Lawrence Kasdan, circa 2003
Lawrence Kasdan is a well known film screenwriter and director.
He originally trained to be a teacher, but when he couldn't get any teaching post, he became an advertising copywriter. He hated the job, but it didn't affect his performance as the Clio Award he won indicates.
Finally moved to Hollywood and finally got into the movie writing business when his script for The Bodyguard
was finally bought after 36 refusals and remained in Development Hell
until 1992 when Whitney Houston
and Kevin Costner
starred in it.
However, he got his big break when he sold his script for Continental Divide
to Steven Spielberg
, which drew the attention of George Lucas
who commissioned him to finish the screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back
and then Return of the Jedi
as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark
. His impact on the films was immense if only it replaced Lucas' clunky dialogue for smoothly believable, even poetic when called for, lines for the actors to speak. Basically if the best lines spoken weren't improvised by the actors
, then it was Kasdan's doing.
Here's a example of Kasdan's talent at work with one of Yoda's most profound lines:
* Lucas's version: “Not material are we. Luminous beings are we, tied together by the Force. Yes. There are two of you… your body and your energy.”
* Kasdan's version: “Luminous beings are we [pinches Luke's skin], not this crude matter.”
Eventually, he moved on to doing his own films like The Big Chill
, Grand Canyon
, and The Accidental Tourist
, which got Academy Award
nominations. He most often works with Kevin Kline
for his films.
Nowadays, his stature as a big part of the talent that made Star Wars
so great has grown so much that just the news of him writing the upcoming Episode VII was a moment of celebration with the fandom.
Films written and/or directed: