Kathleen Kennedy walks into the room and you can feel the power drifting off her. You know the saying “I am Woman Hear Me ROAR” I have a feeling you can say that about her, but one thing. I don’t think she has to roar. I think she is a smart business woman who knows what works and what doesn’t. Which is why she convinced JJ Abrambs on taking over directing Episode VII. She’s pretty much a kick ass woman and I was Honored she sat down with us. Check out the interview below:
Q: Did that decision, to have a female lead, come early in or was that later?
Kathleen: No, it was right from the beginning. It’s something that J.J. and I started talking about day one. It was really important to us. We both have daughters, so, very important.
Q: Regarding kids and being such a big film producer in Hollywood, do you have tips for moms that are trying to balance all of this work in life?
Kathleen: Well, as you can imagine I get asked this all the time and what I end up saying is you just, I think, instinctively know how to make those choices, at least that’s what I’ve ended up doing. In the heat of the moment, I weigh what is the right thing to do. Obviously nine and a half out of the ten times it’s the family.
You figure out what that means and then you try to find a way to have a discussion about it. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that I have an amazing husband and we’ve both done the same thing. And for a long time, before we had kids, we worked together. Then when we had kids we started leap-frogging and it was this, sort of, you know, unspoken agreement that depending on how things were shaping up we would shift responsibilities. For the most part we just supported one another in that as often as we could, and then we’d make it work. Some things you just sacrifice as a consequence. I think that that’s pretty normal in the course of trying to weigh how to handle a career in general and kids just make it more complicated.
I guess what I’m getting at is there’s no cookie cutter approach to here’s what you do to balance career and family. I think it’s so much the individual and where you’re values are and what’s important to you and the stage your kids are at. You know, I always talk to moms who have babies and they’re like, “Oh, if I could just get past the infant stage.” I’m like, “Oh.(no)” [LAUGHS] So. Anyway. A learning curve.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about what you do on a day-to-day basis?
Kathleen: Oh God. I have a very bifurcated life because, I’m running the company and producing the movie. So even when I’m here in L.A. I would go, before we went to London I would go up to San Francisco two days a week and then I would come back here. Then when I got to London I set up a system where I would do video conferencing and I set up the meetings on a weekly basis so that I can maintain a connection to everybody on the executive team.
I can’t sit and say that it operates in any kind of a routine way. I usually try to stay focused on the movies in the morning and then as I said, as L.A. wakes up in the afternoon I’ll move into my office and begin to make those phone calls or do those video conference connections in order to get that work done.
Then the car that I drive, I don’t drive in London. I’m terrified to drive on the other side of the road, but I have a driver. As we make our way into London, the car is set up with Wi-Fi so I sit in the back seat, open my laptop, put an earphone in my ear and start making phone calls and dealing with business. The hope is by the time I get home at around 8:30, 9:00 I can pretty much stop.
Every now and then if there’s a, you know, a complication somewhere I’ll be on the phone late. But I’ve gotten to the point where I can keep that pretty much under control. This last series of months since August really, I’ve been in London doing Rogue One ’cause Rogue One finishes shooting on December 18th. But this time my husband is doing Bourne, a new Bourne series, so we brought our 16 year old kicking and screaming I might add, to go to school in London. She’s ended up having an absolutely fantastic time. It’s one of the best things we ever did. But that’s worked out actually quite well. That’s affected my routine ’cause I’ve ended up where I’ve just sort of laid, just had to lay down the law that when I get home we have dinner, when I get up in the morning I go in a little bit late. I’m not there at call so I can be home when Megan is eating breakfast and get her on the bus. The great thing about his school she’s at is the bus literally comes to the door and picks her up, which has been fantastic. It’s one of the reasons we chose the house that we’re staying in. That’s kind of an example where things can change.
Q: What is your Star Wars story? How did it start for you?
Kathleen: I was actually in film school when I saw Star Wars for the first time. So as you can imagine, it was just jaw-dropping, mind-blowing. Everybody in film school was talking about it. You realize that there was so much possible beyond anything you could imagine once we all saw that movie. It was sort of perfectly timed. I suppose you were either seven or eight or you’re in film school. Those would be touchstones.
Everyone has a Star Wars story, even Kathleen Kennedy. Take your family to see the movie this weekend and start creating your story!
***Disclosure: I attended the #StarWarsEvent + #ABCTVEvent My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney All opinions are 100% mine. ***