Lawrence Kasdan

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Lawrence Kasdan
Born Lawrence Edward Kasdan
(1949-01-14) January 14, 1949 (age 65)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Alma mater University of Michigan
Occupation Director, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1980–present
Spouse(s) Meg Goldman Kasdan (1971–present)

Lawrence Edward Kasdan (born January 14, 1949) is an American film producer, director, and screenwriter. He is best known as the co-writer of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Kasdan has been confirmed to be co-writer for the upcoming third trilogy of Star Wars.[1]

He has been nominated for four Oscars: twice for Best Original Screenplay for The Big Chill and Grand Canyon and once for both Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture for The Accidental Tourist. He is the father of directors Jake Kasdan and Jon Kasdan, and the father-in-law of musician Inara George.

Early life[edit]

Kasdan was born in Miami, Florida, the son of Sylvia Sarah (née Landau), an employment counselor, and Clarence Norman Kasdan, who managed retail electronics stores.[2] His brother is the writer/producer Mark Kasdan. He was raised in Wheeling, West Virginia,[3] where he graduated from Triadelphia High School in 1966. His family is Jewish.[4]

He graduated from the University of Michigan with an MA in Education, originally planning on a career as an English teacher. He won a Hopwood Award for writing during the time of his studies.[5] He was a student of Professor Kenneth Thorpe Rowe.

Career[edit]

Upon graduation, Kasdan was unable to find a teaching position, so he became an advertising copywriter, a profession he did not enjoy, but remained in for five years (even picking up a Clio Award along the way), first in Detroit and later in Los Angeles where he tried to interest Hollywood in his screenplays.

Kasdan's introduction into the film business came in the mid-1970s when after being rejected 67 times,[6] his script for The Bodyguard was sold to Warner Bros. as a vehicle for Diana Ross and Steve McQueen. The script became stuck in "development hell" and became one of several scripts successively called "the best un-made film in Hollywood"; it was eventually produced as a 1992 film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.

After he sold his screenplay Continental Divide to Steven Spielberg, George Lucas commissioned Kasdan in 1979 to complete the screenplay for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back after the death of Leigh Brackett. Lucas then commissioned Kasdan to help him write the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark and the last installment of the Star Wars trilogy, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Kasdan made his directing debut in 1981 with Body Heat, which he also wrote.

Kasdan is known for both writing and directing his films, which have ranged from Westerns and romantic comedies to thought-provoking dramas. He has received four Academy Award nominations, for screenplays to The Big Chill, Grand Canyon, and The Accidental Tourist, for which he also earned a nomination for Best Picture. Grand Canyon won the Golden Bear at the 42nd Berlin International Film Festival.[7]

He has cast Kevin Kline in six of his films. From 1994 to 2003, he did a set of films that, in contrast to the hits he did in the 1980s, failed to break the bank in receipts; among these films were Wyatt Earp and Dreamcatcher, the latter based on the Stephen King best seller. 1995's French Kiss did gross $100 million.

He made cameo appearances as the lawyer of River Phoenix's character in I Love You To Death and in James L. Brooks' comedy As Good As It Gets as the fed-up psychiatrist of Jack Nicholson's novelist. In 2001 Kasdan was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival's Distinguished Screenwriter Award. Kasdan directed the 2012 dramedy Darling Companion, starring Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline. Kasdan is also directing the Danielle Steel's book Hotel Vendome which is slated for a 2014 release.

In October 2013, it was announced that JJ Abrams had taken over screenwriting duties for Star Wars Episode VII, working alongside Kasdan following the departure of Michael Arndt.[8]

In 2006, Kasdan received the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement from the Writers Guild of America.

Recurring cast members[edit]

Actor Body Heat
(1981)
The Big Chill
(1983)
Silverado
(1985)
The Accidental Tourist
(1988)
I Love You to Death
(1990)
Grand Canyon
(1991)
Wyatt Earp
(1994)
French Kiss
(1995)
Mumford
(1999)
Dreamcatcher
(2003)
Darling Companion
(2012)
Kevin Costner NoN1 NoN NoN
Ted Danson NoN NoN
Jeff Fahey NoN NoN
James Gammon NoN NoN NoN
Danny Glover NoN NoN
Jeff Goldblum NoN NoN
William Hurt NoN NoN NoN NoN
Richard Jenkins NoN NoN
Kevin Kline NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN NoN
Jason Lee NoN NoN
Mary McDonnell NoN NoN
Elisabeth Moss NoN NoN
Bill Pullman NoN NoN
Tom Sizemore NoN NoN
Kathleen Turner NoN NoN
JoBeth Williams NoN NoN
Alfre Woodard NoN NoN

1Costner's scenes were deleted from the final film.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Notes
1980 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back writer
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark writer
Body Heat writer, director
Continental Divide writer
1983 Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi writer
The Big Chill writer, director, and executive producer
1985 Silverado writer, director, and producer
1988 The Accidental Tourist writer, director, and producer
1990 I Love You to Death director
1991 Grand Canyon writer, director, and producer
1992 The Bodyguard writer and producer
1994 Wyatt Earp writer, director, and producer
1995 French Kiss director
1999 Mumford writer, director, and producer
2003 Dreamcatcher writer, director, and producer
2012 Darling Companion writer, director, and producer
2014 Hotel Vendome writer, director, and producer
2015 Star Wars Episode VII writer
TBA Star Wars Episode VIII producer
TBA Untitled Star Wars spinoff writer and producer
TBA Star Wars Episode IX writer and producer

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] (Businessweek, 2013-03-07)
  2. ^ http://www.filmreference.com/film/29/Lawrence-Kasdan.html
  3. ^ "Lawrence Kasdan Trivia". Lawrence Kasdan. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ "Hopwood Program". University of Michigan. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  6. ^ CHILLIN' BIG WITH LAWRENCE KASDAN By Alex Simon September 2001 issue of Venice Magazine
  7. ^ "Berlinale: 1992 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  8. ^ "JJ Abrams to script as well as direct". Guardian UK. 25 August 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 

External links[edit]