What I’ve always loved about J.J. Abrams (other than the fact that he’s a contemporary entertainment visionary) is that he’s loyal to his creative collaborators. Thanks to his TV series’ Alias, Lost and Fringe, the industry has gained a host of talented writers and producers following in his footsteps. From Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who started as writers on shows like Hercules and Xena before working with Abrams on Alias and, eventually, becoming power producers in their own right (Hawaii 5-0 and Fringe are their babies, and they’ve got features like MI:3, Star Trek and Transformers under their belt) to Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, who worked on Felicity and Lost with the auteur before moving into the film world with Tron: Legacy and the forthcoming Ouija project, the Abrams effect has sent qualitative ripples throughout showbiz.
Once such writer/producer pair is Monica Breen and Alison Schapker, who have worked on all three of Abrams’ fore mentioned small screen hits. According to Deadline, they’ve just been re-hired by WBTV to continue working on Fringe, but they are also rewriting a top-secret feature for Abrams. The working title for the mysterious movie is Zanbato, and it is said to focus on “swashbuckling robots with swords” with a deep rooting in Japanese history. If that isn’t enough to get you excited, then you probably should check your pulse.
The project is set up at Paramount, where Abrams has a lucrative deal that has resulted in hits like Cloverfield, Star Trek and this June’s sure-to-be-a-smash Super 8. Breen and Schapker are also developing more original material with their master; one such project is the “heightened reality” crime series Pulp, which may now actually move forward as a graphic novel/comic book series at DC Comics (but as the publishing giant is owned by Time Warner, like WBTV where Abrams has his TV deal, you can expect it to go to series if it is as good as it sounds). In my eyes, more J.J. means better television and film, so I hope he can continue with the break-neck pace of production in which he’s currently involved.