Some Jew of the Week highlights in honour of our recent 5th Birthday!
Jeffrey Jacob Abrams (b. 1966) was born in New York, and raised in Los Angeles where both of his parents were involved with the film industry. (His father, Gerald W. Abrams, produced over 70 movies and TV shows, and was nominated for two Emmy awards.) Young JJ was inspired by the films of Steven Spielberg, as well as the first Star Wars trilogy. Though he wanted to go straight to film school after high school, his father convinced him to go to college first, saying “it’s more important that you go off and learn what to make movies about than how to make movies.” It was in his last year of college that Abrams co-wrote a screenplay, which was bought by Touchstone Pictures. His next film, Regarding Henry, starred Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson. Abrams was also part of a group developing computer animation technology, and his team was involved with the animation for Shrek. Meanwhile, Abrams worked on the 1998 blockbuster Armageddon, before shifting his focus to television. His first TV series was Felicity, ranked by TIME as one of the best TV shows of all time. In 2001, Abrams co-founded a new production company called Bad Robot. With this new label, he created the TV shows Alias and Lost. Amazingly, not only did he serve as a writer and executive producer, he also composed the opening musical themes for these shows. (In fact, Abrams first work in film was writing the music for the movie Nightbeast, which he did when he was just 16 years old!) Abrams then decided to try his hand at directing films, the first of which was Mission: Impossible III. (Tom Cruise gave Abrams the job after watching Alias.) He then directed the new 2009 Star Trek film, and its 2013 sequel. Just a few months before the sequel came out, it was announced that Abrams would produce and direct a new Star Wars film. Abrams ended up co-writing the screenplay, too. The 7th episode of Star Wars, The Force Awakens, had its Hollywood premiere last night, and has already garnered critical acclaim. It made him the first director to work on both Star Trek and Star Wars films. Abrams has also guest-directed episodes of The Office and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, appeared on Family Guy, and played small roles in three films. Abrams has won multiple awards and has been ranked among the ’50 Smartest People in Hollywood’.
Words of the Week
When two people meet, something good should result for a third.
– Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn