Okay, we probably know what you’re thinking. How did Steven Spielberg get J.J. Abrams to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Probably by saying, “Hey, J.J. Abrams, do you want to direct Star Wars: Episode VII?” and J.J. Abrams then screaming “HOLY SH*T, YES!” while peeing a little. Fair enough. Perhaps that’s exactly what happened, but it’s not the way Spielberg told the story to The Hollywood Reporter this week.
Spielberg never wanted to direct the movie himself, but he did brainstorm potential directors with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. Both agreed that J.J. Abrams would be a good choice (well, yeah), especially after working in big action franchises like Mission Impossible and Star Trek, but there was a snag, as Spielberg explained, “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.’ ”
It’s funny that he blamed it on his wife when he later admitted he initially turned down the job because he wanted to do an original project after Star Trek Into Darkness. Jeez, I need to get married so I can back out of social events and blame my husband. Anyway, Spielberg came up with a pretty genius plan to test Abrams’ excuse: He offered the job in front of Abrams’ wife.
“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 [Kathleen Kennedy] and said, ‘When can we meet with J.J.?’ And that’s how the whole thing began.”
HA HA, YA BURNT, Abrams! Now you have to… direct Star Wars? Oh man, Spielberg really didn’t think that prank through.