Kathleen Kennedy Clarifies Her Comments on a Female ‘Star Wars’ Director
Earlier this week, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy made headlines when she suggested that the time was not quite right for a female Star Wars director. In our own write-up of her comments, we noted that the reasoning behind Kennedy’s comments was sound, if not a little depressing: there’s an added degree of pressure on any female director, and the last thing Kennedy wants to do is put someone in a situation where they cannot succeed. Still, with so many male filmmakers seemingly being thrust from anonymity to nine-figure productions, Kennedy’s comments also hinted at an institutional double-standard that is a source of frustration to so many.
This past weekend, we had an opportunity to speak with Kathleen Kennedy at the Rogue One press conference held at the Lucasfilm campus in California. Here’s the question from our own Erin Whitney and the response.
The Star Wars films have done a lot for female characters and female heroes, but the movies have yet to have a female director. You recently said that a woman who has no experience with blockbusters wasn’t suitable to direct a star wars movie, however multiple male directors have had that opportunity. So why is it different for women and —
That’s not true. This gentleman [points to Gareth] did Godzilla before we hired him to direct the movie. And that quote was taken out of context. And I, as you can imagine, have every intention of giving somebody an opportunity. So, if somebody actually moves through the process of making movies and wants to make a Star Wars movie, and shows that they have actually stepped into the role on that level, of course we’re going to consider a woman. That goes without saying.
Can you name any female directors that you think have potential to direct a Star Wars movie?
There are many. And I’ve talked to most of them. There are many out there.
The message here seems to be that Lucasfilm would welcome a female director for a Star Wars film, provided they they aren’t the ones that have to stomach any of the risk involved in moving them from the realm of independent features to blockbuster films. That leaves us with the issue of still finding a studio that is willing to invest in women as filmmakers; if Colin Trevorrow can go from making Safety Not Guaranteed ($750k) to Jurassic World ($150m) and Gareth Edwards can go from Monsters ($500k) to Godzilla ($160m), and that is what allows them to direct Star Wars movies, then I guess the burden is back on female directors to somehow find their way into a nine-figure budget before Lucasfilm will work with them.