J. J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are three of the busiest men in show business. The director and writers of this summer's hugely successful re-imagining of Star Trek are also behind Fox's hit TV show, Fringe, and 2006's Mission: Impossible III. On top of that Kurtzman and Orci are also responsible for this summer's other huge box office hit, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen while Abrams is putting the finishing touches on the final season of his television phenomenon, Lost. So needles to say the men are constantly busy with multiple projects but they did have the time to stop by Santa Monica yesterday for a Paramount event honoring the release of Star Trek and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, on DVD and Blue Ray later this fall. The talented creators shared some of their pending sequels and upcoming projects with the audience.
First, with Leonard Nimoy's involvement in Star Trek and Fringe what would Abrams say to Nimoy appearing as his old Mission: Impossible character, Paris in Mission: Impossible IV? "How cool would that be? I'm mean seriously," answered Abrams. "It's funny, I just got a call that would be a very bizarre, for obvious reasons, bend in the sort of time-space continuum but I got a call that Peter Graves is in great shape," continued the director. "I'm not kidding. By the way I think there was that period of time when he did Airplane! where all of the sudden it was like, oh my god. But I almost feel like you could serialize him again. You could sort of bring him back. So whether it's Nimoy who I of course have an incredible infinity for or Graves or anyone I think having ... I actually tried to get Martin Landau in Mission: Impossible III in a very small little moment and was told he had no interest in doing it but then when I met him after the movie came out it was the greatest thing, we were at this restaurant in New York, it was one of the TV up-front parties and someone introduced me to Landau. They take me over and Martin Landau comes over to me and he puts his hand out and does this. (Abrams acts out the classic Mission: Impossible ripping off of the mask) That was the greatest thing ever." He finished by saying, "We're hard at work on the Star Trek and the Mission: Impossible (sequels)."
Orci and Kurtzman spoke about why they will not be involved with Transformers 3. "We've been working on Transformers longer then I was in College. I think we have our degree in Transformers now," said Orci. "The studios were nice to say, hey if you guys want to come back, come back but we never want to do that in less we have an idea. We always think the best idea should win and that means opening it up to everybody," the writer continued. "I think it was just a question for us of the franchise is so wonderful and it deserves to be fresh all the time and I think we felt like we had just given it a lot and didn't have an instinct on where to go with it next and said you know you guys should do it right," answered Kurtzman.
The two writers are also working on an adaptation of the popular graphic novel, Cowboys & Aliens with director Jon Favreau. "We just started and we're getting along really well. We sent our selves back to school and we're watching a lot of Westerns together and analyzing them and just kind of getting into it. We just watched, The Searchers last night," said Orci. Star Trek was pitched originally as a space western anyway so it's a nice lead up for us." "We had a lot of these westerns in our head but Jon is an incredible fountain of western knowledge," explained Kurtzman. "I think also Jon comes from a very similar emotional place and because he's an actor he knows what plays and what doesn't play very quickly. So we're having an unbelievably good time working with him right now."
The writers were then asked about an untitled project that they are working on with Heroes actor Masi Oka. "We actually can't say too much about it but Masi's amazing. He's one of TV's Heroes and he's wonderful to work with. Gary Whitta is writing it, he wrote The Book of Eli that is coming out later this year," said Krutzman. "We're still working out the story. He's developed a great story and now we have to go pitch it to the heads of the studios and then we'll find out what happens," explained Orci.
Finally, the two writers talked about the Untitled View-Master Project they are working on based on the best selling toy and their surprise at people's early criticism of the project. "Here's what's really interesting about that because we've read a lot of the wildly cynical response to it. Here's what I'll say, some toys should be movies and some toys should not be toys and I'd like to believe we know the difference between those two things," stated Kurtzman. "The movies that work, work when there is a story there that you can take the toy out of but when you put the toy in it becomes an even more amazing experience for what ever reason. A writer for us on Fringe came to us with this amazing idea that had absolutely nothing to do with View-Master. We loved it and thought it was fantastic. Then along came Untitled View-Master Project and it seemed like a perfect marriage of ideas but it's because we started with a story that felt like it could be told all on its on before that came along. So in some ways bring it on if you want to be cynical about Untitled View-Master Project because we are so confident in where it's going to end up that we feel like in some ways there is no where to go but up."