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Abrams on Episode IX : “I feel like we’ve might’ve done it”

The script, by Abrams and Chris Terrio, sounds like it turned out pretty darn good

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Ahead of the release of “Star Wars Episode IX”, director J.J Abrams spoke with Fast Company about returning to helm the final chapter in the new trilogy and how he was initially reluctant about directing another “Star Wars” film after 2015’s “The Force Awakens”.

“While there are some threads of larger ideas and some big picture things that had been conceived decades ago and a lot of ideas that Lawrence Kasdan and I had when we were doing Episode VII, the lack of absolute inevitability, the lack of a complete structure for this thing, given the way it was being run was an enormous challenge. Because this was such a mega job, I knew at the very least I needed a co-writer to work on this thing, but I didn’t know who that co-writer would be. There was nothing. So the first thing I did was reach out to a writer who I’ve admired for years, Chris Terrio. who I didn’t really know, to say, ‘Listen, would you want to write Star Wars with me?’ And he screamed.
What I realized in that moment was, I hadn’t been aware until then that I needed to work with someone who would scream at the prospect of working on Star Wars. Because I had been through the process, and I was looking at brass tacks: This is what it’s going to take, this is the reality of it. And he was looking at it sort of childlike: Oh my God, I can’t believe we get to play in this world, which I needed to be reminded of. I needed that point of view, because that’s not where I was. Of course, I was excited about what we could do, but I was acutely aware of how little time we had to do a fairly enormous job.”

Abrams feels like they’ve knocked it out of the park though.

“The difference is I feel like we might’ve done it. Like, I actually feel like this crazy challenge that could have been a wildly uncomfortable contortion of ideas, and a kind of shoving-in of answers and Band-Aids and bridges and things that would have felt messy. Strangely, we were sort of relentless and almost unbearably disciplined about the story and forcing ourselves to question and answer some fundamental things that at the beginning, I absolutely had no clue how we would begin to address. I feel like we’ve gotten to a place – without jinxing anything or sounding more confident than I deserve to be – I feel like we’re in a place where we might have something incredibly special. So I feel relief being home, and I feel gratitude that I got to do it. And more than anything, I’m excited about what I think we might have.”

“Star Wars: Episode IX” opens December 20th.

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A new look at the J.J Abrams’ Superman

Remember this one? Brett Ratner was going to direct it in the early noughties

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Before being crowned diet Spielberg, not to mention one of the busiest producer-director units around, J.J Abrams (“Mission : Impossible”, “Star Trek”, “Super 8”, “The Force Awakens”) was making a plum living for himself as a well-respected screenwriter.

In the ’90s, he wrote such films as “Regarding Henry” with Harrison Ford and “Forever Young” with Mel Gibson, and a couple of years after, co-wrote “Armageddon” for Michael Bay, the Danny Glover-Joe Pesci comedy “Gone Fishin'”, and “Joy Ride” starring the late Paul Walker.

At the same time he was celebrating big-time TV success with “Felicity” and “Alias”, and later “Lost” and “Fringe”.

Now around the time that he was penning lines for then curly-haired heroine Keri Russell, Abrams was working on a ‘Superman’ script for Warner Bros.  Abrams’ take on the man of steel would be fun but radical, as the Fandom page for the film reminds us :

Flyby was an origin story that included Krypton besieged by a civil war between Jor-El and his corrupt brother, Kata-Zor. Before Kata-Zor sentences Jor-El to prison, Kal-El is launched to Earth to fulfill a prophecy. Adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent, he forms a romance with Lois Lane in the Daily Planet. However, Lois is more concerned with exposing Lex Luthor, written as a government agent obsessed with UFO phenomena. Clark reveals himself to the world as Superman, bringing Kata-Zor’s son, Ty-Zor, and three other Kryptonians to Earth. Superman is defeated and killed, and visits Jor-El (who committed suicide on Krypton while in prison) in Kryptonian heaven. Resurrected, he returns to Earth and defeats the four Kryptonians, while the script ends with Superman off to Krypton, leaving a cliffhanger for a sequel.

Brett Ratner, then a much hotter commodity than he is today (aaargh), was attached to direct the film before McG (“Charlie’s Angels”) took over. Warner’s choice for the title role was then it-boy Josh Hartnett and, if I recall correctly, Robert Downey Jr was even attached to play Luthor!

Here are some previously released concept sketches for the big guy…

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The film, of course, didn’t end up coming to fruition and Warners opted to go a safer route with the “Superman” movie franchise and instead greenlight a version that would play as the fourth sequel to the Christopher Reeve-starring films. “Superman Returns”, directed by Brian Singer, was released in 2006.

And that was that for Abrams and his ‘Superman’ dream… or is it? Chatter of late has Abrams and his Bad Robot outfit circling Warner’s next take on the Man of Steel. And as opposed to the aforementioned incarnation, this is a film that he’d likely write but also produce and direct.

Anyway, over on Twitter today, “Spider-Man : Into the Spider-Verse” helmer Peter Ramsey dropped some storyboards that he’d designed for the proposed 2002 film, which gives us a pretty decent idea as to what the studio were hoping to accomplish with the film. Cool stuff!

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 plot leaks!?

Two hot new additions to the franchise revealed

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More fuel for the ‘Efron in the MCU’  fire today, with a report from oft-reliable Marvel insider ‘4Chan’ (via That Hashtag Show) suggesting the former Disney-staple and “Greatest Showman” star is the studio’s pick to play Adam Warlock in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”.

According to the report (which has since been deleted- interesting..), Efron would play the golden-skinned superhero in this film and possibly other, non-“Guardians” films (Considering the character’s debut in early “Thor” comics, we be thinking there’s  a chance he might pop up in the fourth film in that series.)

The main gist of this film reportedly involves Rocket’s creator, The High Evolutionary, who is the film’s main rogue. The racoon will get loved up with Llyla, who is one of the villain’s experiments. There will be good news for Drax (Dave Bautista), who discovers his daughter is still alive, and Nebula (Karen Gillan) grows closer to her sister’s former flame Star-Lord (Chris Pratt).

Efron won’t be the only ‘hunky’ new addition to the franchise, with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor also expected to join the ‘guardians’ for the threequel. In the film, the hammer-wielding Asgardian is said to be stumbling upon Beta Bay.

According to the aforesaid tipster, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3” is designed to be the last instalment in the franchise.

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Beowulf star boards Black Widow

Versatile thesp joining Scarlett Johansson “Avengers” prequel

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Ray Winstone, the Essex-born thesp who has proven more adaptable than a universal remote control over the years, has signed on for Marvel’s “Black Widow” film.

The 62-year-old actor, known for such films as “Sexy Beast”, “Indiana Jones the Crystal Skull”, “Beowulf”, “The Departed” and “King of Thieves”, joins a cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, reprising her MCU-staple role of Natasha Romanov, with David Harbour, Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz.

Marvel have yet to comment on the casting, first revealed by Variety, let alone reveal details of Winstone’s character.

“Black Widow” is currently filming in London.

 

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