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May 22, 2009

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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 22, 2009 By Danielle Berrin J J: Forgive my gender jab, Grunberg's voice appears in Jewish Journal of but I've always wondered how 'Star Trek.' Scott Chambliss, Greater Los Angeles a man could create 'Felicity,' our production designer, also television's most thoughtful worked on 'Felicity.' There is J.J. Abrams is responsible female coming-of-age story, that sort of ongoing group for some of the most beloved JJA: The idea for 'Felicity' of actors and people who I've entertainment ofthepasttwo was really something that I been lucky enough to work decades. He is the writer/ere- thought about for a while. I with again and again. It's part ator of the television dramas loved the idea of a character of the familial experience of "Felicity," "Alias," "Lost" and whowas such a romantic that making movies. I try to work "Fringe." He directed the fea- she would follow this crazy withthe samepeople as much ture films"Mission:Impossible sort of capricious whim and as possible. III," starring Tom Cruise; the change herwhole educational JJ: Is that how you avoid apocalyptic thriller "Clover- plan. The thing I loved about Hollywood's notoriously crazy field;" and now the latest in- her had nothing to do with characters? stallmentinthesciencefiction her gender. It was her ro- JJA: There are good and franchise,"StarTrek."Abrams manticism, bad--people who are incred- is also a prolific screenwriter, J J: Does this mean that ibly trustworthy and those whose early credits include you're secretly a romantic? who are incredibly duplici- "Regarding Henry," "Forever JJA: I don't think [it's] se- tous, those who are kind and Young"and"Armageddon."He cretlyatall.Myfavoritemovies philanthropic and selfless, talks about his romantic side, are incredibly romantic mov- and people who are insanely what he has in common with ies and funny movies, myopic and self-involved, you JuddApatow and why success JJ: You may be the onlyknow, 'Machiavellian.' It is hasn't changed him. person in Hollywood who has exactly what high school is. JewishJournal:Whatisthe both 'Felicity' and 'Star Trek' Obviously you just try and weekbeforethereleaseof'Star on your IMDb profile, find the people who not only Trek' like for its director? JJA: Actually, I wonder if do great work, but who are J.J. Abrams: Lots of this. that's true. It's not: John Cho great to workwith. Lots of talking about 'Star whoplaysSuluwasinanearly JJ: There are already l0 'Star Trek.' episode of'Felicity.' And Greg Trek' movies in existence, plus Play Ball is 56 by 56 Under the Chuppah illustrates a century of American inches, laid out like the Jewish brides. ball field, with the image of a Jewish American Major a point of personal history, Cohen, who passed away in League baseball player in Cohen selected and manipu- 2006 at the age of 70, said she each position, lated hand colored paper to "worked with paper because highlight the mood, charac- she liked the feel of it." The most recent Jewish art ter, emotion and stature of One of the artworks, Play exhibit, Capturing Memories her subjects. The artworks Ball, makes a connection to in Collage, to open at the communicate the valued the Museum's other tempo- Jewish Museum of Florida on personalities to the viewer, rary exhibit, Florida Jews in South Beach directly relates Theexhibitisco-curatedby Sports. to its mission: Capturing artist Lewis Cohen and Laura Accredited by the Ameri- Memories. It opened May 19. Kruger, curator of Hebrew can Association of Muse- Memories and dreams are UnionCollegeMuseuminNewurns, the Museum is at 301 made up of fragments. The York City. Kruger said, "Mari- Washington Ave., Miami 13 artworks contain layers lynCohenwasaconsummate Beach and is open daily 10 of memories in their layers colorist, drenching her work a.m. to 5 p.m. except Mon- of paper, with aluminous quality, akin days and civil and Jewish Marilyn Cohen created to stained glass. Her theatri- hlidays'Admissin:Adults' throughthecollagetechnique cal approach enhances the $6; Seniors, $5; Families, an entire universe made of subject and their history." $12; members and children tiny scraps of historical in- Historian Eli Evan refers to under 6 are free; Satur- formation. As a profile of an Cohenasa"folkhistorian"and days are free. For informa- individual maybe constructed a painter using her fingers as tion: 305-672-5044 or www. byemphasizingorconcealing a paintbrush, something like a half-dozen variations on the TV series. Why does the world need another 'Star Trek'? JJA: Well, as someone who is not much of a fan of 'Trek' to begin with, I frankly had no idea there had been 10 movies. I