Listening to Kathleen Kennedy talk about the making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens made me feel like I could do anything. She began her career in Hollywood as Steven Spielberg’s assistant and quickly moved up and went on to produce numerous blockbuster movies, just check out her IMDb. She is now the president of LucasFilm.
She is the MOST powerful woman in Hollywood but 9 times out of 10 chooses family first.
Balancing work and family can take a long time to master, but Kathleen Kennedy seems to have found the right balance. Not only is she a Hollywood powerhouse but her husband Frank Marshall is also a film producer and director. He is responsible for films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic World, and currently working on the Jason Bourne sequels.
She explains that there is no cookie cutter approach to “here’s what you do to balance work and family,” but it is more about what works for your family. Before they had children they would work together but then once they had kids they would leap-frog each others projects and would shift responsibilities between each other. For the most part they just supported one another and they’d make it work. There were some things you’d just sacrifice as a consequence.
Family Time is Very Important
Even though her typical day isn’t “typical” she makes time for her family. She is at home in the morning with her daughter, has breakfast and doesn’t leave for work until her daughter is on the school bus. While filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens in London the first half of her day was spent working on the movie, but once LA would start to wake up at 2:30 London time she would then set up video conference calls and handle the LA business. She had a driver for the way home and the car was set up with a wi-fi connection. This allowed her to continue working on business until she got home at 8:30-9:00. Once inside the door at home she would be done handling business for the day.
She was in Film School when Star Wars Opened
Star Wars was just jaw-dropping and mind-blowing for her and everybody in film school was talking about it. At that time she realized that there was so much possible beyond anything she could imagine.
She Loves to Nurture Filmmakers
When working with a filmmaker she wants them to find something of themselves as a reason to tell the story, she wants them to infuse something personal into the characters and the storytelling because is helps with the emotion of the piece. That is exactly what J.J. Abrams did with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As a producer she loves recognizing that in somebody and then helping to find the resources to nurture and guide them.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens equals Girl Power!
Having a strong female character as the lead was something that she and J.J. Abrams started talking about day one. It was really important to them since they both have daughters that girls could watch the movie and have their own Luke Skywalker to look up to.
Star Wars Force for Change is Important to Kathleen
Since the Star Wars franchise will generate tremendous goodwill and she and J.J. wanted to figure out how the movie could give back as part of the phenomena. Once Force For Change was formed they went to each of the cast members and let them identify what they’d like to pull under the umbrella of Force For Change.
Force for Change is an initiative that can recognize empowering people around the world who are making a contribution and that gives us a lot of empowerment ourselves.
Read more about Star Wars on my blog:
- Secret “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Press Event
- Harrison Ford Talks About Stepping Back Into Han Solo’s Boots
- Exclusive Interview with Rising Star Daisy Ridley (Rey)
- Exclusive Interview with John Boyega (Finn)
- 7 Spoiler Free Things You Need to Know About Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer
Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt.
The film opens December 18, 2015!!!
Visit the official STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS website.
Disclaimer: I was invited by Disney and LucasFilm to cover the StarWarsEvent for 5 Minutes for Mom and all expenses were paid for but all opinions are my own.