Illuminated Chronicles: Tribeca Talks: Directors Series – J.J. Abrams with Chris Rock

I’m a Chris Rock fan…that is when it comes to comedy. His interview skills always leave the viewer wanting. Remember The Chris Rock Show…which wrapped in 2000. (Man time is flying faster than Superman saving Lois!).

And as for J.J. I’ve issues with him. I refer to his Star Trek as Star Wrecked because it was silly and guilty of being unnecessary. Super 8 doesn’t even come up in this talk and the first Cloverfield was an utter piece of crap. So no love lost between me and J.J. So Be It.

With the two of them together it’s a weird mix…since Rock is not a sci-fi nerd…he mentions at the top he got his brother Brian Rock to write up some nerd questions. I guess Brian is the comic book reader in that family.

The more engaging aspects in their time together is talking as directors. They get into casting…deal breakers as producers…hiring and working with directors. There’s a few subtle lessons and rich bits of wisdom.

Casting is everything…nothing is more obnoxious than casting suggestions on twitter. How can you have a strong opinion on a topic you know nothing about? Not the budget, the script, the story…marketing…like you know nothing. Surreal. Try picturing Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones that’s what happens when the audience makes suggestions. Shudder.

Anyways here’s the Tribeca Talks: Directors Series – J.J. Abrams with Chris Rock:

There’s a subtle race commentary in the first 5 minutes…J.J. is talking about his grandfather taking him to Universial showing him how movies are made, even later talking about his dad a tv movie producer and Rock is like: “I didn’t know there was directors at 8…I thought tv was real.” Race in America ladies and gentlemen.

12:33: Rock mentions I’m Gonna Git You Sucka! Man I need to go back and watch this movie again. (heh…compare the Felicity name drop audience love to Git You Sucka. Nobody cheered for New Jack City…understandably so. Unbelievable how bad that movie is…never go back to it. What’s surreal is if you read Lil Wayne’s Rikers Island journal Gone Til’ November they’re working on a New Jack City 2!! Why…who asked for that?).

20:40: Rock’s Hollywood summation of network executives: “they only know two modes of communication…ass kiss and panic.” Heh…he elaborates but for fun you can also see Alec Baldwin’s 30 Rock character for reference.

22:47: Whew…no cheers for Damon Lindelof. Him and Lena Dunham some of the worst writers on television. Yet embarrassingly popular as well. Damon couldn’t even write Batman well…he wrote Legends of the Dark Knight and it was legendary awful.

23:35: J.J. talks about making Force Awakens for 3 years and he hasn’t been able to watch tv. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of creativity. There is a time to absorb new work; soak up ideas…daydream and do nothing. Then there is a time to do work. Social Media is not work. Complaining about tv or lack of diversity on tv/movies is not work. Write a novel. Make a movie. Create. Complain or Create…can’t do both.

26:20: J.J.’s favourite show of all time is The Twilight Zone. Yes!!

38:32 J.J. on Star Wars and Star Trek’s fanbases: “it’s bigger than all of us.” This is such a weird talking point…if the fanbase is so big why restart Star Trek in such a disrespectful manner? Later on at 53:51 in talking about Star Wars J.J. brings up the other classic talking point: trusting the audience. Clearly you did not: actions speak louder than words. If words had meaning couples could avoid divorce just by saying I Love You. To be fair there was probably a lot more pressure to get Star Wars done proper than Star Trek. Odd thing is J.J. did a decent job with Mission Impossible…and that doesn’t have a fanbase. Does it?

43:10: Chris Rock…I wanna direct Denzel in a comedy. This could work. Top Five is fantastic…Rock is a like a black Woody Allen: small tight story, talented cast and still streetsmart…that Rock comedy. Something like that could work.

45:48: Rock to J.J.: “could you direct the Fantastic Four? Could someone save this shit.” J.J. could not save Fantastic Four. But Rock is right…can we please get Fantastic Four back on track? Also…Rock digs the Fantastic Four?! Rock goes on to admit: “I like it so much they need somebody better than me.” I agree. I’d never wanna work on a comic book movie. You hafta get it right. I cover this topic on Back Issue Bloodbath my comics-centric podcast presented by Geek Hard with my affable co-host by Andrew Young.

47:52: What’s up with the lens flares! Hah.

55:40: An oscar for best ending…hah! Amazing. Way better than say Best Picture and you’d avoid nonsense like #OscarsSoWhite.

58:37: Oh no…questions from the audience. The horror! I’d happily support any movement that eliminates this silly idea. It rarely works. I also can’t stand hey…I’m a professional and I’m going to interview this famous person Friday…what would you want me to ask em? Stop It. The second question comes from a kid but it’s an apt visual why taking questions from the audience is dumb.

73:10 Egyptian American…represent! Then she blows it at 73:26. Man…

And that’s that. J.J. Abrams with Chris Rock so that happened.


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