When Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm asked JJ Abrams to direct the new Star Wars film, he turned it down. "I didn't want to be the guy who does sequels," he said. Star Wars: The Force Awakens took an estimated $57m (£38m) from cinemas across America and Canada, easily beating the $43.5m (£29m) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 set four years ago.
Abrams' wife Katie McGrath once worked in PR for Ted Kennedy. She persuaded him to do the film saying, "If you want to do this and you don't, you're going to regret this."
Abrams' mother Carol, a TV producer was a strong influence on the young film director. She died in 2012 of brain cancer.
One of Abrams' favourite films is An American Werewolf in London.
Abrams sold his first script, Filofax, which was made by Disney. It was released in the US under the title Taking Care of Business in 1990, a comedy film starring James Belushi and Charles Grodin.
The film director says he was not impressed by Star Trek's original TV incarnations. "I was never really a fan of Star Trek, but my first reaction was, 'I bet there is a version of Star Trek that could be really fun,' and 'When am I ever going to get a chance to do a space adventure?'" he said in a Sunday Times interview.
James Bond actor Daniel Craig was rumoured to have appeared as a stormtrooper in Star Wars VII. Abrams denied this was the case, saying: "Why would James Bond ever want to play a Storm Trooper? That's the honest answer. If you've seen what this guy's day job is I don't know why he would do it… The claustrophobia and it's very hot in there [the Storm Trooper's outfit]."
Twitter released a series of Star Wars-related emojis and the director has one of his own, with his face appearing when #JJAbrams is included in the tweet.
When Harrison Ford broke his leg during filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Abrams tried to come to his aid – but hurt his own back in the process.
The director filmed key scenes from the latest Star Wars movie on Skellig Michael, an Irish monastic site. "We were just honoured to be allowed to film there. We were as respectful as possible because we knew it was a sacred place."