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Jeffrey Jacob Abrams (born 27 June 1966; age 58), better known simply as J.J. Abrams, is an American writer, producer, and director who directed and produced Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. He also worked as producer on Star Trek Beyond.

Abrams used his production company, Bad Robot Productions, to develop his Star Trek films in collaboration with their distributor, Paramount Pictures, and co-financing production company Skydance Productions. His production partners on the films were Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk. The films were written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who have written for Abrams several times in the past.

In 2010, the Producers Guild of America nominated Abrams and Damon Lindelof for the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures for Star Trek. [1] In addition, Abrams won Best Director at the 2009 Spike Scream Awards. In 2010 Abrams has been nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Director for his work on Star Trek. The film received five more nominations. [2]


Abrams is the son of Gerald W. Abrams and Carol Abrams, both television and film producers. Abrams Sr. was a friend of writer/director Nicholas Meyer. [3] After being raised in Los Angeles, California, Abrams attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, from which he graduated in 1988.

Abrams married Katie McGrath in 1996. The couple have had three children together: Henry, born 1998; Gracie, born 1999; and August, born 2006. Abrams and McGrath are partners of The Mission Continues charity co-founded by Eric Greitens, which benefits post-9/11 veterans.


Abrams' first foray into films was Nightbeast (1982), for which he was a composer and sound effects editor. The first film he wrote was 1990's Taking Care of Business, which featured Star Trek: The Next Generation performers Gates McFadden and John de Lancie in supporting roles. He next co-wrote 1992's Forever Young which co-starred J.D. Cullum, Eric Pierpoint, Richard Ryder, and Nicolas Surovy.

JJ Abrams 2006-02-11

Abrams in 2006

Abrams acquired his claim to fame and a huge fan base as the creator of the popular television shows Felicity and Alias. He also served as executive producer on both of these series. Star Trek writers Orci and Kurtzman worked with Abrams on Alias. Abrams and fellow Star Trek producer Damon Lindelof later became two of the creators and executive producers of Lost, which starred Terry O'Quinn, Daniel Dae Kim, and Sam Anderson.

He has also written for a number of popular big screen features, including Armageddon (1998, co-starring Jeff Austin, Brian Brophy, Jim Fitzpatrick, Googy Gress, Anthony Guidera, Jason Isaacs, John Mahon, J. Patrick McCormack, Marshall R. Teague, and Lawrence Tierney) and 2001's Joy Ride with Jim Beaver, the latter of which he produced through his newly formed Bad Robot Productions. Other films he wrote include Gone Fishin' (featuring Louise Fletcher).

Abrams directed and co-wrote (with Kurtzman and Orci) 2006's Mission: Impossible III for Paramount Pictures. Following the release of this film, Abrams signed a five-year contract with Paramount, of which the next Trek films are part. He has also signed a six-year contract with Warner Bros.; both contracts together are worth more than $55 million. [4] Tracy Middendorf and Simon Pegg were among the actors Abrams cast in Mission: Impossible III; he later cast Pegg as Scotty in Star Trek. [5]

In addition to Star Trek, Abrams produced the hit film Cloverfield with Trek executive producer Bryan Burk. This film, in which a giant creature attacks New York City, was released in January 2008. In that film were Margot Farley, Scott Lawrence, Pasha Lychnikoff, and Kelvin Yu. All of those actors were then cast by Abrams for Star Trek or Into Darkness. It has also been reported that Abrams is attached to direct an adaptation of Stephen King book series The Dark Tower. [6]

In October 2007, it was announced that a pilot for a one-hour comic drama developed by Abrams has been purchased by ABC. The show, called Boundaries (which he executive produced with Bryan Burk and Jill Soloway), was the first sale made by Abrams as part of his television deal with Warner Bros. [7] Shortly thereafter, it was announced that Abrams had made his first network series sale for Warner Bros., a science fiction/horror series called Fringe, which was subsequently purchased by Fox. Abrams received executive producer credit on the show, along with Star Trek executive producers Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. [8] Fringe premiered on the Fox network in September 2008 and ended in 2013 after five seasons and a recurring role by Leonard Nimoy.

Abrams has created a spy series entitled Undercovers, which has been picked up by NBC for a fall 2010 premiere. [9] His next film project was Super 8, which he wrote and direct. He also produced Super 8 with acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg, co-starring Jack Axelrod, Jason Brooks, Michael Giacchino, Bruce Greenwood, Tim Griffin, Greg Grunberg and Marco Sanchez. [10] In addition, Abrams returned to the Mission: Impossible franchise as a producer on the fourth film Ghost Protocol with Simon Pegg. In September 2011, it was revealed Abrams had officially agreed to direct the Star Trek sequel. [11]

Following the cancellation of Abrams' television series Undercovers in 2011, Alcatraz in 2012, and Fringe in 2013, he worked as executive producer on the action series Person of Interest (2011-2014) and the adventure series Revolution (2012-2014, starring Billy Burke).

