J.J. Abrams talked about working with John Williams in an interview for WIRED that will be part of the magazine’s next issue. Here’s the full Williams-related excerpt:
“Oh my god! First of all, forget his talent and his achievement. As a person, he’s the guy you want to know more than anyone. He is the sweetest soul I’ve ever met. He’s like this jazzman who became one of the greatest composers of all time. He literally calls you “baby”! Like, “Hey, baby.” He calls me “J.J. Baby.” I waited all my life to meet someone who would call me that!
He works in pencil. You go to his home and listen to him play notes on the piano, and while you’re listening, you extrapolate what it will be like when you hear the melody with an orchestra. It is unforgettable, a truly miraculous thing to behold. He has every one of his scores leather-bound. I was like, “Do you mind if I …?” He goes, “No, go ahead!” So I pulled out the Jaws score, and sure enough, there it is, in pencil on paper: baaaa-bum, baaaa-bum. You’re like, “Well, that’s what he wrote!” It’s as if you’re hanging out with Mozart, who happened to score your favorite movies.
I know everybody knows this, but when you actually think about what he’s composed, it is as important as any work ever done on any of those movies. When you think about Superman and Raiders and Jaws and Close Encounters—which came out the same year as Star Wars—and then the Harry Potter movies? He is just superhuman. It’s unbelievable that he is as brilliant and yet as modest as he is. It’s just an amazing thing to get to know that guy.”