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Abrams on directing 'Star Wars: Episode VII': 'As surreal as it is exciting'

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - J.J. Abrams calls getting assigned to direct the seventh live-action "Star Wars" film "as surreal as it is exciting."

The director-producer-writer spoke with a handful of media outlets on the red carpet before darting into the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday night. Abrams was there to accept the Norman Lear Achievement Award for such television works as "Felicity" (1998-2002), "Alias" (2001-2006), "Lost" (2004-2010), "Fringe" (2008-2013) as well as the current series "Person of Interest" and "Revolution."

Abrams also is proving to be a go-to director of successful new films for long-established franchises, such as "Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible."

Last week, Lucasfilm officially announced Abrams' hiring for "Star Wars: Episode VII," which has a tentative release date of 2015. "Star Wars" creator George Lucas personally endorsed Abrams in a statement: "I've consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He's an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn't be in better hands."

As for Abrams' plans for "Episode VII"?

"You know, obviously, it's so early," he replied. "I can just say what I want to do: I want to do the fans proud. I want to make sure the story is something that touches people. And we're just getting started. I'm very excited."

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