Tag Archives: vanity fair

The boss: New Kathleen Kennedy profile, and about that slave bikini…


Vanity Fair has a new interview and profile of Kathleen Kennedy in the wake of The Force Awakens. The most interesting part, perhaps, comes from writer Tony Kushner (Angels in America:)

“She talked about the way in which the conventional approach to these things is that a script starts from an outline, and that’s what everybody focuses on before there’s a word of dialogue.” In Kushner’s recollection, Kennedy was urging the writers to turn their focus to the characters. She kept saying to them, “Who are these people? I don’t know who these people are.” Kushner felt that “she was expressing an impatience about character being secondary to story line, which violated something very essential for her.”

He went on: “We had an interesting conversation about how a lot of playwrights start with outlines because it gives you something to hold on to, but that you know the characters are likely to derail the outline once they start doing what they do.” He and Kennedy talked about how “there’s no telling what will happen once you have invented a person. They may be willing to do what the outline says to do, but they may have very different plans in mind.” The sense Kushner got was that Kennedy “was pushing people to be unafraid of being lost for a while. It was good to see her holding the banner of complexity in the middle of this huge enterprise of Star Wars.” The machines, in other words, have not won.

She also addresses Leia’s slave bikini:

Referring to a notorious scene in Return of the Jedi, I asked Kennedy if she would ever have put Princess Leia in a golden bikini—the famous “slave Leia” costume that is embedded in the collective unconscious of legions of men who were adolescents in the 80s. “With a chain around her neck?,” Kennedy asked, arching an eyebrow and laughing. “I don’t think that would happen.” She quickly added that she didn’t think George Lucas would put her in that bikini today.

Lucas’ wife, Mellody Hobson, on the other hand, says “George is not apologetic about that bikini.” I don’t doubt it.

The article notes that there isn’t a ban on the slave bikini – but I’ve always suspected the real story is that there’ll be less bikini, as opposed to a blanket ban, considering the source of the ‘banning’ brouhaha is a pinup artist.

In any case, you’re going to want to read the whole thing.

The Force Awakens: Interviewing Annie Leibovitz, revealing Andy Serkis’ role

snokeStarWars.com has an interview with Annie Leibovitz today about her Star Wars work for Vanity Fair. There’s a photo of Andy Serkis in mo-cap gear, and the reveal that his character is Supreme Leader Snoke.

Snoke! Granted, it’s no Sheev, but aren’t we glad I didn’t do the Twitter roundup last night?

→ The first actual The Force Awakens action figures have been spotted – on eBay, naturally. It’s a stormtrooper.

→ Spoiler corner: Finn and his hot new accessory.

Kathleen Kennedy on what really makes Star Wars

Kathleen KennedyThere’s some great stuff from Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy at Vanity Fair today.

George made it personal. He just made a movie that meant something to him. And I think that’s probably the biggest challenge for anybody stepping into this is that they can’t spend a lot of time thinking about what other people are going to think of the movie. They have to come at it from the point of view of, What does this mean to me and what does it have to do with me? Frankly, I don’t think great movies ever get made unless there’s some aspect of that going on between the creator and the story that’s being told. It can only become emotional [for an audience] if it’s operating on some kind of personal passion.

She also the emotional resonance of Star Wars, the old school experience, and how she and Steven Spielberg ended up hiring J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) to fix up those old Super 8 films.

Lawrence Kasdan on Star Wars past, future, and Lando

braintrustVanity Fair isn’t done just yet: In addition to (finally) posting their complete cover story on The Force Awakens, they have an interview with Lawrence Kasdan where he talks about the old film, the new film, and hints that Lando Calrissian’s journey isn’t over just yet.

As for TFA, less is more when it comes to running time:

…it’s turning out really great. J.J. directed it so beautifully, and it’s so exhilarating and everything. It’s a big movie. It’s full of wonderful stuff, incident and character stuff and jokes and effects. One of the things that we always refocus on from the get-go was that it not be one of these very long, bloated blockbusters. A lot of very entertaining movies lately are too long. In the last 20 minutes, you think, why isn’t this over? We didn’t want to make a movie like that. I mean, we were really aiming to have it be—when it’s over you’ll say, “I wish there’s more.” Or, “Wait, is it over?” Because how rarely you get that feeling nowadays, and I think we’re headed there. But it means that there will be constant critical looking at it from now to the end, saying, “Do we need this? Do we need that? Is it better if this comes out, even though we love it?” Killing your darlings.

Out this week: Vanity Fair, Star Wars #5

The official street date for this month’s Vanity Fair was yesterday, so if you still need a copy of the article that drove fandom nuts on the 4th you’re probably more than safe to go looking. (FYI, certain things about the article have been wildly exaggerated, but that’s pretty much par for the course.) UPDATE: The full article is now online.

But if you’re here for the usual books and comics, there’s always Star Wars #5, dropping on Wednesday. Preview? Preview.

J.J. Abrams talks Star Wars references and tone


Today, Vanity Fair has their J.J. Abrams interview, where The Force Awakens director talks about not overexplaining things, his weirdest moment, and capturing the tone of Star Wars. Also, a horrible Max von Sydow pun.

Now, what sparked a lot of discussion today was this bit:

Well, what’s cool is we’ve obviously had a lot of time [during the development process] to talk about what’s happened outside of the borders of the story that you’re seeing. So there are, of course, references to things, and some are very oblique so that hopefully the audience can infer what the characters are referring to. We used to have more references to things that we pulled out because they almost felt like they were trying too hard to allude to something. I think that the key is—and whether we’ve accomplished that or not is, of course, up to the audience—but the key is that references be essential so that you don’t reference a lot of things that feel like, oh, we’re laying pipe for, you know, an animated series or further movies. It should feel like things are being referenced for a reason.

Earlier, they talks about how A New Hope just dropped in references to things like the Clone Wars, and as someone who’s experienced great anvil fatigue over the past decades, I greatly appreciate a return to that, whether it be random whatevers that happened between trilogies or old stuff we already know.

Vanity Fair’s The Force Awakens photoshoot is up


And now, the actual Vanity Fair photoshoot is upwith one more photo set to go out in their email newsletter. We do get a name for Lupita Nyong’o’s CGI character: Maz Kanata, a pirate who has a castle populated with a variety of riffraff. We also get a nice shot of Oscar Isaac and his X-Wing, Rey (and J.J. Abrams) on Jakku and Abrams with Kathleen Kennedy, John Williams and Lawrence Kasdan.

UPDATE: And the last photo has been spotted. Gwendoline Christie is confirmed as Captain Phasma, the chrome stormtrooper. You can read most of the article at VF as well, plus the prequel spreads are back up!

More The Force Awakens teases from Vanity Fair


A little bit of Vanity Fair’s cover story on The Force Awakens went up at midnight – along with a behind-the-scenes video that gives us a peek at what some of the pictures may be – including a helmetless Kylo Ren (Yes, he’s Adam Driver. Shocking!)

There’s also a bigger version of the cover, but no more pictures – yet. One is set to go out in VF’s email newsletter tomorrow afternoon, though. And head below the cut for a few screenshots from the video.

The issue will be available digitally on May 7, and on newsstands May 12.

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Vanity Fair’s The Force Awakens photos are coming

vanity-fair-star-warsVanity Fair has revealed their latest Star Wars cover ahead of May the 4th. The now-traditional Annie Leibovitz photos will be online May 4… And on newstands not long after.

All three prequels had similar features, including that big ‘family photo‘ from 2005.

It’s not tough to find the old stuff online, but maybe Vanity Fair will put their own gallery back up online now?