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J.J. Abrams
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J.J. Abrams

Birth name: Jeffrey Jacob Abrams
Gender: Male
Date of birth: 27 June 1966
Place of birth: New York, New York
Roles: Director, producer (Star Trek)

Jeffrey Jacob Abrams (born 27 June 1966; age 48), better known simply as J.J. Abrams, is an American writer, producer, and director from New York City, New York. He directed and produced Star Trek, the eleventh film in the Trek franchise released on 8 May 2009. [1] He also directed the sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, which is currently in theaters. [2]

Abrams is using his production company, Bad Robot Productions, to develop the Star Trek films in collaboration with the film's distributor, Paramount Pictures. His production partners on the films are Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk. Star Trek was written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who have written for Abrams several times in the past. Abrams signed on as director of the first film in February 2007. [3]

In 2010, the Producers Guild of America nominated Abrams and Damon Lindelof for the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures for Star Trek.[4] In addition, Abrams won Best Director at the 2009 Spike Scream Awards.

Personal

Abrams is the son of Gerald W. Abrams and Carol Abrams, both television and film producers. Gerald was a friend of Star Trek film writer/director Nicholas Meyer. [5] After being raised in Los Angeles, California, Abrams attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, from which he graduated in 1988.

Abrams married Katie McGrath in 1996. The couple have had three children together: Henry, born 1998; Gracie, born 1999; and August, born 2006.

Abrams and McGrath are partners of The Mission Continues charity co-founded by Eric Greitens, which benefits post-9/11 veterans.

Career

Abrams' first foray into films was the 1982 science fiction/horror movie Nightbeast, for which he was a composer and sound effects editor. The first film he wrote was 1990's Taking Care of Business, which featured Star Trek: The Next Generation performers Gates McFadden and John de Lancie in supporting roles. He next co-wrote 1992's Forever Young which co-starred J.D. Cullum, Eric Pierpoint and Nicolas Surovy.

Abrams acquired his claim to fame and a huge fan base as the creator of the popular television shows Felicity and Alias. He also served as executive producer on both of these series. Star Trek writers Orci and Kurtzman worked with Abrams on Alias. Abrams and fellow Star Trek producer Damon Lindelof later became two of the creators and executive producers of the acclaimed, hit ABC television series Lost, which stars Terry O'Quinn, Daniel Dae Kim, and Sam Anderson.

Abrams has also written for a number of popular big screen features, including 1998's Armageddon co-starring Jeff Austin, Brian Brophy, Jim Fitzpatrick, Googy Gress, Anthony Guidera, John Mahon, J. Patrick McCormack, Marshall Teague, and Lawrence Tierney in Tierney's final film role and 2001's Joy Ride with Jim Beaver, the latter of which he produced through his newly formed Bad Robot Productions. Other films he wrote include Forever Young (starring DS9 guest performers Richard Ryder and Eric Pierpoint), which he also executive produced, and Gone Fishin' (featuring Louise Fletcher).

JJ Abrams 2006-02-11

Abrams in 2006

Abrams directed and co-wrote (with Kurtzman and Orci) 2006's Mission: Impossible III for Paramount Pictures. Following the release of this film, Abrams signed a five-year contract with Paramount, of which the next Trek film is part. He has also signed a six-year contract with Warner Bros.; both contracts together are worth more than $55 million. [6] Tracy Middendorf and Simon Pegg were among the actors Abrams cast in Mission: Impossible III; he later cast Pegg as Scotty in Star Trek. [7]

In addition to Star Trek, Abrams produced the hit film Cloverfield with Trek executive producer Bryan Burk. This film, in which a giant creature attacks New York City, was released in January 2008. In that film were Margot Farley, Scott Lawrence, Pasha Lychnikoff, and Kelvin Yu. All of those actors save for Lawrence were then cast by Abrams for Star Trek. It has also been reported that Abrams is attached to direct an adaptation of Stephen King book series The Dark Tower. [8]

In October 2007, it was announced that a pilot for a one-hour comic drama developed by Abrams has been purchased by ABC. The show, called Boundaries (which he will executive produce with Bryan Burk and Jill Soloway), was the first sale made by Abrams as part of his TV deal with Warner Bros. [9] Shortly thereafter, it was announced that Abrams had made his first network series sale for Warner Bros., a science fiction/horror series called Fringe, which was subsequently purchased by Fox. Abrams receives executive producer credit on the show, along with Star Trek executive producers Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. [10] Fringe premiered on the Fox network in September 2008.

Abrams' has created a new spy series entitled Undercovers, which has been picked up by NBC for a fall 2010 premiere.[11] His next film project is entitled Super 8, which he will write and direct. He will also be producing Super 8 with acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg costarring Jack Axelrod, Jason Brooks, Michael Giacchino, Bruce Greenwood, Tim Griffin, Greg Grunberg and Marco Sanchez.[12] In addition, Abrams is set to return to the Mission: Impossible franchise as a producer on the fourth film "Ghost Protocol" with Simon Pegg in the series. In September 2011, it was revealed Abrams had officially agreed to direct the Star Trek sequel. [13]

On January 24, 2013, Variety reported that Abrams would be directing the next Star Wars film, Episode 7. [14]

Awards and honors

Abrams was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for his work on the pilot of Alias. Additionally, he and the producers of Alias shared a Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Television from the PGA (Producers Guild of America) Golden Laurel Awards.

