[Movies] Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinsberg Discuss Working on the New Star Wars Films
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 02.08.2013
Writers discuss the franchise, the new films and more...
IGN caught up with Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinsberg and spoke with them about their work on the upcoming Star Wars films. Check out the highlights:
On balancing his more personal films with big genre pieces: "I liked all those kinds of movies. I was very fortunate. I was able to come in and sell two originals. They were sort of people stories. Then I got hired to do Raiders, and that put me in another world. As soon as I had written Raiders and Empire, I was able to direct, and I did Body Heat and The Big Chill. I was really fortunate. One world opened up another and that world opened up another."
On his reaction to being asked to be involved in the new films: "I was pleased that there would be new ones, that there was a chance to capture some of the spirit of the original trilogy that I'd worked on. I thought there's an audience out there -- my grandchildren, lots of original Star Wars people -- and there always will be. It's only good that we try to do some more great ones."
On how long he's been working on this: "No, this started last fall. It actually first started with conversation I had with (Kathleen Kennedy) and George [Lucas]."
On the new films: "They're going to be fun. J.J. (Abrams)'s a great director for the first sequel. Perfect. We're very happy to have him. The writers I've been working with -- Michael Arndt, who's going to write the sequel, and Simon Kinberg, who has, like me, been sort of consulting -- they're great. I've never really collaborated a lot, and I've never been a room with a bunch of writers thinking, "Well, what should this thing be?" It's fun. It's really fun. And J.J.'s a writer. Yeah, lovely guy. I'd met him but didn't know him. But now I'm totally enamored by him. He's really funny and so enthusiastic."
On the chance to be rediscovered by a new generation of filmgoers: "It's always great when you get to do what you love and people get to see it. If they know your name, that's fine, and if they don't, that's fine. It's really just a privilege to do this work."
On what Lawrence Kasdan's work has meant to him: "Raiders and The Empire Strikes Back were the two reasons I wanted to get into movies when I was a kid. I didn't know that you could write movies, I didn't know what the process was of making movies. I just knew I wanted to make movies like that. Then I found out he wrote Jedi, The Big Chill and ten other classic movies. He's been an idol of mine from when I was a kid, through high school, through film school. I studied Raiders and Empire more than any other movies. I've watched each of them probably one hundred-plus times. He's a lovely guy, and I've gotten to know him a bit. He's as good a guy as he is a writer, which doesn't happen all the time with your idols."
On working with Kasdan now: "It's an amazingly surreal thing, to imagine Larry as a colleague, because he has been my idol my whole life. It's like, if you grew up wanting to play basketball, and suddenly you're on the team with Michael Jordan. Larry's mind for screenwriting is sharper than anybody's I've met. He's the guy that wrote Raiders and Jedi and Body Heat and The Big Chill and Silverado -- he just has an innate understanding of storytelling, an essential understanding, unlike anything I've seen. ... It's so very surreal for me to spend time with Larry and for Larry to know my name. Every time he says my name, I'm a little surprised and it feels like a thrill. So yeah, I've asked him questions, and he is great at telling stories about the process of making those movies that were the classics of our time and the bedrocks for us growing up."
On responsibility to fans for the genre films he's done: "I honestly try to approach all of these movies -- whether it's a title like X-Men or Sherlock Holmes or Star Wars -- as a fan. I try to block out the anxiety I feel if I worry too much about the responsibility, and I just try to focus on the fun of it and the reasons why I grew up reading X-Men comics and watching Star Wars movies and reading Sherlock Holmes stories, that first time I read or watched any of those things and why they were so magical to me. I try to honor that and return to that as I would a fan. That's the way I feel. When I wake up in the morning and I'm working on an X-Men movie, it's insane for me every day because I'm so excited to get to work."
On the rumors that have sprung up about the new Star Wars films: "I understand the interest in the movies, because I would be interested and I am interested as a pure fan. I've never seen a level of attention for a movie that isn't in theaters yet as I have for Star Wars movies, and I understand why, because they are arguably the greatest stories and the biggest cultural benchmark of our time. They're, for our generation, the movies that made many of us want to get into movies in the first place. So there is a level of passion and emotion connected to Star Wars that may be greater than other franchises. I try to not worry about speculation about the movies. I just think it's great that there's excitement about the movies. I've worked on movies where you have to generate excitement. This is one where the excitement is built in."
On how he got involved with the new films: "I got lucky. I met with Kathleen Kennedy, and it started from there."
On what he can say about working with established or new characters for his standalone Star Wars film: "This is what I would say: as a fan, I wouldn't want to know too much. I know that's impossible because it's not the '70s or '80s anymore, but part of what was so exciting about A New Hope for me was I was entering into a universe I didn't know. Even in Empire, I was surprised by a twist I never would have seen coming. But it's different nowadays. I understand the excitement, and I'm happy that people are interested, obviously. But I'd rather people have something left to discover when they go in."