lost track of 'Star Trek' so long ago as a mov- iegoer--and I never really cared much about it either way. Quite frankly, it felt like something that had become so diffused in terms of its meaning. So when I was asked if I wanted to be involved, my reaction was 'Oh, that's a cool challenge.' Let's go back to the beginning and answer the question that I never felt was sufficiently answered, which was, 'Why should I care about these guys?' JJ: Isn't this just recycling old material, rather than com- ing up with something new? JJA: I'm not particularly precious about where ideas come from, as long as they're good ideas. I never in a mil- lion years thought I would go back and. do another sequel to a series of films based on a TV series. But when 'Star Trek' came up, I showed the script to my wife and she read it (nota 'Star Trek' fan), and she said 'You have to direct this movie.' And just for complete certainty, I also showed the script to Spielberg. J J: So you have a relation- ship with Spielberg? JJA: Obviously he's my idol, but he's also become my real mentor and confidante. J J: Some people think you are a geek 'starmaker' in service of sci-fi, the way Judd Apatow is for comedy. You, both tend to use the same talent over and over. Any thoughts on this comparison? JJA: I'm a huge fan of Judd Apatow. Obviously I think he's insanely talented and clearly he has this group of people that are loyal to him and to whom he's loyal--in that regard, I completely relate to and respect what he does. In J.J. Abrams terms of being a starmaker, I know that a lot of times in life you have to work on what you need to do in order to do what you want to do. And, having been lucky enough to do what I've wanted to do for a while, it's been a terrific thing getting to cast people who are right for the part. J J: In March you signed a five-year development deal with Paramount. Last week, Variety reported that as a consequence of the recent William Morris-Endeavor merger, your agent, David Lonner, would leave William Morris. Does this mean you're officially homeless? JJA: It's complicated, be- cause I have more than one agent, but I've been with Da- vid Lonner for more than 20 years. I'm not sure what he's going to do or what's going to happen. JJ: In the trades you're de- scribed as a'multi-hyphenate' which means you wear so many hats people don't even know what to call you. That's a level of success in Hollywood most people only dream about. What do you still pinch yourself over? JJA: The amazing thing is you work for years trying to write stuff that works, and then all of a sudden you get paid to do that, and what I realized was that nothing changes. I'm exactly the same goofball, I'm still sitting in the same room, I've got the same computer, the same thoughts in my head. I always thought when I was a kid that if I got my name on the screen I could die happy. And I think there's a certain level of truth to that. But there isn't a day when I don't feel disbelief that I get to do this. J J: What's been your most recent epiphany moment? JJA: We just came back from this world tour for 'Star Trek,' and we went to Kuwait and showed the troops the movie. I will tell you, every country we went to, every city we were in, was another insane, impos- sible and surreal experience. Itwas awonderful perspective shift, because I was reminded how incredible it is to get to do something that is ulti- mately as trivial as creating entertainment--and I'm not undercutting or demeaning the experience of making movies, I understand it's im- portant to people--but when you go to Kuwait and you see these people and realize what they're doing, it's amazing how trivial everything you do becomes. J J: It's interesting that you say 'nothing changes' with success because there's this strange cycle in the industry where everybody starts at the bottom and works their way to the top, but when they get there, they treat the people at the bottom pretty poorly. JJA: I always feel like suc- cess, especially in Hollywood, just magnifies the core of who that person is. Meaning, if you're philanthropic and you have 10 dollars to give andyou do, when you suddenly have a million dollars, I think that you will give commensurate with your success. I don't think success changes people; I think success maximizes the truth. J J: You sound pretty lev- Abrams on page 19A Savann~ Court and Cove is an elegant communl~ where hospitality is truly a way of li~a! All within:one residence, we offer Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Care. What make~ us unique is ot4r:ability to provide full assisted living and skilled i~[~giS+~i~s all +adrhin one .ommtmi~ Ira rCsident imt ~av+i++ I~++ +heir home o+ move! F~m!+a variety eomra0r* a~as agd: beaut1 fully landscaped ourtTard,