Abrams and the other producers of Lost (including Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk) received one of television's highest honors when their show won the 2004 Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. Abrams and the producers of Lost also won the 2005 WGA (Writers Guild of America) Award for Best Dramatic Series and were nominated for a second WGA Award. In addition, they shared a Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic from the PGA (Producers Guild of America) Golden Laurel Awards, received a second nomination from the PGA, and a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) TV Award nomination.

His direction of Lost's pilot episode won Abrams an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Drama. He also earned a DGA (Directors Guild of America) Award nomination for directing the pilot.

Abrams shared an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series with co-creators Lindelof and Jeffrey Lieber for the pilot episode of Lost. In addition, he and composer Michael Giacchino shared two ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) Awards in the category of Top TV Series for their work on Lost.

Entertainment Weekly has named Abrams the 29th Smartest Person in Hollywood. [15]

In 2010 Abrams has been nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Director for his work on Star Trek. The film received five more nominations. [16]

On 5 November 2012 it was announced that Abrams will be honored with the 2013 Norman Lear Achievement Award by the Producers Guild of America. The award ceremony will be held on 26 January 2013. [17]

Involvement with Star Trek

Abrams is a fan of both Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation and refers to the franchise as "smart television".

"Star Trek to me was always about infinite possibility and the incredible imagination that Gene Roddenberry brought to that core of characters. It was a show about purpose, about faith versus logic, about science versus emotion, about us vs. them. It was its own world, and yet it was our world."

Even though he has not followed the other Trek spin-offs as closely, Abrams stated prior to its release that his film will be faithful to established Trek canon. [18]

When Abrams signed on to produce Star Trek in April 2006, he was also given the option to direct the picture. Abrams, however, declined to accept the director's position until the script was complete and he was sure he was the man for the job. Abrams worked with Kurtzman and Orci on the story throughout 2006 and early 2007 and finally signed on to direct on 23 February 2007. Abrams was convinced to direct the film by his wife, who felt the film had strong female characters, and by acclaimed director Steven Spielberg, who was impressed by the script.[19] Of his imminent involvement with Star Trek, Abrams stated:

"If there's something I'm dying to see, it's the brilliance and optimism of Roddenberry's world brought back to the big screen...I am honored and excited to be part of this next chapter of Star Trek."

Appearing at San Diego's Comic-Con International with the writers and producers of Star Trek on 26 July 2007, Abrams admitted that, although he loves Star Trek, he was more interested in Star Wars while growing up and his favorite TV series was The Twilight Zone. He also stated that, after reading the script for the new Trek film, he would have been jealous if anyone else directed it. He then gave the first official casting news for the new Star Trek film, announcing that Zachary Quinto had been cast to play young Spock and that Leonard Nimoy would be coming out of retirement to portray the older Spock, which was met with much enthusiasm.

When describing his and his team's involvement with Star Trek at Comic-Con, Abrams stated:

"The excitement for us is the ability for us to take this amazing world that Gene Roddenberry created – which is remarkable – and these incredible characters and show them in a way you haven't seen them. It's tricky because this matters to so many people and you can't screw this up." [20]

In addition to Orci, Kurtzman, Lindelof and Burk, many other people working on Star Trek have worked with Abrams in the past. These include cinematographer Dan Mindel, production designer Scott Chambliss, composer Michael Giacchino, editor Maryann Brandon, casting director April Webster, executive producer and unit production manager Stratton Leopold, previz supervisor David Dozoretz, and actors John Cho, Rachel Nichols, Simon Pegg, and Zoë Saldana.

Star Trek started shooting on 7 November 2007, and wrapped on 8 April 2008. In addition to directing and producing Star Trek, Abrams also wrote and performed two pieces of music heard in the film: "Awasoruk Jam", which was played in the Shipyard Bar ("Awasoruk" is Kurosawa spelled backwards); and "Josh Greenstein", played in the scene with Kirk and Gaila and named after the head of Paramount's marketing department. He was credited as "Cyrano Jones" for both songs. He also voiced the Iowa Cop, portrayed by stuntman Jeremy Fitzgerald, who stops a young James T. Kirk after he crashes the Corvette. (Star Trek DVD commentary)

A sequel was announced as being in development on 30 March 2009, with Abrams returning to produce. [21] Abrams chose to direct the 2011 film Super 8: following its release, it was announced he would direct the Star Trek sequel, which began filming in January 2012.[22]

It has been reported that Abrams and Bad Robot will continue producing the Star Trek films after he chose to direct Star Wars: Episode VII in January 2013.[23]

See also

External links

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