J.J. Abrams and Chris Rock talk films, comedy and being nice

 17 Apr 2016 - 0:00

J.J. Abrams and Chris Rock talk films, comedy and being nice
 Director J.J. Abrams attends the Tribeca Talks Directors Series: J.J. Abrams With Chris Rock during the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival at John Zuccotti Theater at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center on April 15, 2016 in New York City. Mike Pont/AFP

One way is, play nice, according to a pair of entertainment A-listers, J.J. Abrams and Chris Rock.

Appearing for a Directors Talk session at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, comedian-actor-writer-director Rock was nominally on hand to interview Abrams, the multi-faceted filmmaker behind TV shows and features including "Alias," ''Lost," ''Star Trek" and, most recently, "Star Wars" The Force Awakens."

But both had plenty to say during what unfolded as a lively, free-form conversation.

Asked by Rock what's a deal-breaker when it comes to who he chooses to work with, Abrams replied, "People who aren't kind."

"When I've heard that people are difficult, I've almost always said no. Life is too short."

A bit later, Rock offered this advice to aspiring actors and filmmakers: "You're going to have meetings with pretty much the same people your whole career. So be a gentleman. THEY'RE not going ANYwhere. They move to different companies: 'Oh, no, not YOU again!'"

Yes, making "Star Wars" was a blast, said Abrams. In contrast, producing the recent mini-budget thriller "10 Cloverbfield Lane" was like working in miniature.

"But nothing changes in terms of the fundamentals," he said. Take away the epic scale and computer-graphics wizardry of "Star Wars" and you've got the same essentials of cinema: actors engaged with one another entertainingly.

Actors who Abrams would like to work with, but hasn't: "Meryl Streep, the obvious go-to." Robert De Niro.