Monday, May. 08, 2006

J.J. Abrams

A story this size isn't enough for this man. It's hard to convey with brevity the extraordinary experience of knowing and working with J.J. Abrams. First of all, is there anything in a name — J.J.? Look at the Jays we have now — Jay Leno, J. Lo, Jay-Z — but he's got two Js. He was born to impinge and invade pop culture. Any person who has been exposed to his TV creations Alias or Lost has felt the rapture of his storytelling. He is a story dealer. He delivers what could be called the Lay's of yarns: you can't watch just one. I watched all of Alias' first season in two days, pushing all aside to the near destruction of my personal and business life. I had to tear myself away. They harken back to the classic cliffhangers of early cinema serials, with the bravado of my favorite pulp-fiction novels—the adventure, the characters, all of it. I just couldn't get enough. And in spite of the trepidations of many and sundry movie executives, I knew it was a no-brainer to hire him to direct the third Mission: Impossible. I couldn't wait to work with the Double J. From the very beginning, there was an insouciance that promised anything was possible. He's a creative juggernaut and someone who recognizes the joy of creating. We had great fun laying waste to the specious barriers and the each-person-does-his-own-job structure of filmmaking. J.J., who is just 39, even did three Industrial Light & Magic special-effects shots in the movie personally. He is an actor, writer, director, closet cartoonist, a composer, puppeteer, puzzlemaker, humorist, modelmaker, loving husband to his beautiful wife (can you believe this coincidence?) Katie and father of three glorious children. Gotta give it up for that J2.

Cruise is the star of Mission: Impossible III, which opens May 5