While we know J.J. Abrams took some convincing to come on board as director for Star Wars: The Force Awakens – he wanted to enjoy the movie as a fan and didn’t want to take on the job, having rebooted other blockbuster movie franchises before – it was his fellow director Steven Spielberg who gave him the push needed to accept the job.
That’s what Spielberg revealed in a recent, lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The legendary director said he was the one who recommended the Star Trek helmer for the gig to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.
“I brought J.J.'s name up. I thought J.J. would be the best person to direct Episode 7 and I called J.J. and said 'Would you do it if it was offered to you?' He said, 'I would but my wife won't let me 'cause she doesn't want me to restart any more franchises.' But I went to Kathy and asked if I could get J.J. to say yes to this would you consider it? Kathy said 'Are you kidding? Of course I would. But why would J.J. do Star Wars; he's already done Mission Impossible and Star Trek.' So I take Katie Abrams and J.J. to dinner that night to Giorgio with my wife, Kate, and right in front of Katie Abrams I popped the question. I said to Katie, 'I think there's a chance that J.J. could direct Star Wars. What do you think of that?' And Katie turned to J.J. and said, 'That would be amazing. Really?' And I went outside the restaurant, picked up my phone, called Kathy and said, "When can we meet with J.J.?" And that's how the whole thing began.”
Pretty wily, Mr. Spielberg! As we all know, Abrams did a pretty great job reviving the beloved franchise by directing the seventh installment in the Star Wars saga, with The Force Awakens mostly receiving praises from critics and fans alike. Even though Abrams won’t be back for Star Wars: Episode VIII – the gig having been passed on to Rian Johnson (Looper) – Abrams will continue working his magic on the movies as producer.