Tuesday, January 26, 2010

J.J. Abrams Talks Briefly About Star Trek XII and Plans for Leonard Nimoy Return to Fringe

So we know Star Trek 2 is coming out in the summer of 2012, so that must mean it’s J.J. Abrams’ priority, right? Well, he’s got a lot going on, including the ongoing series Fringe, and starting up a new spy show Undercovers. He had a lot to discuss with the Television Critics Association with a group of reporters surrounding him, but even they wanted to know about Star Trek.

Q: On Fringe, where did the combination of outdated ‘60s technology and the future come from?

J J Abrams: Part of it is I feel deleted. I love that feeling of anachronistic technology. You know, the printing press at the office, I just love that stuff. Part of it is to go the opposite of hyper f***ing floating holographic technology and go back to insanely tangible steel pins, pulleys, strings. I just love that.

Q: Is that more or less expensive to create?

J J Abrams: It’s sort of a combo. It was well, you come upon something like oh my God, look at this thing. Other times we make it, which is crazy, but it’s always more interesting for me.

Q: Where will the second half of the season go? Will we see the “other” version of Walter?

J J Abrams: I will say that the story we had at the very beginning of the season is going to play out. There were some adjustments that we made along the way, some things came up earlier than we thought, but what I think is fun about where it’s going is on the one hand, there’s this inevitable thing that will happen but I think there’s going to be a huge surprise too at the end of the season so I’m really excited.

Q: When we first saw the other world, it was better, with the twin towers standing and Len Bias alive. Now is it a sh*thole and that’s why they want to come over?

J J Abrams: I think the fun of there is this sort of growing problem and that there is something brewing sort of between these two places, to me is just a fascinating kind of premise. It’s so big and the key is how you make it specific and how you make it personal. I think some of the stuff you’ll be getting to with all three of our characters, I’m really happy with where the story goes.

Q: Are there any more plans for Leonard Nimoy?

J J Abrams: I have tons of plans for him. Whether he’ll be part of them is another question but there are plans aplenty.

Q: I should say for William Bell.

J J Abrams: I would love him to return as a character and I think that there’s a chance that will occur.

Q: Are you satisfied with the ratio of standalone episodes to seasonal arc episodes on Fringe?

J J Abrams: I think it will be somewhat consistent with where it’s been but I always like a great standalone, but I’m also a sucker for that ongoing serialized story. So I’m sort of in a place where I would be thrilled with more serialized stuff but I also know that that’s a reasonably difficult way of doing television.

Q: Are the two universes on Fringe finally going to start to collide?

J J Abrams: There is some pretty cool stuff that’s going to happen, by the end of the second season. Then again, Jeff [Pinkner] and Joel [Wyman], who are really running the show, have threatened to kill me, if I reveal anything. I will say that the plot that they had, at the beginning of this season, that we all talked about with Akiva Goldsman as well, will be coming to a really cool conclusion. I’m very excited about it.

Q: Are you looking forward to doing more standalone spy stories in Undercovers?

J J Abrams: Yeah, this show does have ongoing stories as well but they’re much more personal based and character based, but I’m excited to do a show that has a more fun energy and a little more comedic than arcing dramatic.

Q: Obviously the marriage will be a continuing story, but nothing like Rimbaldi mythology from Alias?

J J Abrams: There won’t be any of that. I think that there will be some things that will give the story a sense of inevitability, and yet you’re right, it won’t be going into that place of crazy mythology heavy stuff.

Q: How did you decide to direct the pilot of Undercovers?

J J Abrams: I just enjoyed the idea of it. I enjoyed the script. Part of it was I enjoyed the parts that Josh wrote but I enjoyed the chemistry of these two people and it became clear as we were working on it that rather than be sitting on the set every day with someone else directing it being annoyed, I’d rather just take the burden on myself and try to annoy myself.

Q: Did NBC just go to you when they opened up the 10:00 slot?

J J Abrams: Well, we sold the show to NBC before all this went down so we’re suddenly surrounded by hours that need to be filled. So all I can tell you is if we don’t make it on the schedule now, we’ve totally screwed up. There were already some slots. Now there are five more slots available so I’m like oh my God, the pressure’s on even more now. It’s exciting. It’s also like oh God, I hope we don’t screw it up.

Q: How many projects are you working on now?

J J Abrams: Well, we’re working on the Star Trek thing. We have Mission Impossible we’re working with and then Lost, Fringe and Undercovers. There’s a bunch of stuff also floating around.

Q: Since they’ve announced a Star Trek release date what does that do for your schedule? Do you have a production start date?

J J Abrams: No, but I think if you work backwards, one could probably figure out generally where it would be. There’s no hard, fast date.

Q: Have Bob and Alex started typing yet?

J J Abrams: They have not yet started typing but discussions are being had, discussions about typing.

Q: How do you feel about the end of Lost?

J J Abrams: Bittersweet. Again, Damon and Carlton have been running that show so they’re the ones who are really I think going to be going through that phantom limb feeling of having worked on something for so long and all of a sudden it’s not there. I’m sure Damon and Carlton will both be insanely relieved because they’ve been working their asses off but I’m sure it’s also a little heartbreaking too.

Q: Are you satisfied with it?

J J Abrams: Oh my God, yes. This year’s going to be really cool.

Q: With Lost ending this season, will you be directing the last episode?

J J Abrams: No. Jack Bender has really been the guy on that show as the directing producer, so it would be wrong for me to come in and be like, “Oh, move over, I’m going to direct.”

Q: But, you did the first episode.
J J Abrams: I know, but it would somehow be spoiling all this amazing work that he’s done. The fact is that he’s been living in Hawaii with the cast, so he’s going to do the last episode.

Q: But, you will be directing on your new show?

J J Abrams: I’m doing the pilot of Undercovers, yeah.