J.J. Abrams Explains His Love of Secrecy: It’s All for the Viewer
Famously secretive director says he wants fans to have the best experience possible
Right now, J.J. Abrams is probably the most secretive – and famous for it – director in Hollywood. He always seems to go to great lengths to keep his yet unreleased projects shrouded in mystery but, in a new interview, he stresses that this has nothing to do with selfish reasons: it’s all for the viewer.With “Star Trek Into Darkness” still many months away, Abrams sat down for an interview with Entertainment Weekly, in which he explains how he’s always able to do the impossible: keep a secret in today’s spoiler-centric culture.
He never opts for keeping details under wraps just for the sake of it, he says, but he imagines that fans can have the best experience possible only if they get as few spoilers as possible.
Here is where he comes in.
“I will sit in a meeting before a movie with 80-some people, heads of departments, and literally say that all I ask is that we preserve the experience for the viewer,” Abrams says.
“Every choice we make, every costume fitting, every pad of makeup, every set that's built – all that stuff becomes less magical if it's discussed and revealed and pictures are posted online. I just want to make sure that when somebody sees something in a movie they didn't watch a 60-minute behind-the-scene [video] that came out two months before,” the director adds.
As for how he actually does it, Abrams underlines that he never begs and he never threatens those he works with that they should swear to secrecy: it just so happens that the people around him also understand the need to be as discrete as possible.
Come to think of it, Abrams says he doesn’t even understand why some fans want to be spoiled by seeing behind the scene videos or on-set photos of ongoing projects, which basically tell the story behind a story they’re not even familiar with.
“It's about making sure that when you see the movie – or the show when it airs – that you didn't read the synopsis that came out of my fat mouth because I'm answering a question that I'm grateful anyone would even ask – which is, ‘What happens?’ I would rather people experience what happens rather than being told what happens and then have it confirmed,” Abrams says.
As noted above, “Star Trek Into Darkness” will be out in theaters in May. As of January, Abrams is yet to speak more clearly about the identity of the villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch.