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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg: together again for the first time

When I was a kid and fell in love with movies and decided I wanted to make movies (an ambition that later morphed into writing about movies, so no, I’m not quite the cliché of the critic who’s a thwarted filmmaker), I decided that I wanted to be the next Steven Spielberg. His movies of the 1970s and 1980s were the movies I loved best then (and pretty much still are in many ways, I’ll concede), and those were the kinds of movies I thought I wanted to make.

It looks like J.J. Abrams, who is only three years older than me, feels exactly the same way. From New York magazine’s blog Vulture:

Vulture has learned that J.J. Abrams has picked his next movie, and it’s both a tribute to and a collaboration with Steven Spielberg. An insider tells us that Abrams is just now finishing a script described as “a tip of the hat to [Spielberg’s] movies of the 70’s and early 80’s.” We’re also told that Abrams plans to “roll up his sleeves and direct the script himself” by early this fall for Paramount Pictures, where he’s based.

Plot details are top secret — as if there’s any other kind of plot detail in Abramsland – but we’re told that like Spielberg’s Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and E.T., the project will deal with everyday people whose personal relationships are tested when they are thrown up against extraordinarily fantastic – and possibly other-worldly – events…. Our sources tell us that Abrams is in discussions with Spielberg, and insist the DreamWorks co-founder will be involved in some capacity, whether as an executive producer or at least as an adviser, since “J.J. wants to make sure Steven is properly paid homage to. This is really an interpretation of some of Spielberg’s earlier films, but done in a personal way.”

Far be it from me to liken myself to someone even worthy to lick Abrams boots, but I can’t help but imagine that seeing this Abrams-Spielberg collaboration might be sorta like peeking into an alternate universe in which I did end up making Spielbergian movies myself.


This has been your OMG Thought for the Day.

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