A Conversation With Lawrence Kasdan
I attended the Austin Film Festival and got to meet a few very interesting people. I’ll post up a few experiences I had here and there, but one that’s standing out in my mind tonight is meeting Lawrence Kasdan. Responsible for a good chunk of our childhoods, Mr. Kasdan wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strike Back.
At an intimate Q&A session, Kasdan told us the story with how he got the job writing Empire, which I wanted to share.
So, Kasdan had just written the first draft of Raiders of the Lost Ark (his first writing job, by the way) and he hands it to George Lucas in his office. Lucas plops it on his desk, turns to Kasdan and goes, “Let’s go get some lunch.”
At lunch, Lucas mentions that the first writer of the Star Wars sequel (still called Star Wars 2 at this point) recently died from cancer after completing a draft of the script. Lucas, though, wasn’t happy with her work.
“So, how would you like to write the sequel to Star Wars?” Lucas asked.
Kasdan just looked at him. The man across from him just asked him to write the sequel to the most successful film of all time.
“But you haven’t even read Raiders yet. What if it sucks?”
Lucas shrugged, “Oh, well, I’m reading it tonight. And if it does I’ll take the offer back in the morning.”
The next day, Kasdan walked into Lucas’ office. “Larry, you nailed it,” says Lucas, “I’d like you to go ahead with what we discussed. Before you do, I need to tell you something.”
Kasdan shrugged, “Alright.”
“Darth Vader is Luke’s father.”
Kasdan just stood there, looking at Lucas, “… no shit?”