why Star Wars is shooting in London, so he can go with his family and have a little time away. “So we’re going away, but we’re not going away the way we planned at all.” 

JJ said he hasn’t read the script for the new Star Wars yet, it’s still being written by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), which lead to Howard’s next question, how did JJ’s version of Superman fall apart at Warners? You may recall that Superman has gone through many incarnations before the Bryan Singer version, as well as the current reboot, Man of Steel, which is coming on June 14.

JJ wrote a Superman as well, but the script leaked onto the net and got destroyed by the geeks. As Abrams told Stern, “On this website there was this review, this scene for scene review of this earlier draft, this massive, endless review. That wasn’t the worst part. It was the comments after: ‘You motherf*cker! You raped my childhood!’ It was like a jihad. And Warner Brothers were already in the place whether this would work (or not) ended up pulling the plug. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve become a little bit more paranoid about leaks and things getting out.”

In regards to his penchant for secrecy, Abrams added, “Even if it’s not leaked, I hate when I go to the movies, and I’ve seen a trailer or couple of commercials, and I know the whole f*ckin’ movie. (With Into Darkness) We’re trying to keep the thing a little bit quiet, so when you go see the movie if there are surprises, they’re actual surprises.”

Robin also got a good question in, asking JJ if he cares how people watch his movies, whether it’s on the big screen, or on the iPhone. Abrams said, “When you shoot in IMAX, which is a huge negative, the idea that you’d watch it on something smaller than the negative…but I watch shows on the iPad mini, it’s a weird thing.” 

Ultimately Abrams told Howard that with making movies, “To get to do any of it, I feel incredibly lucky. So it’s like, to complain, ‘Oh figuring out the story was incredibly hard,’ you’re immediately an a**hole.”