|Born||Lawrence Edward Kasdan
January 14, 1949
Miami, Florida, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
|Occupation||Director, producer, screenwriter|
|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.
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 Morgantown, West Virginia,3 where he graduated from Morgantown 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.
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.
|The Big Chill
|The Accidental Tourist
|I Love You to Death
1Costner's scenes were deleted from the final film.
|1980||Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back||writer|
|1981||Raiders of the Lost Ark||writer|
|Body Heat||writer, director|
|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|
|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|
-  (Businessweek, 2013-03-07)
- "Lawrence Kasdan Trivia". Lawrence Kasdan. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "Hopwood Program". University of Michigan. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- CHILLIN' BIG WITH LAWRENCE KASDAN By Alex Simon September 2001 issue of Venice Magazine
- "Berlinale: 1992 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-05-24.
- "JJ Abrams to script as well as direct". Guardian UK. 25 August 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.