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'Super 8': Summer's Best-Kept Secret

Mystery man J.J. Abrams teases out this year’s ‘Inception’

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It’s not shocking to learn that J.J. Abrams — the man behind Alias, Lost, and Fringe — believes that mystery is good for you. Consider Super 8, his secrecy-shrouded, no-big-stars flick produced by Steven Spielberg. The story, set in a small Ohio town in 1979, tracks a group of kids who witness a train derailment while shooting a home movie. Something scary gets out. Weirdness ensues. This is all we know…which is how Abrams likes it. ”There are a lot of advantages to living in the age of instant information,” he says. ”The downside is that we know about things more than we want to. By the time the movie comes out, not only do we know everything about its production, you’ve seen a trailer that’s told you almost everything.”

Last spring, Abrams and Oscar-winning Inception cinematographer Wally Pfister shot a teaser show-casing the movie’s shocking train crash. Info about the film was tightly controlled. ”None of us got a full script until we got to set,” says star Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights). Together, these choices have contributed to Super 8‘s buzz as this summer’s Inception. Abrams acknowledges that his penchant for mystery comes with risks (the thing had better deliver, right?), but ”it feels especially appropriate for a movie like Super 8, which isn’t a sequel or based on a comic-book superhero. When you’re the little sapling among the redwoods of the summer movie season, you’ve got to use what you got.”

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