Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy convinced J.J. Abrams to direct the upcoming seventh Star Wars film by simply asking him to “please do Star Wars.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Kennedy opened up about the negotiations between herself and Abrams which took place in December 2012, and revealed that the process went very smoothly indeed.
Kennedy delivered her simple pitch to Abrams on Friday 14 December at the latter’s offices in Santa Monica, and also told the director that Oscar-winning writer Michael Arndt and Lawrence Kasdan, who scripted The Empire Strikes Back, were both committed to the project.
Abrams “was flipping out when he found out that Michael and Larry were on the movie already,” said Kennedy.
For his part, Abrams came away from the meeting feeling fired up about the project. He told THR: “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, Abrams and the writers then got together again on Wednesday 19 December for another meeting, after which Kennedy recalled: “J.J. was just on the ceiling when I walked out the door.”
She also played down the director’s publicly-voiced misgivings about taking the Star Wars job, saying: “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.”
Abrams was confirmed as the diretor of Star Wars: Episode VII on Saturday 26 January, and was described by the franchise’s creator George Lucas as the “ideal choice”.
Star Wars: Episode VII is expected to be released in 2015, but Abrams’ next film Star Trek Into Darkness will beam into UK cinemas on Friday 17 May.