Films

15 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Super 8

There's but one simple rule in life that we live by: Never look at JJ Abrams' IMDb page. The only thing it ever does is make you feel like you haven't quite done enough with your time on Earth. But just this once, with a deep breath, we took a peek at what he's got coming up. He's tied to Star Wars projects, Star Trek projects, a Cloverfield sequel, Mission Impossible 5, as well as movie versions of Half-Life and Portal!

We stopped short of looking at his back catalogue, we were running out of air, but perhaps our favourite movie he has made is Super 8. It's brilliant, that much we know, but what about the movie don't we know? Here's 15 things. If you knew them all, your name's probably JJ Abrams.

(Images: Rex & YouTube)

  • 15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Super 8

    1.

    Director JJ Abrams' plan was to film all of the sequences for the film-within-a-film, in Super-8. They had to nip this idea in the bud because the visual effects department found it impossible to integrate CGI into the footage due to the format's graininess. Super-16 was used instead.

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    2.

    The moving train was completely CGI, but in the post-crash shots where the kids walk among the wreckage the carriages were actually there. Oh and every time you see the water tower in the movie, that's computer generated too.

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    3.

    Abrams was very close with his grandfather Kelvin and honourd his memory by including his name in his movies. Here, in Star Trek, for example, but also the gas station in Super 8 bears his name.

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    4.

    Jeremy Renner landed his role in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol just three hours after turning down the part of Jack in Super 8.

    Renner had to tell Abrams he didn't think he was the right choice for the part, but Abrams wouldn't let him leave his office - because he had another major role for the star in mind, opposite Tom Cruise.

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    5.

    Bruce Greenwood - who played Pike in Abrams' Star Trek - provided the motion-capture performance of the alien. He is credited in the cast list as "Cooper", which was the creature's nickname on set.

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    6.

    Abrams said Joel Courtney had to audition a dozen times because his character has to do so much in the movie: "He has to go through every single emotional extreme. We had to test him thoroughly, because I needn't to know that this kid who had never been in a film before, wouldn't fall apart. And... at every step he was wonderful."

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    7.

    Ryan Lee, who plays Cary, was one of the first kids cast. He had to have his modern day teeth braces removed and replaced by the style of braces worn in 1979.

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    8.

    As a kid JJ Abrams would make zombie movies and make his mum appear as one of the undead. Including make up. Bless her heart.

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    9.

    Kyle Chandler accepted the role of Jack without seeing the script. "It was part of the deal." He said. "I could only see the script once I'd accepted the job and got to the set. Only then I was allowed... We had to go into a trailer, alone to read it. That's the JJ Abrams process."

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    10.

    The famous scene where the boys are sitting, waiting for Alice to pick them up and singing, was first shot with no singing at all. Abrams and other members of the crew acknowledged the scene lacked some "fun". Much later in the shoot Abrams heard the boys singing together, between takes, and it made him so happy he gave them his ipod with "My Sharona" on. None of them had heard it before, but he told them to learn it and sing it, for the scene to be reshot.

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    11.

    Deputy Jackson Lamb never wears his hat. You see it several times, but never on his head. Proof.

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    12.

    In the final scene there is a sign for a jewellers called “James Locke”, a reference to two central characters in Abrams' series Lost: James “Sawyer” Ford and John Locke.

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    13.

    Some 5,000 teens auditioned for parts in the film with Joel Courtney landing his role despite having never before acted in anything more than a school play.

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    13.

    At one stage the military embarks upon “Operation Walking Distance”, a reference to Abrams’ favourite episode of The Twilight Zone “Walking Distance”.

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    15.

    Leonard Nimoy appears in the movie, but as yet nobody has found him. There's some good debate about this in the comments here.

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