What is JJ Abrams’ top secret SUPER 8?

JJ Abrams likes a mystery.

Remember the buzz when the first trailer for the Abrams-produced Cloverfield premiered in front of Transformers? Michael Bay’s big screen adaptation of the popular toy line and cartoon series was nearly eclipsed by talk of what that short, two-minute clip could be about. Not even those of us who trawl the `net for film news knew much about the project beyond some vague rumors.

This weekend Abrams will try to generate some intense buzz with the trailer for a new project Super 8. Drew McWeeny over at HitFix broke the news yesterday that a trailer with this title will be attached to all prints of Iron Man 2, opening this Friday. Studio Paramount Pictures is going so far to insure that no one sees the trailer before the weekend that they have shipped the short reel in an electronically locked canister along with the film’s first and final reels. Theaters won’t be able to open these canisters until Thursday at 3 pm (Eastern), allowing little time for projectionists to build the prints for late Thursday night screenings. Check this blog for more information.

Allegedly, Abrams told the crew who worked on the trailer, there hasn’t been a frame of the actual film shot yet, that it was for a remake of a teen sex comedy, but does  something like that really demand this level of security?

So, what is it about?

Damned if we know for sure.

(Possible spoilers to follow.)

There is some speculation that this could be a follow up to Cloverfield. Super 8 is the name given to the film format used in old home movie cameras, so perhaps, these theories suggest, this is a prequel to the told-through-hand-held-video cameras Cloverfield. But was it possible that Super 8 is a fake title, purposely designed to suggest the Cloverfield prequel possibility, deflecting speculation from what it really is? Many people thought that of Cloverfield in the early days of the lead up to that film’s release.

Late yesterday afternoon, Vulture managed to get some additional information on the mysterious project. They state that their sources confirm “that Super 8 is absolutely connected to 2008’s Cloverfield (possibly a prequel, but not a sequel).” –

Insiders familiar with the trailer tell us that it shows a bunch of kids who are shooting a movie with a Super 8 camera in the seventies or eighties. When they develop the film, they notice that there’s an alien creature in the frame.

Of course, with the level of security, Vulture could have been fed a purposely created story to throw people off the trail as well.

At this point, I realize that my own speculation is starting to sound tinged with a bit of “Trust no one!” paranoia. And I suppose that Abrams is probably sitting back, enjoying the fact that he has the internet tied up in knots trying to figure this puzzle out. I suspect we’ll have at least some more puzzle pieces Friday.

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About Rich Drees 7024 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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May 5, 2010 6:13 am

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