by Krypton Radio intern Hannah Carter
Jeffrey Jacob “J.J.” Abrams was born on this day in 1966. At 47, he’s already made quite a splash as an actor, a director, a producer, a screenwriter, and a composer with his work on television shows, like Lost and Fringe, and movies, including Armageddon, Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek, and Star Trek: Into Darkness. He’s also the founder of Bad Robot, a production company which has produced some of Abrams’ most famous shows and films.
J.J. Abrams is known, by many, for his mastery of mystery. However, the driving force behind his obsession with the unknown is, in itself, a mystery to most of the people who enjoy his films and television shows.
“I get a lot of people asking me, in terms of Lost, ‘Uh, what the hell’s that island?’ You know?” Abrams told the audience at a TED talk in 2007, “And it’s usually followed by, ‘No, seriously. What the hell’s that island? Why so many mysteries? What is it about mystery that I seem to be drawn to?’”
In trying to think of an answer for those questions, he traced the origins of his fascination with mystery back to his grandfather. Abrams’ maternal grandfather started his own electronics company after World War II which sold spare parts, among other things. Abrams has fond memories from his childhood of his grandfather taking apart electronics so that young J.J. could see how they worked. “It’s an amazing gift to give a kid,” Abrams added, “to open up this thing and show how it works and why it works.”
His grandfather also got him into “odd crafts” such as printing with a letter press, silk screening, book binding, and box making. He also supported Abrams’ interests, including film and magic tricks. To illustrate, Abrams took out a box, which had probably been white when he got it and which had a large black question mark on the front. Within the question mark were the words “Tannen’s Magic Mystery Box.” He confessed to the audience that, although he had owned the box for many years, he had never opened it. “I find myself drawn to infinite possibility and that sense of potential,” he explained, “and I realize that mystery is the catalyst for imagination.”
We are all looking forward to what the imaginative man went into the family business alongside his father, the television producer, and his sister, screenwriter Tracy Rosen, will dream up next. Abrams is scheduled to produce Star Wars: Episode VII (2015), Mission: Impossible V (2015), and the third movie in the Star Trek series (2016) along with many other films. Happy birthday, Mr. Abrams!