Super 8

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways: JawsClose Encounters of the Third KindE.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. JurassicPark. The first three Indiana Jones movies and the countless movies you’ve produced over the years. I even liked 1941, but please don’t tell anyone I told you that. Like many others, I grew up watching your movies and fell in love with them. I don’t know if you know this, but I have a new movie out called, Super 8. I hope you know since you produced it.

Have you seen any of the television commercials or any of the movie trailers to Super 8? If you have, you still may not know exactly what the movie is about. It’s okay, that’s how we wanted it. I don’t want to spoil anything for you so I’ll just give you the bullet points that can be seen in the advertisements. It’s 1979 and a group of kids are out filming a zombie movie on a super 8 camera one night near some train tracks. An accident occurs with the train and something may or may not have escaped during the wreck. Shortly afterwards, odd occurrences start to happen in town. People begin to disappear and the oddest materials start to go missing. Oh, by the way, did I mention during the accident the kid’s super 8 movie camera continued to role the whole time?


Mr. Spielberg, let me tell you about the cast I got for Super 8. They are phenomenal! As you have done so many times before, I assembled a very talented young group of actors. First, I cast a newcomer by the name of Joel Courtney as my lead in the movie. This kid has never been seen in a feature movie before, but when you see him on screen you’d swear he’d been doing this for his entire life. I got a second newcomer too, Riley Griffiths, who plays the young director of the super 8 film in the movie. I bet you can’t watch him on the screen and not think of yourself at that age. Best of all, I found there is another Fanning out there. You’ve worked with Dakota before, but I got her kid sister, Elle Fanning. If this young woman does not bring tears to your eyes at least twice during the course of this movie then there is something seriously wrong with you. All the kid actors got along great on set and it shows on the movie screen too.

I’ve read some early reviews of Super 8 and most of them have been pretty positive. Many people are calling Super 8 a love letter to you. That’s nice of those people and I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m afraid I must disagree with that assessment. Frankly, I find that description kind of bland and lacking any creativity behind it. Super 8 is not homage to you either. Your influence can be felt in this movie; however, this is not a Steven Spielberg film. Not by a long shot. I did not want to try to re-create a Spielberg movie. Those are your movies; they have your voice and your vision. I set out to try to capture the spirit of many of your earlier movies and I believe I accomplished that; but, Super 8 is my movie. I think audiences will walk away with that too. I wanted to deliver a great “popcorn flick”. I did.

Super 8 just may be the best screenplay I ever wrote in my career. You wrote Close Encounters so you know all about screenwriting. One of the first things we are taught when writing a script is to show, don’t tell. Movies are a visual medium and if you can show something on screen, rather than telling the audience through dialogue, then you got the makings of a great screenplay. You pick up so much of what’s going on in this movie starting with the first few shots in the movie and I don’t have anyone say a word. I believe the audience will see I crated some rich characters that go through significant changes that people can get behind through the course of the movie.

There are some other elements in Super 8 I think you and the movie going public will really dig. I put together a real fun soundtrack. There are some great songs from that time period that should put some smiles on people’s faces. I got some great moments of drama and laughs. I admit, some of the action sequences and language may not make this movie for the entire family to enjoy, it is rated PG-13 after all, but I believe many families with older children can have a good time watching Super 8.

Mr. Steven Spielberg, thank you for producing Super 8, I believe it is a movie we can all be proud of and I hope it turns out to be one of the better movies for the summer of 2011. I think it’s a pretty great movie. I have read somewhere that some people have dubbed me the “next Steven Spielberg”. To them I say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” That title did not work out too well for M. Night Shyamalan and frankly, who can live up to that title? I’d rather be the first me, if you know what I mean.

Best regards,

J.J. Abrams*

PS – stick around during the end credits of the movie. I put something in there I think you will get a real kick out of watching.