As part of the celebration around the 30th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extraterrestrial and its upcoming Blu-ray release, ComingSoon.net was invited to participate in a special press brunch with the film’s star, Henry Thomas, and producer, Kathleen Kennedy. We’ll have a full report from the event soon, but wanted to share what Kennedy had to say about some exciting upcoming projects, including Lincoln, The BFG and Jurassic Park 4.
“Writing, writing, writing,” she says of the current stage in developing the next sequel to Spielberg’s 1993 dinosaur epic. “It’s really hard to keep these things going when there’s an expectation and a desire by the public and the audience to keep certain franchises going. As filmmakers, we often sit there going, ‘Okay. We have to answer the question, ‘Why do another one?” If you can’t answer that question, you shouldn’t be doing it. It’s tough. We’re trying to come up with a story that makes sense and isn’t going to disappoint people and is, hopefully, going to get people excited and reinvigorate the franchise. We’ve got to start with a script and the story.”
A recent update had Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver boarding the project as screenwriters.
“[The studio] is just like, ‘When?!'” Kennedy laughs. “They don’t care about the agony we’re going through!”
A bit closer to hitting the big screen is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG, on which Kennedy is teaming with old friend and E.T. scribe Melissa Mathison.
“[It’s] live action,” she confirmed, “[and] pretty far along.”
Though she was tight-lipped on further details about that project, Kennedy opened up a bit more about the upcoming Lincoln, set to hit theaters on November 9 in a limited release, expanding everywhere on November 16.
“It’s entirely a human story,” she says. “We’ve worked on this over a decade now, trying to finess the script and get to a place where we felt we were ready to shoot. It has always fascinated Steven. I think you can see now, by his body of work, that he’s equally associated with something like an ‘E.T.’ or a ‘Close Encounters’ and popular entertainment and that he also is driven by historical stories. They’re rooted in real people and real events. This is, obviously, one of those.”
Based in part on the book “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Lincoln stars Daniel Day-Lewis as America’s 16th president.
“[T]his is one of those movies where, unless the right elements came together in the right way [it wouldn’t work],” she explains. “Daniel Day-Lewis being the perfect example. It’s like he was born to play this role. I’m not sure what we would have done [if he hadn’t signed on]. He’s absolutely extraordinary. I’ve never been involved with a movie where, when I saw it for the first time, even being involved in making it, I thought, ‘What a strange feeling. It’s like we literally got the opportunity to go back in time and had this glimpse of actually seeing President Lincoln and how he might have operated. In this case, it’s a very specific moment in his legacy and an event he’s trying to deal with very close to the end of his life. You feel extraordinarly privileged to have this moment in time with him. He’s just so real in his performance.”
Check back soon for more from Kennedy and Thomas and catch E.T.: The Extraterrestrial on Blu-ray October 9.
(Photo Credit: WENN.com)