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J.J. Abrams Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (13) | Trivia (23) | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 27 June 1966New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameJeffrey Jacob Abrams
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

J.J. Abrams was born on June 27, 1966 in New York City, New York, USA as Jeffrey Jacob Abrams. He is a producer and writer, known for Lost (2004), Super 8 (2011) and Mission: Impossible III (2006). He has been married to Katie McGrath since 1996. They have three children.

Spouse (1)

Katie McGrath (1996 - present) (3 children)

Trade Mark (13)

High-tech, action-packed entertainment
Often includes a subplot about a box with mysterious contents
[Cold opening] A suspenseful sequence prior to the opening credits used to pull the audience directly into the story (Mission: Impossible III (2006), Star Trek (2009)).
Often uses music by Michael Giacchino
Often makes references to elements of the original Star Trek (1966) series
Usually includes a party scene early in the series/movie with young adults mixing and mingling.
Frequently casts Greg Grunberg and Amanda Foreman.
His work often includes plotlines in which pregnant women get kidnapped by mysterious people or groups who eventually turn out to be trying to help the woman and/or her pregnancy--for example, Alias (2001), Lost (2004), Fringe (2008).
Will sometimes go out of his way to add lens flares in his shots, often having people stand off camera pointing lights at it
Frequent references to "Slusho", a fake frozen drink
Is very secretive about the plotlines of his projects
Powerful use of spotlights and lens flares.
Often incorporates the number 47 into the story/plot.

Trivia (23)

Graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1988.
Gave Alias (2001) star Jennifer Garner a pink bicycle for her birthday. She would often greet the production crew by ringing the bells on the bike's handlebars.
He says he got the job directing Mission: Impossible III (2006) after Tom Cruise watched early episodes of Alias (2001) on DVD and loved them. The two started hanging out together and Cruise offered him the job.
While he was writing scripts in college, he used the Alvin Sargent screenplay to Ordinary People (1980) as a guide.
Named one of Fade In Magazine's "100 People in Hollywood You Need to Know" in 2005
Has three children with wife Katie: Henry (b. 1998), Gracie (b. 1999) and August (b. 11 January 2006).
His debut film Mission: Impossible III (2006) was the most expensive film ever made by a first-time director until TRON: Legacy (2010), directed by Joseph Kosinski, which cost nearly $20 million more than MI3.
He had discussed wanting to be more involved in the 3rd season of Lost (2004) (intermittently with his film schedule) because he hadn't been directly involved in the show since the 6th episode of the first season.
Sold his script for Forever Young (1992) for $2 million.
Once worked as a home inspector in the San Fernando Valley with Jay Fesler and Dan Johnson.
One of 115 people invited to join AMPAS in 2007.
2007 - Ranked #29 on EW's The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood.
In 2007, Forbes Magazine estimated his earnings for the year at $17 million.
He has been involved with several projects that advance the social theory called the "Milgram Small World Phenomenon", named after social psychologist Stanley Milgram, who conducted acquaintance path experiments. John Guare's play "Six Degrees of Separation" (and its film adaptation Six Degrees of Separation (1993)) is in large part responsible for introducing to popular culture at large the notion that everyone in the world is separated by only six other people (Abrams had a small acting role in the film version). Abrams went on to produce Six Degrees (2006), a television series with a premise predicated on this theory, and Lost (2004), a television series in which seemingly unconnected and disparate characters often end up having hidden or unknown links to each other.
Is a fan of Howard Stern, who is also a fan of of Abrams' work (particularly Lost (2004) and Star Trek (2009)) and personally called Artie Lange through his agent to congratulate him on his being hired to replace Jackie Martling ("The Joke Man") as a sidekick in 2002. Also gave Stern's daughters a tour of the set of Felicity (1998).
Best friend is Greg Grunberg. They have known each other since they were children and he frequently casts Grunberg in his films and television series.
Lives in Pacific Palisades, California.
In 2011, during an interview on the NPR program "Fresh Air with Terry Gross", writer/director Abrams told a story about getting to attend a very early rough-cut screening of Escape from New York (1981) with his father, producer Gerald W. Abrams (who knew that his then-15-year-old son was a big fan of John Carpenter). Abrams told Gross that during the discussion afterward, Gerald suggested cutting an opening sequence in which Snake tries to rob a bank and is caught, on the principle that Snake seems like a more imposing, mythic, tougher character if you don't see him defeated right away. Young J.J. suggested making it clearer that Adrienne Barbeau's character Maggie dies at the end. Both suggestions were followed in the final cut: the opening scene was deleted, and a shot was added showing Maggie's body.
Is a huge fan of Twilight Zone (1959), with his favorite episode being Twilight Zone: Walking Distance (1959).
Is an avid fan of Downton Abbey (2010) and has visited the set in Ealing Studios.
The first director to direct both a Star Trek movie and a Star Wars movie.
He has cited Steven Spielberg as his hero.

