JJ Abrams is obsessed with mystery, and often hides a lot of easter eggs in his films and tv shows. In the past we’ve chronicled easter eggs in the Pixar movies Toy Story 3, WALL-E, and Up, as well as some other films. So it should come as no surprise that his latest movie, Super 8, is also packed with fun hidden bits.
For example: Did you know that Leonard Nimoy appars in the movie? How about that another one of JJ’s Star Trek stars plays “the monster”? Did you spot the references to Lost, Alias and The Twilight Zone? After the jump I’ve compiled 16 hidden easter eggs which can be found in the movie.
Be warned: for those of you who havent seen the film yet, the following article may contain spoilers.
From the start, we’ve known that JJ Abrams’ Super 8 was heavily inspired by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin-era films. I didn’t want to try to compile a listing of the many possible homages, as some of them could be very subjective and not intentional by the filmmaker. I thought it would be better to focus on the hidden cameos, inside jokes, hidden names and so on.
Bruce Greenwood, who appeared in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek as Pike, also has a secret cameo in the movie. In the credits Greenwood is credited as “Cooper”, but I dare you to spot the actor in the film — because you can’t! Cooper is the nickname for the alien monster at the center of the movie. While the creature was designed by Neville Page, who was responsible for the Cloverfield monster, and the creatures in Abrams’ Star Trek, the movements are actually performance captured by Greenwood. The actor told The Montreal Gazette:
“It was a very weird thing to offer up all this big emotion while . . . the rest of the people in the room are picking away at the craft services table,” he says. “And you never really how it will turn out because it’s all left in the hands of the artists and animators who are putting your work together.” … “I was only on set for about 10 days, but I was trying to make some different decisions. I asked director that this guy was about . . . what he does, and he said, ‘He smells people.’” Greenwood pauses for a moment. “So there were scenes where I really did do a lot of sniffing. I spent a lot of time breathing people in, and flaring my nostrils in people’s direction. It was fun,” he says. “There’s some primordial ooze to the whole thing,” he says, cryptically. “And I like that. I think it worked out well for the horror. It felt creepy.”
Downtown there is a store called “James Locke Jeweler”, a reference to Terry O’Quinn‘s character John Locke on the JJ produced television series Lost.
Another possible Lost reference is the name of the main character’s father: Jack Lamb is very simular to Lost’s lead character Jack Shephard. Lamb, Shephard?
Greg Grunberg, best known for his role as Matt Parkman on Heroes, has been friends with Abrams since kindergarten. Grunberg starred in all of the young filmmaker’s home movies growing up, and JJ has tried to include Grunberg in every one of his movies and tv shows as a “lucky charm”. Grunberg co-starred in Felicity as Sean Blumberg, co-starred in Alias as Eric Weiss, played the plane’s pilot, the smoke monster’s first victim, in Lost, had a small role as “Kevin” in Abrams’ feature debut Mission: Impossible III. Grunberg was too busy on the set of Heroes to appear in Star Trek, but he can be heard as the voice of James T Kirk’s Stepdad on the cellphone call in the early car sequence.
Grunberg revealed to the Associated Press that people will have to “really, really search to find me” as he portrays a sitcom actor in the movie. You can hear Greg say something like “I always wear shirts with lipstick on the collar!”, which comes from a television set above as Joe first enters the alien creatures den. You can see the tv in the background, but I’m not sure if you can see Greg.
In the film, the military begins “Operation Walking Distance”, which is a reference to JJ Abrams’ favorite Twilight Zone episode “Walking Distance”. Time Magazine quotes JJ as saying:
‘Walking Distance’ is maybe the show’s best episode. It’s about a businessman. He’s almost 40, he’s got a suit, and he hates his life. He’s miserable. The stress of work is just getting him down. And his car breaks down in the middle-of-nowhere countryside. He goes to the gas station to get his car fixed and he realizes that he grew up very close to where they are. It’s walking distance. So he says, ‘I’m just going to take a walk back to the town I grew up in.’ He gets there and he soon realizes he’s walked back not just to where he grew up, but when he grew up. He’s back in the time when he was a kid. And it’s just this beautiful story of a guy who, as an adult, wants to go back to his young self, and tell himself to be aware of what it is to be alive, to be young, and to enjoy that. And of course, you can never go back and tell yourself that. It’s a beautiful demonstration of the burden of adulthood, told in The Twilight Zone, which everyone thinks is a scary show, but it’s actually a beautiful show. The Twilight Zone at its best is better than anything else I’ve ever seen on television.”
Abrams’ longtime composer Michael Giacchino also makes an appearance in the film. My friend Jordan Raup informs me that Giacchino appears as Deputy Crawford, the police officer that Chandler makes fun of for not knowing how the radio works.
We have so many easter egg photos that we couldn’t fit them on just one page….