Q & A with JJ Abrams…

April 22, 2006

Credit to Lost-Media for getting this interview from New York Times…its pretty cool to see what JJ Abrams does in his spare time and what his most prized posessions are πŸ™‚ …to read interview make the jump πŸ™‚

Personal hero: Rod Serling. In “The Twilight Zone,” he did my favorite thing β€” he took outlandish situations and told them through emotional characterization. I discovered my house is 400 feet from where he lived.

What’s always by his bed: My laptop and some incredibly obscure book or DVD on how to use a computer program. I geek out on those 100 percent.

His retreat: A former closet adjacent to my office that’s now a recording area. I have a keyboard and guitars and a computer set up there. I love recording music.

His greatest hits: I wrote and recorded the theme songs to my television shows β€” “Felicity,” “Alias” and “Lost.” There’s also a little recording I did for “Mission” with my friend the musician Thomas Dolby.

Morning routine: I wake up around 7 a.m., make breakfast for my children and take the older ones to school. Then I go to the office. Typically, I’m working on “Lost” and “Alias” at Disney, but these days I’m finishing up “M:I III” at Paramount.

Favorite item of clothing: I designed and made a T-shirt based on the distinctive 1940’s-style “Do Not Disturb” signs at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood. The hotel should really make those shirts themselves.

Greatest strength as a writer: I’m a fast writer.

Greatest weakness as writer: I write too quickly.

What’s always in the refrigerator: Diet Snapple, Diet Coke, milk and blueberries. Those are the staples.

Favorite food: There is this restaurant in New York called Shopsin’s General Store, and they have a sandwich called the Chaz. It’s a baguette with turkey and cranberry sauce and coleslaw, and it just destroys me.

Collections: Lately it feels like we’re collecting children. Actually, I’m fascinated by robots β€” my production company is called Bad Robot β€” and I have this small collection of old tin toy robots and a wonderful robot painting.

Best thing about robots: I love the idea of anthropomorphizing machines. I love the idea of taking technology and giving it a personality.

Best “Lost” memento: Damon Lindelof, who created the show with me, gave me a framed palm frond, which was a prop in the first episode.

Best “Alias” memento: I commissioned a caricature of “Alias” by Al Hirschfeld and then had lithos done for the cast. I hang it in my office.

Best movie-star gift: Tom Cruise gave me one of those two-wheel Segway scooter things. I’m still trying to get him back for that.

What he’s always asked at parties: People want to know what is happening on the island in “Lost.” Recently, it’s been, “What’s it like working with Tom Cruise?”

Always with him: My BlackBerry.

Favorite place in house: There’s this great seating area outside by the swimming pool. It has a sofa, some chairs and an outdoor fireplace. It always feels like you are on vacation when you are out there.

Hobbies: I have this laser cutter, and I can take sketches my kids made, scan them and use the cutter to make two-dimensional renderings.

Obsession: I think boxes are an amazing art form that no one really considers. It’s fascinating the way they are made. I have a bunch of books that I love on packaging and templates for boxes. Sometimes I use the laser cutter to make my own boxes.

Best recent gift: My wife got me a certificate to get a suit custom made. That sounds beyond extravagant to me. I can’t wait to do that.

Fitness routine: These days I go for runs on weekends. Back when I was a human being I belonged to a gym.

Talent he covets: I wish I were a better athlete.

Evening routine: Go home around 7 p.m., give the kids a bath and put them to sleep. Then eat dinner with my wife around 8:30 p.m. Sometimes I have to edit, but I have a system set up so I can work from home with the editors in the editing room. I go to bed around midnight.

Greatest misconception about his life: That what I do is work instead of fun.

Movie he’s seen most: “Jaws,” simply because it’s a great film that is never not on television. I’d also say “The Philadelphia Story,” which is impossibly perfect.

Book he’s read most: The lame answer is something you read as a kid. The honest answer is stuff that you read as a parent over and over to your kids. But I love “Our Man in Havana.” It’s a great novel.

Household chore he’s most fastidious about: With three kids you are just trying to survive. You can’t be fastidious.

Obsolete item he won’t part with: I have a number of keyboards that are now, because of software, absolutely irrelevant. I probably will never play them, and yet I keep them.

Travel routine: I don’t use escalators at airports. I don’t know why, but I take the stairs. Now my wife and kids do it, too. It is one of the things about living with me that is a pain.

Travel nightmare: I have this recurring dream where I’m flying in a plane and there is a problem. I’ve actually had that dream when I was on a plane. I’ll wake up from a dream of a plane crashing while in a plane. That’s really disconcerting.

Superstition: I knock on wood.

Procrastination technique: Because I love doing so much stuff β€” design, music, sculpting and painting β€” there’s always something I can do instead of work. Basically, I don’t write unless I’m on deadline.

Biggest self-indulgence/guilty pleasure: When there is something computer- or music-related I get it.

Gadget he can’t live without: My Macintosh. I use it for everything I do. I use it for writing, music, sound effects, special effects, graphic design. I use it for the Internet. I use it all day to a wildly unhealthy degree.

Prized possession: I have a mystery box from Tannen’s Magic in New York. It’s a cardboard box with a question mark printed on it. It’s one of those things you buy for $15 and they advertise that it has at least $20 worth of stuff inside. I’ve never opened it. I love the fact that it has this mysterious value as long as I don’t open it.

What he drives: A Toyota Prius. I used to have a Porsche, and I miss it like crazy, but the Prius is great. Also, you can’t drive kids in a Porsche.

Next big purchase: For the past few years we’ve rented a house in Camden, Me. I’d love to buy one.

Historical figure he’d like to meet: Aristotle. Anything Rod Serling couldn’t do, Aristotle had it covered.

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