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[Movies] Kathleen Kennedy Explains How She Got J.J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars: Episode VII
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 01.30.2013

Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy has revealed to THR how she managed to convince J.J. Abrams to direct Star Wars: Episode VII. If you will remember, Abrams had been asked soon after it was revealed that more films in the iconic franchise would be on the way whether he would be involved and he said that he wanted to focus on original material and enjoy the new Star Wars films asa a fan. Kennedy, who became the new CEO of Lucasfilm after George Lucas stepped down, says that her pitch was pretty simple: "Please do Star Wars."

Kennedy noted to THR that Abrams "was flipping out when he found out that Michael [Arndt] and Larry [Kasdan] were on the movie already." Arndt (Toy Story 3) is writing the script and Kasdan, who wrote Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, is consulting on the film.

For Abrams' part, he said of Kennedy, "I learned firsthand how incredible and persuasive she is...The thing about any pre-existing franchise -- I'd sort of done that. But when I met with Kathy, it was suddenly very tantalizing."

Kennedy adds that she, Abrams, Arndt and Kasdan secretly met for about three hours on December 19th and said, "J.J. was just on the ceiling when I walked out the door...If there was any pause on J.J.'s part, it was the same pause everybody has -- including myself -- stepping into this. Which is, it's daunting."

The final step in wooing Abrams was discussing the franchise itself; Kennedy recalled, "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." The deal was then closed on January 25th.

The film is currently slated for Summer of 2015, though that may be mutable. As Kennedy noted, "Our goal is to move as quickly as we can, and we'll see what happens. The timetable we care about is getting the story."


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