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'Star Wars' producer Kathleen Kennedy on J.J. Abrams, release date and more
When it was announced last week that Disney had selected J.J. Abrams to helm the highly-anticipated "Star Wars: Episode VII," it was difficult to ignore the fact that Abrams had previously said he turned down the chance.
In a candid interview, "Star Wars" producer Kathleen Kennedy revealed how she drew Abrams from "Star Trek" to "Star Wars," while also addressing the film's widely reported release date.
Kennedy told The Hollywood Reporter that Abrams initially had reservations about making the film, due to its heavy legacy and the fact that it will likely mean spending time away from his family. However, a secret three hour meeting on December 19 brought him around to the idea.
She explained that her pitch to him was simple: "Please do 'Star Wars.'" She also brought along contracted writer Michael Arndt ("Little Miss Sunshine") and consultant Lawrence Kasdan (who wrote "Empire Strikes Back") to the meeting.
Abrams "was flipping out when he found out that Michael and Larry were on the movie already," says Kennedy.
The quartet "spent a lot of time talking about how meaningful 'Star Wars' is and the depth of the mythology that George [Lucas] has created and how we carry that into the next chapter," Kennedy recalled, adding, "J.J. was just on the ceiling when I walked out the door." 24 hours of "furious negotiation" followed, and the deal was finally sealed January 25.
"I learned firsthand how incredible and persuasive she is," Abrams told THR. "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."
Kennedy also added that while Disney CEO Bob Iger initially announced a 2015 release date for "Episode VII," she and Abrams are currently less concerned about making that date and more focused on the film itself. "Our goal is to move as quickly as we can," Kennedy revealed, "and we’ll see what happens. The timetable we care about is getting the story.’”
Meanwhile, Deadline reports that with Disney focusing on new "Star Wars" adventures, the 3D re-releases of the previous films will be scrapped.
Lucasfilm and Fox announced in 2010 that all 6 films previous films would be converted to 3D. However, the 3D upgrade of "The Phantom Menace" disappointed at the box office last year, earning an unexpectedly low $43 million in the U.S.
Fans of the existing "Star Wars" films will just have to settle for 2D for now.