Star Wars: The Force Awakens
L to R: Director/Producer/Screenwriter J.J. Abrams and Producer Kathleen Kennedy
Ph: David James
Do you know who Kathleen Kennedy is? Sometimes, some of the producers and executives producing the films are not as well known as the actors and actresses. It’s unfortunate as these are the “brains” behind the scenes a lot of the time. Kathleen Kennedy co-founded Amblin Entertainment with Stephen Speilberg and Frank Marshall back in 1981 and has an unbelievable resume of films that she has played a major part in producing. She is now the President of Lucasfilms and of course worked on Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
She is easily one of the top female powerhouses in Hollywood and we had the honor of interviewing her on my recent press trip with Disney and Lucasfilms.
One of the first questions that Kathleen was asked about was if the decision to have a female lead (Rey, played by Daisy Ridley) had come early on.
Yeah. It was right from the beginning. It’s something that J.J. and I started talking about day one. It was really important to us. We both have daughters, so very important.
Later in the interview we discussed Rey’s character a bit more. Kathleen was asked about what takeaway she could give us for girls?
I mean, without ruining the movie, I’m going to tell you that your daughters are going to be so excited. This character of Rey is, I think, one of the most wonderful heroines to come along in movie history. I mean, she is great. So I think they’re gonna be very happy. They’re gonna have their own Luke Skywalker now. Let’s put it that way.
I LOVE that!!! The girls are going to have their own Luke Skywalker now.
We asked her what she felt made J.J. Abrams the perfect director for this film…
You know, I think there’s very few directors that have the bandwidth, if you will, that somebody like J.J. has. I think Steven’s an example. George is an example. There are certain filmmakers where that’s just who they are as a person, the exuberance, the childlike quality, the sense of humor. That just have the understanding of what it is to just be delighted by entertaining stories and movies.
I think J.J.’s very definitely one of those filmmakers. He just accesses every beat of the storytelling process in a way that you feel that he’s always connected to the audience, whether they’re seven or 700. He just has that unique ability. He made it such a fun experience. He’s meticulous about story. He’s meticulous about the technical aspect of making the movie.
He makes it a totally inclusive, really fun experience on the set. And I remember all the years I worked with Steven, he used to always say that that kind of energy in the creative process gets translated to the screen. And I think that that’s very much what J.J. does as well.
Quite high praise! You will love reading our interview with J.J. Abrams himself soon too (coming Friday!).
We asked her what HER Star Wars story was, how did it start for her.
I was actually in film school when I saw Star Wars for the first time. So as you can imagine, it was just jaw-dropping, mind-blowing. Everybody in film school was talking about it. You realize that there was so much possible beyond anything you could imagine once, once we all saw that movie. It was sort of perfectly timed.
Unbelievably, Kathleen has another BIG project on the burner right now too! The BFG. Read what she had to say about it and you can also see the trailer below!
The BFG is something that I had spent years off and on developing. Many many years and I must say many many conversations with Steven who I kept saying “you know, this is really right for you.” Then, of course, I’d say within a month after I decided to take over LucasFilm, he called me up and goes “you know I read the script again and I really want to make the movie.” I was ready to go through the phone and strangle him. But, not only having Steven Spielberg involved in this, but the fact that technology has caught up with making the film is really quite spectacular. What he’s doing with this is gonna be mind blowing and very emotional. Sadly, we had Melissa Mathison pass away recently. She wrote the script and she did ET. I think people are going to be incredibly pleased with how this movie turns out.
Looks great right?!
That said… TOMORROW night I will be seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens!! Will you?! Get those tickets! In theaters everywhere Dec 18 (with showing starting tomorrow (12/17) night…)
(Photo Credit to Mom Start)