Star Wars Episode VII: J.J. Abrams "honouring but not revering what came before”

Liz Hoggard

Production on 'Star Wars Episode VII' appears likely to start early next year in London, producer-director J.J. Abrams has disclosed. Abrams revealed that he’s moving his family of five to London within six months.

“We are, most likely, if all goes as planned, going to be moving to London at the end of the year for the ‘Star Wars’ movie,” Abrams said.

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He signed on to direct in February. Last month, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that 'Episode VII' production would take place in the UK, as with the saga's other films. The decision "really does make me insane," Abrams said.

The director has shot all of his previous films in Los Angeles, even covering some of the cost personally, he explained, to shoot 'Star Trek: Into Darkness' locally.

Abrams said the move to London would be quite an inconvenience for his wife and children.

"When you're 13 and 14, it's like, f--k that, I don't care what the movie is," he joked.
The upcoming film will be scripted by 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' scribe Michael Arndt. Disney plans to release the film in 2015.

Abrams’ comments were part of a 75-minute discussion between Abrams and 'Django Unchained' producer Reginald Hudlin at the Producers Guild of America conference on the Fox studio lot.

Abrams would not comment when Hudlin pressed him on whether the film will be derived from any of the “Star Wars” novels.

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“It is so massive and so important to people,” he said. “I think the key to moving forward on something like this is honouring but not revering what came before.”

The discussion covered Abrams’ professing his affection for shooting on film , the inspiration that his parents — TV producer-writers Gerald Abrams and Carol Anne Abrams — provided him as a child, and the possibility of him working on a theatre project someday.

Abrams dispensed some general career advice. “Find a community,” he said. “Find people you can trust.” And he concluded by describing his standards for film-making.

‘The most important thing for me is getting the chills,” he said. “The feeling of ‘that’s the thing.’”

Abrams also spoke about 'Star Wars' creator George Lucas, who serves as a creative consultant on 'Episode VII', naming Lucas' 'American Graffiti' as one of his favourite films.

"It was like, George vs. Hollywood," Abrams said of the director's tumultuous relationship with the industry. He also noted that Lucas has for several years expressed an interest in making smaller, more experimental films.

"I hope he finally does, because I would love to see what those look like," Abrams said.