It’s really amazing being able to meet people like Kathleen Kennedy. Kathleen Kennedy is a power house in Hollywood with an amazing resume including the title President of Lucas Films. She was confident and gave very intelligent answers in the interview I had with her recently. Not only that but she also She spent a lot of time planning out how the new movie would work with J. J. Abrams and with George Lucas. And a big decision came earl, they knew from the very beginning that they wanted a strong female presence.
We made that decision 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.
Now about talking with George Lucas….Kathleen wanted to know where it was written what was going to happen next. George was like I didn’t write it down it’s all in my head. So she said there were a LOT of meetings and discussions.
And so realizing that so much of it was in his head meant that there had to be a lot of discussion and that’s what we all started doing right from the beginning……And we created this kind of brain trust where certain people within Lucasfilm who had been there for a long, long time with George and had worked with him day in and day out in the storytelling process or say inside of I.L.M. with creative visuals and production design and artwork and what not. So we started pulling all of those people together and then added into that some new people and tried to get as much out of his head as we possibly could, for as long as we could before he retired.
Of course J. J. Abrams was part of the conversation. He is the director after all. I love that he was chosen for this role and that he agreed to do it. He’s such a creative person. Kathleen described J. J. as being one of those directors that has a child like innocence, a sense of humor and exuberance. She compared him to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
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…….But 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.
Another thing that I really liked about Kathleen Kennedy is that she strongly supports The Force for Change. I’m really into supporting our community and strongly feel that those who are able to should help their communities and make a difference.
That was really important to us when we started out the process of making the movie. And I might add for J.J. and Bad Robot, Disney, all of us sat down and said, “Okay, we’re, we’re lucky enough to be involved in a franchise that’s gonna generate tremendous goodwill. What can we do to give back as a part of this phenomenon?” So we sat down very early to start to talk about where that might go.
The idea for calling it Force For Change, I think, was a pretty brilliant one. It came about very early. We’ve spent a bit of time kind of getting our head around what that means and how broad it can be. I sat down with Carol Stern at Unicef. She is brilliant. And it was funny, you know, how you sit down with somebody and you don’t know why you click right away?
And with Carol she and I just clicked immediately in recognizing that what they were doing with their initiative called Kid Power fit perfectly with some of the objectives that Disney and Lucasfilm had with some of the philanthropies that we were starting to look at. So that was a partnership that we formed almost immediately. And by the time we went to celebration, that’s when we announced it. And then we started the Amaze programs.
And now under the umbrella of Force For Change we’ve gone to each of the cast members. We’ve let them identify what it is they’d like to pull under the umbrella of Force For Change. And it really does feel like it’s an initiative that can take on a lot of flexibility in how we acknowledge what the philanthropy is that we’re looking at. But it’s primarily looking at how do you recognize empowering people around the world who are making a contribution? And that gives us a lot of empowerment ourselves.
Being that she’s such a strong women with an amazing career, I always like to know how people like that maintain a work life balance. She gave much credit to her husband.
Well, as you can imagine I get asked this all the time, and what I end up saying is that you just instinctually know how to make those choices. At least that’s what I’ve ended up doing. In the heat of the moment, I weigh what is the right thing to do. Obviously nine and a half out of the ten times it’s the family.
And you figure out what that means and then you try to find a way to have a discussion about it. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that I have an amazing husband and we’ve both done the same thing. And for a long time, before we had kids, we worked together. Then when we had kids we started leap-frogging and it was this, sort of, you know, unspoken agreement that depending on how things were shaping up we would shift responsibilities.
And for the most part we just supported one another in that as often as we could, and then we’d make it work. And some things you just sacrifice as a consequence. But I think that that’s pretty normal in the course of trying to weigh how to handle a career in general and kids just make it more complicated. But you’re still doing the same thing.
What I’m getting at, is there’s no cookie cutter approach to here’s what you do to balance career and family. I think it’s so much the individual and where you’re values are and what’s important to you and, and the stage your kids are at. You know, I always talk to moms who have babies and they’re like, “Oh, if I could just get past the infant stage.” I’m like, “Oh!”
Now for the part everyone wants to know…..WHAT DID SHE SAY ABOUT THE FORCE AWAKENS……
Without ruining the movie, I’m gonna 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.
You can make your own opinion about Rey when you see Star Wars in theaters this weekend.