Very nearly published with JJ JACKS OFF TO SUPER 8 SECRECY as the title- that could have been a great article.
Anyway, J.J. Abrams has taken a look at the crowded summer of 2011 and realized that even with his and Spielberg’s names on the film, that the secrecy/viral buzz approach they took with Cloverfield just isn’t going to cut it for Super 8. First consider that the film is wedged directly in between the opening weekends of X-Men: First Class and Green Lantern, and then notice that Pirates 4, Hangover 2, and Kung Fu Panda 2 will still be around from the 3 weeks previous, with Cars 2, ‘Formers 3, and the final Harry Potter will be swooping in to eat up screens within a month. Obviously, J.J.’s alien flick with the Spielbergian heart is going to have to fight hard for its piece of the summer pie.
Such a monumental challenge was enough to get a “fidgeting” Abrams to speak with the LA Times about the film, and while he was loath to drop many details, he admitted that he’s got to give people something to grasp onto to build buzz.
“Look, I feel we need a little bit of a coming-out party because we are up against massive franchises and brands and most people don’t know what ‘Super 8′ means. We’re a complete anomaly in a summer of huge films … and we don’t want to be so silent or coy that people don’t care or don’t hear about it.”
From that comes the scant details of what the idea behind the film is, and how it came into being. As you might have gathered from the Super Bowl trailer or the teaser, it’s an 80’s throwback with a modern sci-fi touch about a town reacting to escaped aliens. Geoff Boucher of the Times saw footage and compared it to Fringe, The X-Files, E.T., Stand By Me, and The Goonies. J.J. himself sets it up a bit more obliquely-
“To me, all people need to know is that it’s an adventure about a small town and it’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s scary and there’s a mystery: What is this thing that has escaped? What are the ramifications of its presence? And what is the effect on people? But I know that’s not enough.”
Abrams also details (well, “detail” is never the right word with him, but “describes” will work) the origin of Super 8 as the fortuitous combination of two separately pitched projects- one focusing on Area 51 and the surrounding mystery, and another about kids with a super 8 camera that had no supernatural elements. Eventually they came together as this film, which has 6 young people and their 8mm movie camera witnessing a massive train derailment that unleashes an alien something on their town. Apparently 12-year-old Elle Fanning is a real showstopper.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Super Bowl TV spot has been scrutinized thoroughly and the tiniest of teases have emerged in the form of some creature’s lower jaw, a date ( __mber 19th, 1962) a billboard crammed with notes (no sign of a Slusho flyer…). They come from the very end of the trailer, when the title pulls back from the camera’s lens. A couple dozen frames flash by, the three below containing discernible items. You can click to see them in full res (from the HD Apple trailer.)
Check out the Times interview/article for more information, and make sure you plan ahead to wedge Super 8 into your busy schedule of summer film consumption, if you’re looking for a little old school alien adventure.
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