J.J. Abrams did a solid job directing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While he didn’t reinvent the wheel (and in some cases, just reused the wheel), it was enough to revitalize the franchise and get people interesting in the new Star Wars franchise.
But imagine the daunting task ahead of you in taking this beloved series and trying to effectively reboot it. Who could possibly convince you to take on such a massive effort? It turns out that in the case of Abrams, it was with the help of his wife and Steven Spielberg.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Spielberg reveals how he convinced Abrams to sign on to direct Episode VII:
I brought J.J.’s name up. I thought J.J. would be the best person to direct Episode 7 and 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.’ But I went to Kathy and asked if I could get J.J. to say yes to this would you consider it? Kathy said ‘Are you kidding? Of course I would. But why would J.J. do Star Wars; he’s already done Mission Impossible and Star Trek.’ 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 Kathy and said, “When can we meet with J.J.?” And that’s how the whole thing began.
It’s a fun little story about how Abrams’ patron saint got him one of the most coveted/feared gigs in Hollywood history. Judging by the box office receipts, Spielberg’s faith was well placed.