J.J. Abrams continues his tour around the U.K. press with an interview in The Scotsman. Their writer may not have run into any potential Oscar nominees in the Bad Robot offices, but he does ask about the potential of shooting in Scotland and/or Ireland:
Abrams laughs at the notion of a Celtic civil war that may yet be settled with recourse to light-sabres (sic.) “Tommy keeps pushing locations in Scotland and Trina, who is a wonderful Irish woman, keeps pushing locations to shoot in Ireland, so I’m just going to put the two of them in a room and see who comes out, and I’ll tell you it’s not going to be Tommy. But joking aside, we are looking all over the place for locations and we haven’t made that determination yet.”
He gets even less on stepping into Lucas’ shoes (“the definition of surreal” and “it is thrilling, it is really thrilling”) and story/casting (“I will say that I’ve been very lucky to work with Harrison a couple of times and he is just a gentleman, and he is as funny and as thoughtful and as wonderful to work with as you can imagine.”)
With that out of the way, the article moves on to the point, Abrams’ new book, S – aka the real reason he’s doing all this press.
In an interview with The Times (being subscription-only, it’s summarized by The Telegraph and THR,) J.J. Abrams says he understands the feelings set out in the ‘rules‘ video,
“I would say that (the website conveys) a feeling that we share very much… I loved how Star Wars had that sense of a world far beyond the borders of what you can see and have been told – it’s one of the things it did so brilliantly.
If you watch the first movie, you don’t actually know exactly what the Empire is trying to do. They’re going to rule by fear – but you don’t know what their end game is.
The beauty of that movie was that it was an unfamiliar world, and yet you wanted to see it expand and to see where it went.”
The video was controversial, but let’s not make the mistake of thinking it’s the only fan reaction they’ve taken note of. He also recognizes that “a lot of kids who saw all the prequels when they were young really do identify with those movies as much as my generation identified with the originals.”
The original article also apparently suggests Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, Serenity) might be involved in Episode VII – but mainly because he was seen in the Bad Robot offices. (Jedi News thinks The Times is on to something with that; We’ll see.)
Meanwhile, Variety columnist Brian Lowry strikes back at Mike Ryan’s piece from the other day on how fans need to calm down. Hey, aren’t we the ones who’re supposed to be sniping at each other? (But seriously, don’t.)
The Hollywood Reporter goes digging behind the scenes to report that Disney CEO Bob Iger still wants the film out in summer 2015, even though Lucasfilm (if maybe not director J.J. Abrams) would prefer to push it back to 2016. If true, this puts a bit of a snarky spin on that “expected 2015” from Lucasfilm last week.
They also have conflicting sources on a struggle over casting between Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy, and, of course, the assurance that this sort of thing is nothing out of the usual.
In any case, I wouldn’t go expecting a solid release date announcement any time soon.
Well, this isn’t the news we’ve been expecting… It looks like Episode VII has said goodbye to screenwriter Micheal Arndt. StarWars.com has announced that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are now penning the script for Episode VII.
“I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a Star Wars story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production.”
It’s unclear if any of Arndt’s script will be used, but I don’t think it looks likely… Whatever the case, I’m sure the rumors will be coming momentarily.
The announcement confirms a number of other production roles, including sound designer Ben Burtt and many others. (/Film has a nice rundown.) It also says “location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design are already underway” and states that “shooting is scheduled to begin Spring 2014″ for “an expected 2015 release.”
Somewhere in space… I don’t read speculation and I try not to even link outright speculation, but our own JawaJames is one of the fans that Hollywood.com’s Christian Blauvelt asked to help ‘storyboard’ their hopes for a beginning to Episode VII.
Wonder twin powers activate? Hot around the internet yesterday was a report from The Inquirer about a presentation where they talk about using gaming engines to drive VFX. I’m not an expert, but there’s a video if you’re really into that sort of thing. And 1313 is referred to as still being in production? Okaaaay…
Your moment of zen. I already wrote up that J.J. Abrams quotes from the other day, but the undisputed champion of that round is clearly The A.V. Club’s Sean O’Neal.
Well, it’s not a J.J. Abrams quote about Star Wars if it’s not super-vague… The Episode VII director tells Entertainment Weekly that he wants the film to feel “as emotional and authentic and exciting as possible.” Naturally.
“It’s been nice see that how important it is and to be reminded how important it is to so many people. We all know that [creator George Lucas'] dream has become almost a religion to some people. I remember reading a thing somewhere, someone wrote about just wanting [the new film] to feel real; to feel authentic. I remember I felt that way when I was 11 years old when I saw the first one. As much of a fairy tale as it was, it felt real. And to me, that is exactly right.”
Alrightly then. I feel like we’ve all learned something here. Or not.
The Hollywood Reporter says this morning thatJ.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm have struck a compromise to keep at least some of Episode VII’s post-production at bad Robot’s Santa Monica headquarters. They include a few renovations:
A green room, sound studios and other new facilities will be developed within the three-story, 18,000-square-foot Santa Monica building, which already includes editing bays, a workshop for making props, a screening room that can double as a set and Abrams’ personal suite of offices.
Abrams has mainly shot all his films thus far in Los Angeles, but Episode VII is expected to start production in January at Pinewood Studios outside of London. The supposed friction over Lucasfilm’s U.K. plans led to some quickly denied rumors that he might drop out last month.
Latino Review is furthering the rumor from earlier this week about Ian McDiarmid’s return. They say the Emperor won’t be resurrected (sorry, Dark Empire fans) but will be appearing as a Force Ghost. And he had taken a new apprentice – who will presumably be film’s primary antagonist - before he was killed in Return of the Jedi.
What else do they say? ” Not one thing they have in the script is from a book,” (or a comic?) so count out the usual suspects… If you believe this, anyway.
There are a couple other rumors floating around today as well. One, from Episode 7 News echoes something we heard in May, that Abrams may have his hands in far more than just the actual movie. This one calls him “the creative core” of everything surrounding the new films. The other, from The Daily Superhero, says that the secrecy mandates “pretty much sounds to me like armed guards are near certain important people who are working on this movie, 24/7.”
The armed guard thing sounds like something we’ll be looking back and laughing at in 2015, but hey. Sure. Why not.
UPDATE: Lucasfilm has denied the report. “There is no truth to the rumor,” a company spokesman told TheForce.Net. “JJ is having a great time working on the script and is looking forward to going into production next year.” Our original post is below.
Badass Digest is reporting that J.J. Abrams may be dropping out of Episode VII. They write:
…Why is it that I keep hearing tons of rumors that JJ Abrams is on the verge of dropping out of Star Wars? This has been something I’ve heard for a while now, and from multiple insiders. I know that he didn’t want to shoot the movie in England and was overruled, but that happened a while ago. This weekend at Comic Con I continued to hear these whispers. No director for Trek 3 has been found yet – might Abrams end up coming back after all, leaving Star Wars to someone else?
Big Shiny Robot is doubtful and so am I… After all, wouldn’t arrangements to film in England have already been in the works when he was signing on? Wouldn’t it have been a topic of discussion before he signed on the dotted line?
This could be nothing more than runaway fanboy paranoia at work, and it would be a big, public hit for Bad Robot, whether last week’s red scripts are Star Wars or not. But I do agree we should wait and see what comes out of Celebration Europe.
Harrison Ford may not be talking about Han Solo, wink wink, but he did have a few things to say about J.J. Abrams to MTV
Meanwhile, Vulture recaps some questions that got through to Ford at the Ender’s Game panel.