J.J. Abrams On Lens Flares: ‘I Know It’s Too Much, And I Apologize’

By October 1, 2013


Filmmaker J.J. Abrams’ love for lens flares has been well-documented over the years – after all, his recent productions, including both Star Treks and Super 8, are essentially long form love letters to the lighting trick – but that doesn’t mean that everyone else feels the same way.

In an interview from last month (which seems to be making the rounds again right now, not that we object), CraveOnline’s William Bibbiani took the hit for film-goers everywhere, straight up asking Abrams at the Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray release party, what’s up with all those lens flares? Abrams’ response may surprise you. Basically, even Abrams’ own wife can’t get behind his style when it comes to this.

Abrams told the outlet:

I know I get a lot of grief for that. But I’ll tell you, there are times when I’m working on a shot, I think, ‘Oh this would be really cool…with a lens flare.’ But I know it’s too much, and I apologize. I’m so aware of it now. I was showing my wife an early cut of Star Trek Into Darkness and there was this one scene where she was literally like, ‘I just can’t see what’s going on. I don’t understand what that is.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I went too nuts on this.’


How bad were those early cut flares? So bad that Abrams shared that he “actually had to use ILM [Industrial Light & Magic] to remove lens flare in a couple of shots, which is, I know, moronic. But I think admitting you’re an addict is the first step towards recovery.” Let’s hope so, but we’ll certainly being looking for those flares come Star Wars time.

To watch Abrams attempt to make amends for his flare-tastic tics, head on over to CraveOnline to watch the video. It’s pretty amusing and – bonus! – there’s not a lens flare to be seen. The director also spoke with our own Kevin McCarthy during the initial Star Trek Into Darkness publicity rounds about lens flares, and that conversation begins at 01:06 in the video below:

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss, Film.com, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.