PRIMER

PRIMER: Lawrence Kasdan

April 3rd, 2012, byCarla Amurao

Photo courtesy: Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

Airdate | Friday, April 6, 2012

Hometown | Miami, FL

Parents | Sylvia Landau and Clarence Kasdan

Notable Accomplishments | Contribution to pop culture by writing Star Wars installments The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He also wrote, directed and executive-produced 1983’s The Big Chill.

Why He’s Buzzing | After nearly a decade-long hiatus from the movie business, Kasdan is making a comeback with Darling Companion. Starring Diane Keaton and one of his favorite stars, Kevin Kline, the film is based on Kasdan’s experience of adopting a dog with his wife and losing the dog while they were away at a wedding. Kasdan says Darling Companion was inspired not by the search for their dog, but the emotions they underwent and how people can come to care for animals in an intense way. (They found their dog, by the way.)

Lawrence Kasdan Trivia

  • His first screenplay was The Bodyguard. For a time, the film was categorized as one of the “best un-made films in Hollywood” due to being in the development phase for an extended period of time. The screenplay was originally intended for Steve McQueen and Diana Ross to co-star. Ultimately starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston, it was the second-highest grossing film worldwide in 1992. The film celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
  • The Bodyguard was rejected 37 times before it was purchased, giving Kasdan his big break in Hollywood.
  • One of his biggest contributions to pop culture and Star Wars fandom is the famously misquoted line spoken by Darth Vader, “Luke, I am your father.” The real line is, “No, I am your father.” (See clip below.)
  • His brother, Mark, is also a writer-producer. He co-wrote and produced Silverado, co-wrote Criminal Law and produced Dreamcatcher.
  • Meg Kasdan, Lawrence’s wife, co-wrote and co-produced Grand Canyon and Dreamcatcher.
  • Kasdan’s original career route was to become an English teacher. He earned a Master’s in education from the University of Michigan.
  • A Clio Award recipient, he worked as a copywriter for an advertising agency. He arguably did not enjoy that profession.
  • To date, he has never recorded or contributed audio commentary to his work on DVD, according to his IMDB profile.
  • According to the same profile, his work reflects his respect for Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. Kasdan’s The Bodyguard is reportedly named after Kurosawa’s 1961 film, Yojimbo (“yojimbo” loosely means “bodyguard” or “security person”). Scenes from Yojimbo are also seen in The Bodyguard. Furthermore, Star Wars characters that brought comic relief, R2-D2 and C-3P0, were based on two farmers, Tahei and Matashichi, from Kurosawa’s 1958 film, The Hidden Fortress.

Selection of projects

1980 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Writer
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark, Writer
1981 Body Heat, Writer and director
1981 Continental Divide, Writer
1983 Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Writer
1983 The Big Chill, Writer, director and executive producer
1985 Silverado, Writer, director and producer
1988 The Accidental Tourist, Writer, director and producer
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
2007 In the Land of Women, Executive producer
2012 Darling Companion, Writer, director and executive producer

(Clip) Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
Watch one of the most popular, misquoted movie lines of the Star Wars franchise (at approximately 1:42).

Last modified: May 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm