Production on “Star Wars Episode VII” appears likely to start early next year in London, producer-director J.J. Abrams has disclosed.
Abrams revealed at Saturday’s Produced By Conference that he’s moving his family of five to London within six months.
Abrams signed on to direct in February and Abrams’ producing partner Byran Burk had disclosed last month that the picture was shooting in England. Disney plans to release the film in 2015.
Abrams’ comments were part of a 75-minute discussion between Abrams and “Django Unchained” producer Reginald Hudlin at the Producers Guild of America conference on the Fox lot.
Abrams spoke in only general terms about how he’ll approach the latest “Star Wars” and would not comment when Hudlin pressed him on whether the film will be derived from any of the “Star Wars” novels.
“It is so massive and so important to people,” he said. “I think the key to moving forward on something like this is honoring but not revering what came before.”
The director professed a strong preference for shooting near his home in California, evoking a cheer from the audience of about 500. His most recent film, “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” was shot entirely in California.
He indicated that his children — aged 14, 13 and 7 — are ambivalent about leaving Los Angeles.
The discussion also covered Abrams’ professing his affection for shooting on film and the inspiration that his parents — TV producer-writers Gerald Abrams and Carol Anne Abrams — providing him as a child.
Abrams dispensed some general career advice. “Find a community,” he said. “Find people you can trust.”
And he concluded by describing his standards for filmmaking.
‘The most important thing for me is getting the chills,” he said. “The feeling of ‘that’s the thing.'”
The conference also included a film financing panel with “Crash” producer and Mandalay Vision topper Cathy Schulman noting that major studios don’t want to do”‘one-off’ (non-franchise) films.
“‘So there’s a lot of distribution space,” she added.