Dec 19, 2015


'Dressed in his customary Blundstone boots, dark navy jeans, and plaid shirt,  Abrams is a boyish 49-year-old, with a curly high-rise of Zeppo Marx hair, a bulbous nose, black spectacles, and a quick darting intelligence that doesn't need to dominate the room. The offices of most movie directors are mausoleums to their reputation — slightly anonymous places to stash their awards and posters — but Abrams’s office, on the second floor of his production company Bad Robot, in Santa Monica, instead burst with his enthusiasms. “Are you ready?” asks a brass placard above the buzzer. Inside, guests are invited to wait in a foyer surrounded on three sides loaded to capacity with with toys, magic tricks, movie cameras and memorabilia —  the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Star Trek, Star Wars, Flash Gordon  Godzilla,; an original Planet of the Apes ape-head prosthesis, collector’s-edition dolls from  The Twilight Zone, a stack of board games:  Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Mission: Impossible. The whole space, with its frosted glass and gunship metal spiral staircase, rather resembles a 15-year-old boy’s bedroom, as given a makeover by Philipe Stark. “No, seriously, it really is his bedroom when he was 15” says actor and childhood friend Greg Grunberg who has appeared in many of his movies,  and has known Abrams since he was a chubby, bespectacled kid,  filling his bedroom in suburban Brentwood with magic tricks, clay models and   homemade prosthetics, shooting movies on Super 8 in which he subjected his sister Tracy to zombie attack and alien abduction.    “He was always trying to figure out how this was done. How did he do that, how did he do this. It was exciting to be around him, even when he was five and six.”  The corridors of Bad Robot are thronged with young, ethnically diverse staff, some wearing headsets, all working on the raft of movie projects and  TV series Abrams seems to be either directing, writing, or producing at any given moment.   “JJ does his best work when his back against the wall,” says Damon Lindolf, the show runner of  the Abrams co-created the TV series Lost which more of less defined binge-watching for the modern age. “If he's feeling comfortable, and relaxed he will manufacture events to put his back against the wall in order to generate his best work.  Just when you think he’s bitten off more than he can chew, he Indiana Joneses it.”” — from my interview for The Times

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