Abrams later directed and produced Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), the science fiction film Portal (2016), producer on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), and the science fiction film Half-Life. Other projects as executive producer include the fantasy series Believe (2014) and Westworld and as producer the thriller The Cellar (2016) and 11.22.63.

Awards and honors[]

Abrams was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for his work on the pilot of Alias. Additionally, he and the producers of Alias shared a Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Television from the Producers Guild of America Golden Laurel Awards.

Abrams and the other producers of Lost (including Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk) received one of television's highest honors when their show won the 2004 Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. Abrams and the producers of Lost also won the 2005 Writers Guild of America Award for Best Dramatic Series and were nominated for a second WGA Award. In addition, they shared a Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic from the Producers Guild of America Golden Laurel Awards, received a second nomination from the PGA, and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts TV Award nomination.

His direction of Lost's pilot episode won Abrams an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Drama. He also earned a Directors Guild of America Award nomination for directing the pilot. Abrams shared an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series with co-creators Lindelof and Jeffrey Lieber for the pilot episode of Lost. In addition, he and composer Michael Giacchino shared two American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Awards in the category of Top TV Series for their work on Lost.

Entertainment Weekly has named Abrams the 29th Smartest Person in Hollywood. [12]

On 5 November 2012 it was announced that Abrams will be honored with the 2013 Norman Lear Achievement Award by the Producers Guild of America. The award ceremony was held on 26 January 2013. [13]

Involvement with Star Trek[]

Abrams is a fan of both Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation and refers to the franchise as "smart television".

"Star Trek to me was always about infinite possibility and the incredible imagination that Gene Roddenberry brought to that core of characters. It was a show about purpose, about faith versus logic, about science versus emotion, about us vs. them. It was its own world, and yet it was our world."

Even though he has not followed the other Trek spin-offs as closely, Abrams stated prior to its release that his film will be faithful to established Trek canon. [14](X)

When Abrams signed on to produce Star Trek in April 2006, he was also given the option to direct the picture. Abrams, however, declined to accept the director's position until the script was complete and he was sure he was the man for the job. Abrams worked with Kurtzman and Orci on the story throughout 2006 and early 2007 and finally signed on to direct on 23 February 2007. Abrams was convinced to direct the film by his wife, who felt the film had strong female characters, and by acclaimed director Steven Spielberg, who was impressed by the script. [15] Of his imminent involvement with Star Trek, Abrams stated:

"If there's something I'm dying to see, it's the brilliance and optimism of Roddenberry's world brought back to the big screen...I am honored and excited to be part of this next chapter of Star Trek."

Appearing at San Diego's Comic-Con International with the writers and producers of Star Trek on 26 July 2007, Abrams admitted that, although he loves Star Trek, he was more interested in Star Wars while growing up and his favorite television series was The Twilight Zone. He also stated that, after reading the script for the new Trek film, he would have been jealous if anyone else directed it. He then gave the first official casting news for the new Star Trek film, announcing that Zachary Quinto had been cast to play young Spock and that Leonard Nimoy would be coming out of retirement to portray the older Spock, which was met with much enthusiasm.

When describing his and his team's involvement with Star Trek at Comic-Con, Abrams stated:

"The excitement for us is the ability for us to take this amazing world that Gene Roddenberry created – which is remarkable – and these incredible characters and show them in a way you haven't seen them. It's tricky because this matters to so many people and you can't screw this up." [16]

In addition to Orci, Kurtzman, Lindelof and Burk, many other people working on Star Trek have worked with Abrams in the past. These include cinematographer Dan Mindel, production designer Scott Chambliss, composer Michael Giacchino, editor Maryann Brandon, casting director April Webster, executive producer and unit production manager Stratton Leopold, previz supervisor David Dozoretz, and actors John Cho, Rachel Nichols, Simon Pegg, and Zoë Saldana.

Star Trek started shooting on 7 November 2007, and wrapped on 8 April 2008. In addition to directing and producing Star Trek, Abrams also wrote and performed two pieces of music heard in the film: "Awasoruk Jam", which was played in the Shipyard Bar ("Awasoruk" is Kurosawa spelled backwards), and "Josh Greenstein", played in the scene with Kirk and Gaila and named after the head of Paramount's marketing department. He was credited as "Cyrano Jones" for both songs. He also voiced the Iowa Cop, portrayed by stuntman Jeremy Fitzgerald, who stops a young James T. Kirk after he crashes the Corvette. (Star Trek DVD commentary)

A sequel was announced as being in development on 30 March 2009, with Abrams returning to produce. [17] Abrams chose to direct the 2011 film Super 8: following its release, it was announced he would direct the Star Trek sequel, which began filming in January 2012. [18] He was nominated for a 2014 Saturn Award as Best Director. [19] For Star Trek Into Darkness, Abrams co-wrote the songs "The Growl" and "The Rage That's In Us All".

It has been reported that Abrams and Bad Robot will continue producing the Star Trek films after he chose to direct Star Wars: Episode VII in January 2013. [20]

See also[]

External links[]

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