Filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan was born on this day in Miami Beach, Florida (1949-). His screenplays include The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), two of the most popular films ever made.
Kasdan's directorial debut was Body Heat (1981), a dynamite mystery he described as being "about people, my friends, people of my generation and yet the story was injected into a standard film noir kind of genre film."
He wrote The Bodyguard screenplay in 1976 with his hero Steve McQueen and Barbra Streisand in mind as the leads. The film stalled in pre-production limbo and he was disappointed in the 1992 version with Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner, despite it's overwhelming success.
"It doesn't have the speed and sophistication or the class that I wanted it to have or the tension or any of the things that I wrote it for," he revealed.
The film crystallized Kasdan's conflicting feelings about Hollywood's rewards and creative compromises. "If I had a choice of not having the money that came from The Bodyguard and that movie not existing, I think that I'd go with that movie not existing because it's so much not what I want and yet my name is all over it."
With a reputation for integrity and quality work, Kasdan uses film as self-expression. "I treat movies as though they really matter," he explained, with credits that include The Big Chill (1983), The Accidental Tourist (1988), Grand Canyon (1991), Wyatt Earp (1994), and French Kiss (1995).
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