New Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy has revealed how she got JJ Abrams to agree to direct the first of the forthcoming 'Star Wars' films.
In an in-depth profile of the negotiations in the Hollywood Reporter, it appears that her initial pitch to the 'Super 8' director was perhaps simpler than one might expect.
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Kennedy, who is known for her plain-speaking and vast experience in Hollywood, having produced over 60 films and presiding over 120 Oscar nominations, said to Abrams: “Please do 'Star Wars'.”
According to THR, as further persuasion Kennedy then revealed that Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return of the Jedi', was on board as a consultant, along with Oscar-winning writer Michael Arndt.
Kennedy explains that Abrams 'was flipping out when he found out that Michael and Larry were on the movie already', and that after a secret meeting between her, Abrams and the writers just before Christmas, 'JJ was just on the ceiling when I walked out the door'.
Getting past the other obstacles of his obligations to the 'Star Trek' and 'Mission: Impossible' series and that he would have to spend time away from his family with the film unlikely to be shot in Los Angeles, were the other issues barring the way for Abrams.
But Kennedy said: “We spent a lot of time talking about how meaningful 'Star Wars' is and the depth of the mythology that George has created and how we carry that into the next chapter.”
"I learned first-hand how incredible and persuasive she is," added Abrams. "The thing about any pre-existing franchise -I'd sort of done that. But when I met with Kathy, it was suddenly very tantalising."
He then signed the deal, after much negotiation – rumoured to be include pushing the release date back from 2015 – on January 25, with the news quickly breaking online.
“Our goal is to move as quickly as we can, and we'll see what happens” added Kennedy. “The timetable we care about is getting the story.”
Kennedy, who is now dubbed 'one of the most powerful figures in entertainment', has produced a wealth of hits, from 'E.T.' and 'Jurassic Park' to 'Munich' and recently 'Lincoln'.