Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

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
"E.T."
"E.T."

6. It’s not just about Spielberg and Lucas
Kennedy’s full producing resumé includes over 90 credits, for films that have gathered north of 120 Oscar nominations. Among her many hits for Amblin Entertainment are the Back to the Future films and Martin Scorsese’s “Cape Fear”. After leaving Amblin, she produced Clint Eastwood’s “The Bridges of Madison County”, M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” and David Fincher’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, among many, many others.

7. She likes smaller films too
$14 million is positively micro budget by Kennedy’s standards, but that was the tab for 2007’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”. Originally developed by Universal as a Johnny Depp vehicle, the decision to allow Julian Schnabel to make the film in French, starring the little-known Mathieu Amalric, made it a risky proposition. Nonetheless, it turned into a critical favourite and awards darling, including a surprising four Oscar nominations.

8. And supporting lesser-known filmmakers
Kennedy approached Marjane Satrapi, the Iranian-French co-director of “Persepolis”, with a view to acquiring the rights. Though Satrapi declined, Kennedy came on board as executive producer, securing production funds through an American distribution deal while leaving Satrapi and her fellow first-time director in full creative control. The end result? Awards and nominations everywhere from the Oscars to Cannes.

9. She doesn’t have a great record with female directors
Kennedy states that she is gender blind when it comes to working with directors, and her experience with Marjane Satrapi hardly leaves that in doubt. Nonetheless, she almost always works with powerhouse male directors, not challenging the status quo in Hollywood that rarely sees women hired to direct mega budget productions. The pressure should fall on all industry heavyweights - not just the women such as Kennedy and Sony chair Amy Pascal - to do more to encourage diversity behind and in front of the camera. But as several participants in Melissa Silverstein’s recent New York Times debate concluded, women are in dire need of powerful industry advocates - and Kennedy, who is also the mother of two teenage daughters, would be nothing if not a good place to start.

10. But watch this space
Kennedy has stated that she plans to turn LucasFilm into a fully fledged production company, and none can doubt her ability to make good on that promise. Incidentally, one of LucasFilm’s most high profile employees is Brenda Chapman, who joined the company to work on a mystery project after being controversially fired from Pixar’s “Brave” (of course, both companies are now owned by the same parent organisation). Meanwhile, the latest rumours circling Star Wars VII suggest that the franchise may relaunch with something entirely unprecedented but very much in the spirit of LucasFilm’s new boss - a female protagonist.

Matthew Hammett Knott is a London-based filmmaker and writer and contributor to Indiewire's Lost Boys blog. Follow him on Twitter.

This article is related to: Heroines of Cinema






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More