All the way up until he officially signed on, J.J. Abrams kept saying he had no plans to direct Star Wars Episode VII. Turns out he was telling the truth—at least until Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
After Disney bought Lucasfilm and ramped up production on new Star Wars projects, Kennedy knew she wanted to hit a grand slam with the director. Abrams has his hand on just about every cool thing out there these days, and he’s already proven he can revitalize a classic brand with his new run of Star Trek films. So he was a shoo-in. The only problem? He really, truly, had no intention of doing it.
Kennedy reached out to Abrams’ people, who told her he was far too busy shepherding Paramount’s new Star Trek film series. Undeterred, she pushed for a meeting with the man himself, and opened with a simple plea: "Please do Star Wars."
Kennedy told The Hollywood Reporter that Abrams was impressed with the decision to hire Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) to write the script, and geeked out at the involvement of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi writer Lawrence Kasdan as a consultant.
The duo spent three hours in a secret meeting on Dec. 19, and though Abrams was intrigued, he still had some concerns about his other obligations and the amount of time involved with a project this size. Disney is desperate to hit a 2015 release date, meaning Abrams will have to get rolling immediately.
So Kennedy kept on the full court press:
“J.J. was just on the ceiling when I walked out the door ... 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."
As we all know, it worked, and Kennedy’s efforts netted her Hollywood’s biggest name. Are you glad Kennedy went to all this trouble, or would you have liked to see someone else in the director’s chair?
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)