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Heroines of Cinema: 10 Things You Really Should Know About Kathleen Kennedy

By Matthew Hammett Knott | Indiewire February 8, 2013 at 7:00AM

While most of the attention for "Lincoln" has been devoted to three men -- director Steven Spielberg, writer Tony Kusher and lead actor Daniel Day-Lewis -- there's a woman without whom the film never would have happened. In fact, without her scores of some of the most popular movies ever made wouldn't have happened.  Her name is Kathleen Kennedy, and here's 10 things you really oughta know about her:
1
Kathleen Kennedy
Kathleen Kennedy

While most of the attention for "Lincoln" has been devoted to three men -- director Steven Spielberg, writer Tony Kusher and lead actor Daniel Day-Lewis -- there's a woman without whom the film never would have happened. In fact, without her scores of some of the most popular movies ever made wouldn't have happened.  Her name is Kathleen Kennedy, and here's 10 things you really oughta know about her:

1. She is the most Oscar-nominated producer in history
Kathleen Kennedy has been nominated for Best Picture eight times in total over a thirty year period - more than any other producer, and vastly more than any other woman. Five times she has shared the nomination with her long-time collaborator Steven Spielberg, and four times with her husband and frequent producing partner Frank Marshall.

2. But she's never won
In a recent and fascinating Hollywood Reporter profile, Kennedy jokingly admits “I’d love to get this over with”. She in fact developed “Schindler’s List” for Spielberg - his only film to win Best Picture - but parted company before it went into production in order to start a family.

3. She produced the highest grossing film of the 1980s and the 1990s
Her first full producing credit was on “E.T.”, which she produced aged 28 for a promised fee of $50,000. She ended up earning fourteen times that amount after the film went on to become the most successful film ever at the time (and still, adjusting for inflation, the fourth biggest in US history behind “Gone with the Wind”, “Star Wars” and “The Sound of Music”). “E.T.”’s record was only toppled in 1993 - by the success of Spielberg and Kennedy’s “Jurassic Park”.

4. She was inspired to work in film by Spielberg… then got her first job working for him.
Turn to the Hollywood Reporter profile for a much more detailed account of this, but it was seeing Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” which gave Kennedy the filmmaking bug. After getting her first job as assistant to John Milius, executive producer of Spielberg’s “1941”, it was not long before she found his way into the production office of Spielberg himself... and the rest is history.

5. She is in charge of the Star Wars and the Indiana Jones brand
As if she hadn’t already steered enough international brands to billion dollar grosses, Kennedy’s most recent appointment came in June last year as head of LucasFilm, following the company’s acquisition by Disney for $4 billion. The plans to resume production of Star Wars films have been widely panned, but Kennedy’s hiring of writer Michael Arndt ("Little Miss Sunshine," "Toy Story 3) and director JJ Abrams have assuaged some doubters.

This article is related to: Heroines of Cinema







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