Just because you're one of the most successful directors in Hollywood doesn't mean that working on one of the most anticipated films of the years isn't at least a little bit stressful. And for director J.J. Abrams, he was definitely sweating when the time came around to do the first screening of "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" to all the big wig execs at Disney.
In a recent interview while on "The Howard Stern Show," Abrams opened up about that experience and recalled how unsettling it all was, especially since the film didn't have a single special effect in it at that point. “We screened the movie, and it was horrifying,” Abrams stated. “I’m nervous beyond words, I’m showing this movie that I know is so far from finished, there’s not an effect in it…” We could understand the angst of having to show your work to those in charge, especially when the studio is riding the film as one of the biggest releases of the year. “It was a lot of me giving excuses before the screening,” he recalled. “I’m reading their body language while they’re watching it … I couldn’t tell if they were miserable or in ecstasy.”
As it turns out, all that fear and apprehension was completely misplaced, as the execs loved what they saw. The "Star Trek" director admitted that their positive reaction was “the biggest relief of my life. And then of course I laughed and all I could think was ‘what do they know? They spent four billion dollars, they have to love it!'”
It was precisely the hype that surrounds the "Star Wars" franchise that initially contributed to Abrams' decision to not sign on to direct "Episode VII," coupled with the fact that he was tired of working on sequels. Yet during a meeting with producer Kathleen Kennedy, who is the president of Lucasfilm and the brand manager of the "Star Wars" franchise, Abrams soon realized the huge possibilities that lie in crafting the storyline and couldn't resist. “We just started talking about what the story could be and as we were talking about it I found myself suddenly on fire about what this movie could be,” he stated.
In particular, the idea that some of our old beloved characters such as Han Solo, Princess Leia and of course Luke Skywalker would be mere myths to the new characters was what really got Abrams wheels turning. “That question of this young woman asking ‘who is Luke Skywalker?’ I don’t know why, but it made me feel like ‘f–k, that’s so cool,'” he said. “These would be essentially kids who didn’t see ‘Star Wars’ themselves, in this movie, who would be in this universe,” Abrams continued. “The idea of discovering or re-discovering this world that had been created.”
The passion that Abrams and the rest of the cast and crew have placed into creating the next installment of the famed franchise is clearly evident, and we're so excited to finally view the finished film ourselves! "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" will hit theaters on December 18th.