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Star Wars: The Force Awakens' J.J. Abrams and Stephen King saw a scary movie, fell in love

Film director J.J. Abrams speaking onstage.
J.J. Abrams, spinning an adorable yarn.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

"When J.J. Abrams fell in love with Stephen King" is the romantic comedy nerds didn't know they wanted, until it was presented on a silver platter at this winter's Television Critics Association press tour.

Abrams took a break from the relentless Star Wars: The Force Awakens publicity machine to promote the upcoming miniseries 11.22.63. Abrams produced the adaptation of Stephen King's novel about a time-traveling high school teacher (James Franco) who tries to stop the John F. Kennedy assassination. The series, which also stars Chris Cooper and Josh Duhamel, debuts February 15 on Hulu.

When asked how he got along with King, Abrams had nothing but praise, pointing out that junior high J.J. was an enormous fan of King's novels. (His favorites, for the record, are the short story collection Night Shift and The Dead Zone.)

But Abrams also got to know King personally when the horror author proved to be a huge fan of Lost, the classic desert island series he co-created. Abrams, Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof, and executive producer Carlton Cuse got to know King more while they were working on Lost, and King invited them to Maine to talk about the show for an Entertainment Weekly column. (King wrote pieces for the magazine for several years.)

That fateful evening, the three accidentally went on such a perfect first date with King that you almost couldn't script it: They went and saw a horror movie with him.

"I'm like, 'Do I want to see a horror movie with Stephen King?!'" Abrams sputtered, faux-indignant. "So we went to this family-style restaurant together, and then we went to see The Descent. ... Every time someone died horribly on screen, he would cheer, and I just fell in love with him."

There aren't many people who could make bonding over bloody, gruesome deaths sound like a heartwarming activity, but somehow it's no surprise that Abrams is one of them.

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