(Written for HeyUGuys)
J. J. Abrams attended the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour yesterday to talk about his latest television series, Alcatraz. With his latest film Star Trek 2 going into production on Thursday, we were also offered some more details about the sequel to his 2009 film, for which Abram discussed his recent casting choice of Benedict Cumberbatch, his decision to convert the film into 3D after filming, and how long he expects the production of the film to run for.
Casting Benedict Cumberbatch:
It was reported earlier this month that Benedict Cumberbatch had been cast as the film’s villain after the possibility of casting Benicio Del Toro fell through. “I was just happy that anyone was interested,” said Abrams, but, “We haven’t made any changes because of casting.”
Whilst Abrams did not confirm Cumberbatch as the villain of the film, he went on to say that, “He’s a genius. Honestly, he’s just an incredible actor. If you’ve seen his work in Sherlock, he’s just got incredible skills. He’s an amazing stage actor. He did amazing work (on stage) in Frankenstein. He’s brilliant. You try to cast people who are great. We got lucky.”
He added: “We just were looking for someone with the most awesome name in history. That was the casting call. We asked for someone with the most awesome name in history, ever, and Benedict Cumberbatch showed up, so we were like, ‘You’re cast!'”
Converting The Film Into 3D:
As for the filming, it was reported in December that Abrams planned to convert the film into 3D after filming. He commented that, “We’re shooting on film, and the reason for that is I wanted to shoot with anamorphic, and you can’t shoot 3D in anamorphic.” He continued: “It will be converted, for those who want to see it in 3D. But, I wanted to match the look of the first one and shoot it anamorphically.”
3D has, however, died down somewhat, but Abrams commented that, “I did not fight for the 3D. It was something that the studio wanted to do, and I didn’t want to do it. And then, when I saw the first movie converted in sections, I thought that it actually looked really cool.”
The shoot for Star Trek 2 will last for 4 months, just about as long as the first one, but the film will not include any of the original cast. “It was just what the story of the movie required,” said Abrams, “With everything, you respond to what you’re trying to do and what story you’re trying to tell.”
“I think the job of the first movie was just to establish it. I don’t want to give anything away, but I would say that the burden we had in the first movie was just existing at all. With this movie, instead of having to stand on the shoulders of the original series, we built a little bit of a platform for us, with the last movie, to tell this story.”
In relation to balancing the filming with his new series, the mysterious Alcatraz, Abrams said commented that, “The truth is that this show, I didn’t create, I’m a producer on it.”
He continued: “Luckily, with the people with whom I work, what I’ve been trying to do is help, whether it’s reading the scripts, giving notes, giving suggestions on cuts, doing the theme music, and playing with the show and getting it up and running.”
“Sometimes as a producer, you’re creating and writing it, or sometimes you’re writing and directing it, or other times you’re there from the very beginning. This was one where my job was to try to help facilitate it and get it going, and give notes that they could take or leave. It really is a show that they [Jennifer Johnson and Dan Pyne] are doing a beautiful job running and I’m lucky to be working with them.”
Star Trek 2 is set to be released on 17th May 2013 in the US, and will hopefully be available in the UK sometime around then too.
To read the full interview, visit Collider.