Personal Quotes (11)

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) is probably the most influential film of my generation. It's the personification of good and evil and the way it opened up the world to space adventure, the way westerns had to our parents' generations, left an indelible imprint. So, in a way, everything that any of us does is somehow directly or indirectly affected by the experience of seeing those first three films.
I feel like in telling stories, there are the things the audience thinks are important, and then there are the things that are actually important.
Directing's the best part. Whenever I've directed something, there's this feeling of demand and focus that I like. And secondly, it means that you've gotten through all the writing stuff, and the producing stuff, and casting, and prep, and all those stages that are seemingly endless. So directing is sort of the reward for all the work you put in before. And then there's the editing, which is another amazing stage of the process. It's incredible the moments you can create.
I'm an impatient guy and tend not to like to stay with one thing for a long time. I'll never be able to write as many scripts as I did for Felicity (1998) or Alias (2001) ever again. I'm just too impatient these days. I want to get on to the next project.
I've always liked working on stories that combine people who are relatable with something insane. The most exciting thing for me is crossing that bridge between something we know is real and something that is extraordinary. The thing for me has always been how you cross that bridge..
There's something about looking at Super 8 films that is so evocative. You could argue it's the resolution of the film somehow because they aren't crystal clear and perfect,so there is a kind of gauzy layer between you and what you see. You could argue it's the silence of them. You could say it's the sound of the projector that creates a moodiness. But there's something about looking at analog movies that's infinitely more powerful than digital.
[on missing writing Felicity (1998)] I miss writing for a show that doesn't have any sort of odd, almost sci-fi bend to it. It was just sort of pure romantic, sweet characters who had crushes on one another and were dealing with which party to go to and if they had a part-time job or not--stuff that was kind of fun to write about.
When I was a kid and saw Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) for the first time it blew my mind and around the same time I had friends who were huge fans of Star Trek and I don't know if I was smart enough to get it, or patient enough. What I loved about Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) was the visceral energy of it, the clarity of it, the kind of innocence and big heart of it. Star Trek always felt a little bit more sophisticated and philosophical, debating moral dilemmas and things that were theoretically interesting, but for some reason I couldn't get on board. It really took working with all these guys and actually working on Star Trek for me to fall in love with that.
[on Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)] The thing that the great genre filmmaking has always done is taken issues of now and told them through allegory and made them palatable for larger audiences. But, you know, there are themes in the movie that were important to us: the idea of questioning authority, the idea that when the task you're given is morally questionable, what do you do? When protecting others, especially family, means making the ultimate sacrifice, what do you do? When you feel that desperate need for revenge and blood lust, what do you do?
[on producing both Star Trek (2009) and Star Wars: Episode VII (2015)] There is no meta strategy to this, no Machiavellian plan. It was simply two opportunities to get involved in two disparate film series that are bigger than all of us. I don't feel any kind of Coke vs. Pepsi thing about it. It seems there is enough bandwidth for both of these very different stories to coexist. I feel incredibly lucky to be involved in either of them.
Looking back on my childhood, I have a list of things that are massively important to me. Without question, Star Wars was on the list, and Star Trek was not.

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