On Friday evening, the Tribeca Film Festival hosted a talk between Chris Rock and J.J. Abrams. It was very funny! If these two decided to tour as a comedy duo, I would buy tickets. Anyway, let’s get to the gist: Over the hour or so they were on stage, some interesting things were said. Ahead, I will summarize these interesting things I heard them say for your reading pleasure. Here we go!
– Chris Rock wasn’t a big fan of the new Batman v Superman movie. At one point, Rock asked Abrams, “Have you seen this Superman-Batman shit? What the fuck was that?”
– A young child asked Abrams who Rey’s parents are and Abrams answered the question and it was really surprising. Okay, that is a lie. But Abrams did say that her parents aren’t in The Force Awakens, so this rules out the Skywalkers. And he added, “It’s something Rey thinks about, too.” Alluding that Rey doesn’t know the answer either.
– Chris Rock feels bad for J.J. Walker, because now he’s not the most famous “J.J.”
– Rock revealed that Abrams helped him produce the Oscars montage of movie parody that aired during the show.
– Abrams said he came up with the idea for Alias after he couldn’t think of any more Felicity storylines and “wished she were a spy.”
– J.J. Abrams favorite current shows are Transparent and Togetherness. Chris Rock loves Fargo and Mr. Robot.
– Chris Rock said he once fired a director he hired because he hated Annie Hall. He then asked the audience, “Can you imagine working with someone who doesn’t like Annie Hall?”
– Chris Rock presented a scenario in which Abrams’s wife is being held for ransom, and if he had to choose between the Star Wars and Star Trek fans, which would he choose. Abrams refused to answer, but it’s pretty clear it’s Star Wars after mentioning its “the thing I’ve been a fan of since I was ten.”
– Abrams said that his “Holy Grail” actor to work with is Meryl Streep.
– Chris Rock loves The Fantastic Four and said, “they keep fucking it up.” He then begged Abrams to to make a Fantastic Four movie.
– Rock asked Abrams, “What’s up with the lens flares?” Abrams said, “I’m over that,” adding, “We’ve all made mistakes.” He added that his VFX team would add them for him on Star Wars because they knew he liked them and he then had to tell them to take them out. Then they started adding contrails, “It’s like the lens flare department was replaced by the contrails department.”
– Speaking on The Force Awakens, Abrams knows they’ve gotten “heat” for the similar story beats to the original Star Wars, but that was by design. He said Episode VIII and Episode IX will go in much different directions.
– Abrams revealed that Mark Hamill was resistant to doing The Force Awakens because his role was so small. Hamill was worried his appearance at the end of the movie would come off as a joke.
– At the end, a man wearing Jedi robes (maybe unbelievably, this was the only person at the event doing cosplay; and he happened to be sitting directly behind me) stated he used to be a Wall Street banker, but quit his job to “blog about Star Wars full time.” He then asked Abrams about Abrams’ religious beliefs, adding that he’s seen The Force Awakens 18 times. Abrams did a pretty good job of dodging the question, but told him, “You’ve seen The Force Awakens more than I have.”
Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.