Just a quick entry on the AMAZING lunch I had yesterday.
I first met J.J. ABRAMS a few years back, when I consulted on the TWILIGHT ZONE-oriented episode of FELICITY he wrote. Since then, we’d kept in touch and it has always been a very friendly exchange. He’s quite a nice, hugely talented guy (as ALIAS, LOST and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III demonstrate), with a warm, loving heart (it’s great to hear him talk about his wife and kids).
And he’s a HUGE Rod Serling fan!
So I got the idea of arranging a lunch with J.J. and CAROL SERLING.
We met yesterday in the Rotunda at Disney Studios, an elegant and extremely exclusive restaurant on the lot. It was a wonderful time all round, with J.J. full of questions for Carol about Rod and their life together (Carol read all Rod’s scripts as he was writing them, gave feedback and – as she noted – was “always right”).
We talked about various adventures and projects – including, of course, STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES and J.J.’s new STAR TREK feature, which he’s producing and may direct.
It’s such great fun to associate with such talented people who share so many of my enthusiasms – I just learned that J.J. is a big RAY HARRYHAUSEN fan; we didn’t even have a chance to talk about the four previously-unmade Harryhausen films I’m executive producing and will possibly be writing several of (I’ll have to tell J.J. about that next time).
Then the capper came, the ultimate Hollywood moment. As we were finishing our lunch, BOB IGER, the President of Disney, ambled over with STEVEN SPIELBERG!
Iger, it turns out, went to Ithaca College and was actually a student of Rod’s, who he absolutely adored (who didn’t?). We shared some fond memories of Rod, and I’m mailing him a copy of THE TWILIGHT ZONE COMPANION today.
Best of all, when J.J. introduced me as the author of the COMPANION, Spielberg gave a big smile and said, “I live by that book!”
Spielberg’s first professional directing gig, of course, was helming the Joan Crawford segment of Serling’s NIGHT GALLERY pilot. “Those were eleven of the most terrifying days of my life,” he mentioned, adding, “And then came JAWS.” JAWS was renowned as one of the most challenging and nightmarish shoots of all time, running over one hundred days. But Spielberg triumphed and it was the real beginning of his stratospheric rise.
Hanging out with these guys while I’m writing a new pilot and a new book, prepping to direct STAR TREK, starting up the MAGIC TIME company, working on the Harryhausen films, signing the graphic novel deals for MAGIC TIME and HELL’S KITCHEN, and talking to Carol about a new Rod Serling project… Gee, it’s a depressing life.
Don’t pinch me, folks, ‘cause I sure don’t want to wake up from this one…