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New Interview With Star Wars & Indiana Jones Producer, Howard Kazanjian

Posted by Chris on October 29, 2021 at 12:49 AM CST


A rare video interview with Producer Howard Kazanjian has been conducted by The Writer Experience Podcast. During the conversation, they go over the contents of Howard's new memoir, Howard Kazanjian: A Producer's Life, written by J.W Rinzler, which was just released and is in stores now.





In the episode, Howard discusses:

-5:40 The forward to his book written by Marcia Lucas, editor of the Star Wars films

-7:52 His first impressions of George Lucas when they met in college, before George Lucas had joined the USC cinema building classes

-11:04 Working with Robert Wise on The Hindenburg and how, aside from Star Wars and Indiana Jones, it was the most difficult picture to coordinate that he ever worked on

-12:53 How Alfred Hitchcock mentored him

-15:45 Hitchcock's on set dress code

-19:09 His early days at Lucasfilm, from introducing George Lucas to Francis Ford Coppola when he was working on Finian's Rainbow, how he turned down working with George Lucas 3 times (on THX1138, American Graffiti, and Star Wars), finally working with George Lucas on More American Graffiti, and becoming VP of Lucasfilm

-22:01 How when The Empire Strikes Back got into trouble, he took the film over, and became Vice President of all of the films

-22:50 What it might have been like if he got to work on the original Star Wars film

-25:40 The budget challenges on The Empire Strikes Back, how he came to work on The Empire Strikes Back after Gary Kurtz, and the steps he took to correct budgetary issues (flying to London for the last 2 weeks of shooting mostly Yoda scenes, totally restructuring the budget, restructuring ILM, becoming VP of all production)

-31:26 His role in suggesting Harrison Ford for the role of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, how Tom Selick was originally the number 1 choice but because of Magnum PI he wasn't available, and how Steven Spielberg didn't sign on to the film until the last minute

-32:50 Working with Steven Spielberg, how he can walk into a set that he's never seen before and know exactly where he wants to put the camera and how he's going to direct his actors

-33:34 His role in suggesting that Harrison Ford reprise his role of Han Solo in Return of the Jedi to George Lucas, and how George added the scene where he's unfrozen

-34:46 How he and George Lucas hired Lawrence Kasdan to write Return of the Jedi

-36:37 The screenwriting process for Return of the Jedi, how George Lucas wrote the first draft while at the same time Lawrence Kasdan was writing a draft, then they came together, they discussed their drafts, went back out, did another run on their drafts, and they came back and they were all very very close, and then George Lucas did the final polish

-38:58 How the most important thing he sees in a writer is story, and the importance of story, dialogue, and characters

-40:57 Words of wisdom for writers looking to get their foot in the door and get to the next level

-46:00 Working with Mark Hamill, and how hard he works on set

-48:51 Whether there's anything at this point that the people of the world don't know about Star Wars

-51:27 If he could take any writer to any restaurant, how he'd love to take George Lucas to a hamburger place, and tell George the great things that he's accomplished in life

-52:48 The one thing from his career that he'd like to pass along to the writers who are listening

-54:18 Whether he thought about the impact that the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films would have on future generations when he was working on them

-and more!

The Writer Experience Podcast is the #1 Writing Podcast and features interviews with a wide range of professional writers and creators ranging from NYT-Best Sellers to TV Showrunners to Comic Book Writers to Literary Agents. Its guests have included writers for HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Star Wars, Marvel, and many more.


Related Stories:

Howard Kazanjian: A Producer's Life By J. W. Rinzler


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