(Update 3 p.m. PST: Jay Dyer’s representation at CAA has confirmed that "Super 8" is not the "Hot For Teacher" project he’s been developing with J.J. Abrams. It was a long shot, but someone had to start this guessing game.)
J.J. Abrams has always appreciated a good mystery, but this time, the secret is out of the … canister.
Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny has revealed that a teaser trailer for a project known only as "Super 8" will be attached to prints of Paramount’s "Iron Man 2."
Abrams directed the teaser trailer but will reportedly only produce the movie, which Hitfix claims is rumored to be a "Cloverfield" sequel, though it’s unclear how "Super 8" will tie into the first film. As far as the title is concerned, it refers to a cheap home video alternative before video cameras (Steven Spielberg grew up making Super 8 movies as a kid), so perhaps the film will be a period prequel about the "Cloverfield" monster’s first appearance on Earth?
If "Super 8" is, in fact, related to "Cloverfield," that would be sweet. Abrams attached the film’s teaser trailer to Paramount’s "Transformers," where it blew away audiences. The first time I saw the film, I was covering the premiere for Variety, so the circumstances under which I was seeing the movie were ideal, as the theater was packed full of Abrams supporters. I just so happened to re-watch "Cloverfield" last week without the shroud of secrecy, and it completely holds up as both a monster movie and an emotionally engaging love story. A prequel or a sequel would be more than welcome from my end.
Hitfix has done some digging and is convinced that "Super 8" is not the rumored Abrams-Spielberg collaboration that was reported last week. However, if "Super 8" really is the title, how can that not be considered an homage to Steven Spielberg’s "very early work?" Could the projects be one and the same, or does Abrams have another secret he’s waiting to share with the world.
Apparently, Abrams told the crew working on the teaser that it was for a remake of a teen sex comedy, so you would think that the footage would be in line with that description. The only sex comedy Abrams has in development is "Hot For Teacher," which Jay Dyer is writing. This would be an awful lot of noise to make over a teaser trailer for a teen sex comedy, but it’d also be a rather brilliant publicity strategy, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Hitfix reports (and the screenshot below indicates) that prints of "Iron Man 2" will arrive at theaters with its first and final reels (and all trailers) locked in a film canister that has a coded electronic lock on it, the combination to which won’t be available until Thursday at 3 p.m. EST. I love how the studio is even keeping projectionists in the dark.
Frankly, I find Abrams’ quest for secrecy incredibly refreshing. In today’s world of constant movie news, there are so few genuine surprises left for audiences (McWeeny understandably wrestled with the decision to spoil the surprise). By the time movies like "Captain America" or "The Hobbit" come out, the media will have reported on every detail of their development over a period of 2-3 years. When McWeeny writes, "By the time most films hit theaters, the audience almost feels like they’ve seen everything, like the act of watching the film is almost a formality," he’s absolutely right. Even festival audiences have had the ending of Michael Winterbottom’s "The Killer Inside Me" ruined because of overly-revealing publicity stills used in reviews out of Sundance and Tribeca.
In Hollywood, everyone is trying to make a quick buck off unsuspecting audiences, but Abrams is the rare filmmaker who is more concerned with giving his paying customers an experience they’ll never forget. The director is 2-for-2 on the bigscreen in my book, and while he’s not directing "Super 8," I’m confident that whatever the project turns out to be, it will deliver a thrilling cinematic experience similar to "Mission: Impossible III," "Star Trek" and of course, "Cloverfield."