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J.J. Abrams Talks About Secrecy & Preserving The Viewer Experience

'Star Trek' Photocall

It’s a fantastic opportunity being able to write about film and for an awesome website (self-referential wink) that loves all things film but there’s one thing that can be hard to escape from time-to-time, the deadly spoilers. One of the best keeper of movie secrets in recent years has been J.J. Abrams, he’s done this with the likes of STAR TREK, CLOVERFIELD, FRINGE, SUPER 8 and *coughs* LOST to keep the experience exciting and personally I bloody love knowing just a little, bar a few tasty morsels, when going into something new.

He’s currently doing the silent treatment for STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS and Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain – as there’s surely more there than meets the eye – and he’s also taken time out to talk about preserving the viewer experience by not necessarily (or purposefully) hiding things or giving things away, Abrams just thinks it makes the whole occasion a lot more interesting and inspiring, I agree. Here’s what the director told Entertainment Weekly:

“I will sit in a meeting before a movie with 80-some people, heads of departments, and literally say that all I ask is that we preserve the experience for the viewer. Every choice we make, every costume fitting, every pad of makeup, every set that’s built — all that stuff becomes less magical if it’s discussed and revealed and pictures are posted online. I just want to make sure that when somebody sees something in a movie they didn’t watch a 60-minute behind-the-scene that came out two months before.”

I often see those behind-the-scenes featurettes appearing for the smaller films and I can see why they use it for stirring up interest, but I often find myself avoiding those until after the full release of the movie, like you do when you wait for the Blu-ray or DVD launch and all those extras. Abrams continued:

“Why do I want to see that if it’s something I don’t even understand yet? Let me experience it so I know what the movie is and have the opportunity to get sucked into that experience, and feel like, ‘Oh my god, that world is real, that ship is real, that battle is real’ … If I’ve [already] seen how ILM or whatever visual effects company made that look real, you’re ruining it before it even exists.”

I’m sure some might take this as a little patronising but understanding how passionate he is about the process, I can confidentially say it’s not meant to come across as such and, after all, we’re all allowed an opinion, right? He did sound like he doesn’t enjoy not saying things but summed up his points:

“It’s not fun during the experience of withholding. Because then you sound like a coy bastard … and you’re sort of being a jerk. It’s about making sure that when you see the movie — or the show when it airs — that you didn’t read the synopsis that came out of my fat mouth because I’m answering a question that I’m grateful anyone would even ask — which is, ‘What happens?’ I would rather people experience what happens rather than being told what happens and then have it confirmed.”

Do you agree, or do you think we have a right to know what’s going on – after all we end up paying for it all, or do you just love films and it’s great to absorb everything? All thoughts welcome!

Source: EW

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Dan loves writing, film, music and photography. Originally from Devon, he's now found in London with a growing obsession with squirrels and cake. The latter being more of a hobby. Favourite movies include HIGH FIDELITY, ALMOST FAMOUS, GOOD WILL HUNTING, JURASSIC PARK, too many Steve Martin films and Nolan's BATMAN universe. He can also be found on www.twitter.com/danbullock

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