Kathleen Kennedy explains how J. J. Abrams boarded ‘Star Wars VII’

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Possibly one of the biggest cinema news of 2013 was the announcement of J. J. Abrams as the new director of Star Wars VII. The news of Abrams in the director’s seat has left fans divided with his previous involvement with a rival franchise Star Trek. This is of zero concern to a studio that is obviously trying to restart a beloved franchise in the safest way imaginable. Who better than Abrams, right? Well, the news is still a shocker because Abrams himself stated months back that he turned the project down.

The Hollywood Reporter recently caught up with the famous producer Kathleen Kennedy and asked the burning question… What changed J. J.’s mind? According to Kennedy, she strongly persuaded the film-maker to take the heavy burden. Here is a brief excerpt from the report by THR.

Kennedy already had called Beth Swofford, Abrams’ CAA agent, and been told Abrams was too deeply engaged in the next Star Trek movie and other obligations at Paramount — not to mention innumerable television projects — to consider the job. Nonetheless, Abrams agreed to meet with Kennedy on Dec. 14 at his Bad Robot offices in Santa Monica. Famously plain-spoken, she summarizes her pitch like this: “Please do Star Wars.”

The report also explains Abrams reactions to her strength in selling the position to him.

Abrams tells THR, “I learned firsthand how incredible and persuasive she is.” Some — but not all — of his reservations were dispelled. “The thing about any pre-existing franchise — I’d sort of done that,” he says. “But when I met with Kathy, it was suddenly very tantalizing.”

The most fascinating portion tells of a secret meeting with all players involved that finally set things in motion for Abrams. The report indicates that after hearing from the entire creative team, J.J. was extremely excited about the project.

Kennedy, Abrams and the writers met secretly for about three hours Dec. 19, and “J.J. was just on the ceiling when I walked out the door,” she recalls. But still, she says, Abrams had “very genuine concerns” about his obligations elsewhere and the impact on his wife and three kids, given the likelihood that the film would not be shot in Los Angeles. And then there was the unique nature of the franchise. “If there was any pause on J.J.’s part, it was the same pause everybody has — including myself — stepping into this,” she says. “Which is, it’s daunting.”

I would definitely give my left arm to see a video of this meeting between Abrams and company. My skepticism remains on the decision for Abrams to direct the new Star Wars. However, knowing how Disney makes decisions, it is not surprising to me at all that they fought for him. With J. J., it is almost guaranteed to be a good film. He is without a doubt a “safe” choice. My only hope is that Abrams can somehow separate his style when stepping in, and give it a different  signature than the one he placed on Star Trek. I would hate having both franchises have the same style and tone. That being said, the future still appears bright for Star Wars VII.

Do you agree with Kathleen Kennedy’s relentless push for J.J. to direct Star Wars VII?

 

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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About the Author

John "D-Rock" Dotson
is a film critic and film-maker from Dallas, Texas. He attended Midwestern State University where he received a Bachelor's in Business Administration in the field of Marketing. He's a huge lover of all things cinema... except The Last Airbender. Follow him on Twitter @DRockDot
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