01/30/2013 02:02 pm ET

J.J. Abrams' 'Star Wars' Negotiations Were Pushed By Kathleen Kennedy

To call J.J. Abrams apprehensive about taking the "Star Wars: Episode VII" would be an understatement. As the recently hired director told multiple news outlets, he was most interested in experiencing the new "Star Wars" film as a fan.

"[T]here were the very early conversations and I quickly said that because of my loyalty to 'Star Trek,' and also just being a fan, I wouldn't even want to be involved in the next version of those things," Abrams said to Empire (via Coming Soon) last year. "I declined any involvement very early on. I'd rather be in the audience not knowing what was coming, rather than being involved in the minutiae of making them."

Cut to Jan. 25, and Abrams had accepted the job.

"I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid," Abrams said in the official press release put out by Disney and Lucasfilm announcing his new gig.

Why did Abrams change his mind? Look no further than Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, who has known Abrams since he was 14.

In a new interview with Kennedy over at THR, the 59-year-old producer behind "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Back to the Future," "The Goonies" and "Lincoln" among many other classics, revealed her negotiating strategy. "Please do 'Star Wars,'" she asked Abrams. As THR notes, it was that pitch, along with Abrams' interest in working with "Episode VII" screenwriter Michael Arndt and Lawrence Kasdan, that pushed the "Star Trek" director over the top. " [J.J.] was flipping out when he found out that Michael and Larry were on the movie already," Kennedy said.

Abrams met with the creative coalition behind "Episode VII" on Dec. 19; the negotiations went down to the wire, however, and weren't wrapped up until last week.

For more on Kennedy, head over to THR.

[via THR]

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