In a recent interview, The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams told Howard Stern about his experience of screening the first cut of the movie to Disney Execs.
“We screened the movie, and it was horrifying,”
“I’m nervous beyond words, I’m showing this movie that I know is so far from finished, there’s not an effect in it…”
Abrams said he was even trying to temper their expectations before they saw the film:
“It was a lot of me giving excuses before the screening. I’m reading their body language while they’re watching it and I couldn’t tell if they were miserable or in ecstasy.”
Apparently, Abrams needn’t have worried, because hearing their positive reaction after the screening was
“the biggest relief of my life. And then of course I laughed and all I could think was ‘what do they know? They spent four billion dollars, they have to love it!’” Abrams chuckled. “I’m so critical about it, and their response was so kind. I’m like, ‘they’re just being nice.’”
Abrams also told Stern that he didn’t want to direct a Star Wars movie because he was sick of doing sequels.
It was only when he sat down with Kathleen Kennedy and talked about the possible story that he started to get excited and chose to direct it.
“We just started talking about what the story could be and as we were talking about it I found myself suddenly on fire about what this movie could be.”
“That question of this young woman asking who is Luke Skywalker? I don’t know why, but it made me feel like fuck, that’s so cool. These would be essentially kids who didn’t see Star Wars themselves, in this movie, who would be in this universe. The idea of discovering or re-discovering this world that had been created.”
Stern also asked Abrams about the absence of Luke Skywalker in the trailers.
“I hate when I go and see a trailer and I feel like I’ve just seen the whole movie in an encapsulated form, it makes me nuts. I’d rather be asking questions and feel that they’d been answered for me [by the film].”
What did Abrams think about the fuss of casting a black actor John Boyega as a Stormtrooper?
“All I know is that John Boyega is extraordinary in the movie. I think the people who are complaining probably have a lot bigger problems than there’s a black Stormtrooper.”