"What I realize I do in whatever it is that I do is I find myself drawn to infinite possibilities and that sense of potential, and I realize that mystery is the catalyst for imagination. ... Maybe there are times when mystery is more important than knowledge." -- J.J. Abrams
Earlier today we posted a short conversation between myself and Sean O'Connell about whether it's now impossible to like any of the new Star Wars movies Disney plans to make due to a tremendous amount of jaded cynicism on the part of old-school fans who get pissy whenever someone attempts to touch their beloved original trilogy. Sean and I spoke at length about J.J. Abrams and why he's a great fit for the franchise, and for proof of that you can look no further than this great TED talk he gave a few years back.
In it Abrams speaks about how his grandfather helped inspire the way he views the world and approaches his craft; how the man was obsessed with deconstructing things, and how a lot of that is now trapped inside Abrams. He speaks at length about "the mystery box" in movies and in our own lives, and how making that personal connection is so much more important than making that monster look really cool.
During the talk, Abrams highlighted one specific scene from Jaws. First he showed the opening scene when the girl gets eaten by the shark, saying how these are the kinds of scenes everyone talks about when it comes to Jaws. But then he brings up this one, which he calls one of his all-time favorite movie scenes ...
Abrams followed the scene by noting, "The investment in character is really what's inside the box. It's why when people do sequels or rip off movies of a genre, they're ripping off the wrong thing. You're not supposed to rip off the shark or the monster -- if you rip something off, rip off the character. Rip off the stuff that matters. Look inside yourself and figure out what's inside of you because ultimately the mystery box is inside all of us."
Check out the full TED talk below. It's 18 minutes, but it's so worth your time, especially those of you on the fence about him directing the next Star Wars sequel.
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