The February 8th issue of The Hollywood Reporter features an in-depth profile of Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy as its cover story. Here's an excerpt from the article, which is online now, in which we learn how Kennedy convinced J. J. Abrams to direct Star Wars Episode VII:
Kennedy already had called Beth Swofford, Abrams' CAA agent, and been told Abrams was too deeply engaged in the next Star Trek movie and other obligations at Paramount -- not to mention innumerable television projects -- to consider the job. Nonetheless, Abrams agreed to meet with Kennedy on Dec. 14 at his Bad Robot offices in Santa Monica. Famously plain-spoken, she summarizes her pitch like this: "Please do Star Wars." And she had cards to play. Not only was Oscar winner Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) writing the script, but Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote 1980's The Empire Strikes Back and 1983's Return of the Jedi, was on board to consult. Abrams "was flipping out when he found out that Michael and Larry were on the movie already," says Kennedy.