Friday, January 15, 2010


J.J. Abrams is a very busy producer/director/writer, what with ABC’s LOST ending, Fox’s FRINGE continuing and the NBC spy show pilot UNDERCOVERS beginning, not to mention two little movies, STAR TREK 2 and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE IV in the works. At a Fox party for the Television Critics Association, Abrams took the time to give us a little exclusive.

iF MAGAZINE: How hands-on are you with FRINGE these days?
J.J. ABRAMS: You know, Jeff Pinkner and Joel [J.H.] Wyman run the show and are doing an amazing job and I’m in prep on this pilot, so the fact is that lately they’ve been running the whole show. Anything that people like about the show I say is due to the work that they’re doing.
iF: Leonard Nimoy has reportedly said he might not be back as William Bell. Is that entailing any sort of change in storyline?
ABRAMS: No, we’re right on track with the story that we’re going to tell, and there’s a strong chance he’ll be back.
iF: As the FRINGE season progresses, can you say if it’s going to get any more serialized, more stand-alone, or about the balance we’ve seen so far?

ABRAMS: I think that they maintain a nice balance doing episodes that have an overall stand-alone approach but thread in serialized stories. There are some episodes that are more hard-hitting mythology. So I think you’ll probably end up seeing, as it builds to the end, a few more potentially mythology-focused episodes as the season concludes.
iF: Can you say if you’re ending on a cliffhanger or not this season?
ABRAMS: There’s a great story at the very end. You might say that it’s a cliffhanger, but it’s also a revelation. I think that it’s a story that we’ve wanted to tell from the beginning of the season, so I’m excited to see it.
iF: What have you been happiest about about FRINGE so far?
ABRAMS: Well, I’m really grateful for the audience. It’s on in a very challenging time slot [Thursdays at 9 PM] – the response that the show has been getting, despite all sorts of massive competition, the work that everyone has been doing, the cast and the crew, certainly Jeff and Joel, the whole writing staff – I just feel like it’s fun to watch the show find its rhythm. It’s frustrating that the live numbers are not what the DVR numbers are.
iF: Meanwhile, you’re directing the UNDERCOVERS pilot for NBC. Is that just to get the series off the ground, or is there something about the material that particularly appealed to you as a director?
ABRAMS: It’s a way to make sure it’s presented as imagined. It’s fun. I’m excited to try something that feels a little bit lighter, a little bit more comedic, and I’m just really excited to do it. So that’s the strategy.
iF: Is there anything you can say at this point about STAR TREK 2?
ABRAMS: They’re just now beginning work on the script.
iF: Is there anything else you’d like to say about FRINGE?
ABRAMS: I would just say that I’m incredibly excited to see the second season come to a conclusion. The story they’re working on is amazing.