Even though we've known about the existence of Super 8 for a while now, director J.J. Abrams has kept his mouth shut about the production, lending an air of mystery to its development. Rumors circulated about a sci-fi monster film from the perspective of young filmmakers, similar to Abrams' earlier film Cloverfield. With the premiere of a trailer during last night's Super Bowl, Abrams finally spilled the beans with the LA Times.
As speculated, the film is set in 1979 and follows a group of kids shooting a zombie flick with their Super 8 camera. While filming, they witness a train crash and encounter a monster that escapes the wreckage. Though it sounds similar in concept to Cloverfield, Super 8 is actually a combination of two earlier ideas Abrams has had. The first was a vague coming of age story seen through the eyes of the characters' cameras, while the second was a spooky film set in the 1970s about trains holding creatures from Area 51. After six months of little progress, Abrams realized he could combine the two.
Hit the jump for more details.
Producer Stephen Spielberg was attracted to the hybrid project due to its ability to meld real world issues with sci-fi elements, just as he had done with E.T. years earlier. His influence extends to the film's tone, which draws from E.T., Stand By Me, The Goonies, and other popcorn films of the 1980s, with some X-Files for good measure.
For Abrams, the decision to finally open up in light of the trailer's release is a matter of drawing enough attention to the project to remain competitive. "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," he says. "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."
Don't expect as much coverage as summer rivals like Captain America, Harry Potter, or Pirates of the Caribbean, however. Abrams doesn't even use Twitter and prefers the old days of film, where every development wasn't a news story and the entire process had more mystery to it. Secrecy worked for Cloverfield, so hopefully he can turn it to his advantage again.