J.J. Abrams on Lin Manuel Miranda, Kathleen Kennedy, and BB-8

J.J. Abrams on Lin Manuel Miranda, Kathleen Kennedy, and BB-8

Images by MomStart.com

It isn’t every day that you get to interview J.J. Abrams, the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When you DO get to interview him you get the inside scoop on many things: J.J. Abrams on Lin Manuel Miranda, Kathleen Kennedy, and BB-8. Interviewing him was amazing! We were a little off schedule during our interview times in the junket and what everyone kept saying is…WE WAIT FOR J.J. Abrams. It was totally worth the slight wait! I have heard ALL amazing things from his colleagues! 

While interviewing J.J. we learned so much and he was so nice and smart!  

J.J. Abrams explains Star Wars as:

  • engrained in our conscientiousness
  • born to know what a light saber is
  • the new Star Wars needed to MEAN something and not just be a fan film

J.J. Abrams on Lin Manuel Miranda

J.J. Abrams on Lin Manuel Miranda, Kathleen Kennedy, and BB-8

I was dying to know how this relationship came about since it was reported that J.J. worked with Miranda on this film! How? Huh? and What? The questions many of you are wondering! Here is J.J.’s response.

My 17 year old son and I went to see Hamilton. If you haven’t seen it it is one of the great experiences of all time which cannot be oversold. And you here crazy hyperbolic language being used about it and when you go to see it and it’s better than anyone described it and gets better as it goes which is impossible. At intermission, I was thinking it can’t possibly continue at this level and it just gets better.

Then I was distracted at intermission by a tap on my shoulder and I turned around it was Lin Manuel Miranda– Who normally stars in this thing he wrote and wrote the songs for but this night it was his understudy. He said “hi”. And I was like ‘oh my god’. “Do you understand what you have done?” He’s like, “yes”. I was essentially fawning over him and he said in this jokey, off-hand way, “If you need music for the cantina, you know, I’m happy to do it.”

It was so weird because a couple weeks earlier, John Williams, had said to me he really wanted to focus on the score. There’s a lot of music in the movie.

And he said this one scene in the film which is essentially, if we have a version of a kind of cantina scene…if like someone I work with said Star Wars is a Western, there’s a sort of a saloon in every Western, and this was our saloon.

And John said, you know, I’d rather not work on this music because I have so much other score to do, and this is really source music. I was like, alright. I thought crap, what are we gonna do and I started working on something as a hobbyist musician myself. So I was working on a piece of music.

Anyway, Miranda says this to me, I can’t believe it. So I email Lin and I say, “listen, I know you were joking, but the truth is we sort of have a need for some music in the scene, if you’re serious.” And he emails back. He’s like I’ll drop everything. I’m like “oh, my God.” You’re kidding me. And so we started collaborating on this music and we both use the same music software and we have a dropbox and we would send files back and forth. And we came up with this piece of music, actually two pieces of music for this sequence. To get to work with him was preposterously fun. And I, I got to hang out with him subsequently and if you haven’t seen his appearance on Jimmy Fallon, it’s one of the greatest things you’ve ever seen because it’s, it’s freestyle rap, which is actually, truly, ah, unprepared in any way, and staggering. He is amazing. Thank you.

So when J.J. Abrams suggestion you check out Jimmy Fallon…You check out Jimmy Fallow! Here is → http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/video/wheel-of-freestyle-with-linmanuel-miranda-from-hamilton/2933370

J.J. Abrams on Kathleen Kennedy

J.J. Abrams on Lin Manuel Miranda, Kathleen Kennedy, and BB-8

J.J. discusses about how when he was first asked to Kathleen Kennedy to do Star Wars, he said, “No, thank you.” J.J. continued:

And when Kathy Kennedy and you get together, she’ll convince you of whatever it is she wants you to. And she just was amazing and basically said this was going to be an opportunity to continue the story since Return of the Jedi. And I just, as we were talking, I realized this is 30-some years after the fact, the main characters would have been born 10 to 15 years after that movie…

After talking to his wife and realizing this is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” he took it!

J.J. Abrams on BB-8

J.J. Abrams on Lin Manuel Miranda, Kathleen Kennedy, and BB-8

Well, Sphero actually came, came later. What happened was we were working on the story, trying to figure out, we knew we had a droid that was gonna be a critical piece of the puzzle, but we didn’t know if he was going to be sort of bi-pedal, like, you know, 3CPO, or roll around like R2 or some other thing. And I just had this idea that if we, if we had a sphere and then a, a semi-sphere on top, you could get quite a bit of expression without a face.

And so I drew a sketch of BB-8, and I had the eye and little antenna and everything and it didn’t have a color pattern and it didn’t have all the critical details that Neil and his team brought in. But I sent that to Neil Scanlan and the began to come up with designs that would sort of follow that. And it was amazing how quickly it looked like it could work. I didn’t know if they would be able to create something that could be performed on camera, which I knew was going to be important.

I will never forget the first day that we came to their offices to see BB-8 being performed after we’d agreed on design, etcetera and scale and everything. We walked in and Brian, the puppeteer, came out and wheeled out BB8 on his rig. And literally within seconds, Brian disappeared, like he was right there, but it was like he wasn’t there and this thing was looking around and like, and curious and, and you could feel the soul because Brian was imbuing him with life.

Daisy said at one point earlier today, every time we weren’t shooting, we were on a break, and BB-8 was just sort of sitting there and not being performed, it was like heartbreaking, because he was this like inert thing and you were like, “where is he.” And then Brian would get him, you’d be like there he is. And it was this very odd and very important thing, but it was a result of Neil Scanlan and his amazing team.

J.J. Abrams on Lin Manuel Miranda, Kathleen Kennedy, and BB-8

Images by momstart.com.

Read the exclusive interview with Kathleen: https://www.enzasbargains.com/kathleen-kennedy-star-wars-interview-the-force-awakens/ 


  1. I LOVED reading all about Lin Manuel-Miranda and how he came to be involved in Star Wars!

    Thank you for asking the question and sharing the information. You and your blog are amazing–there’s nowhere else I could have learned all those little details!

  2. Elizabeth O. says:

    What an awesome experience this must have been! Truly one of the most memorable things you’ve probably done in your life. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What an amazing opportunity to interview such a legend! I’m excited to see the movie this weekend!

  4. i appreciate the fact that you posted a Jimmy Fallon video – sometimes when i can stay up, i watch his show 😀

  5. What a great opportunity to interview such an amazing opportunity

  6. I really enjoyed finding out how the music came to be. That was so cool!

  7. Wow, what an amazing experience! We will be seeing the movie this weekend.

  8. What a really fantastic interview! I love Star Wars can’t wait to see the new movie.

  9. What an amazing opportunity to interview!!! I’m excited to see the movie this coming weekend!

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