Lawrence Edward Kasdan (born January 14, 1949) is an American filmmaker, screenwriter and producer. He is known for updating old Hollywood genres—film noir, science-fiction, westerns—in a classical dramatic style with quick-witted dialogue, but dealing with contemporary social themes. As a director, he has made various personal films that examine characters and generations.
He is the co-writer of the Star Wars films: Irvin Kershner’s The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Richard Marquand’s Return of the Jedi (1983), both with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, and Frank Oz; J.J. Abrams’s The Force Awakens (2015), with Ford, Hamill, Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Daniels, Mayhew, and Max von Sydow; and Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), with Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandiwe Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo and Paul Bettany.
He also wrote Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), with Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, and Denholm Elliott; Michael Apted’s Continental Divide (1981), with John Belushi and Blair Brown; and Mick Jackson’s The Bodyguard (1992), with Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston, Gary Kemp, Bill Cobbs, and Ralph Waite.
Kasdan made his directorial debut with the neo-noir thriller Body Heat (1981), with William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna, Ted Danson, J.A. Preston, and Mickey Rourke. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for The Big Chill (1983), with Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly, and JoBeth Williams. Other films of the 1980s include the western Silverado (1985), with Kline, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover, Costner, Brian Dennehy, Rosanna Arquette, John Cleese, Goldblum, Lynne Whitfield, and Linda Hunt; and The Accidental Tourist (1988), with Hurt, Turner, Geena Davis, Bill Pullman, Amy Wright, David Ogden Stiers, and Ed Begley Jr.; the latter earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.
Kasdan was nominated for another Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Grand Canyon (1991), with Glover, Kline, Steve Martin, Mary McDonnell, Mary-Louise Parker, Alfre Woodard. Other films of the 1990s include I Love You to Death (1990), with Kline, Tracey Ullman, Joan Plowright, River Phoenix, Hurt, and Keanu Reeves; Wyatt Earp (1994), with Costner, Gene Hackman, Mark Harmon, Michael Madsen, Pullman, Dennis Quaid, Isabella Rossellini, Tom Sizemore, JoBeth Williams, Mare Winningham and Jim Caviezel; French Kiss (1995), with Meg Ryan, Kline, Timothy Hutton, Jean Reno, François Cluzet, and Susan Anbeh; and Mumford (1999), with Loren Dean, Hope Davis, Jason Lee, Woodard, McDonnell, Martin Short, David Paymer, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Danson, Jason Ritter, and Zooey Deschanel.
Films in the 2000s include the sci-fi horror Dreamcatcher (2003), with Thomas Jane, Lee, Damian Lewis, Timothy Olyphant, Morgan Freeman, Sizemore, and Donnie Wahlberg; and Darling Companion (2012), with Mark Duplass,
Richard Jenkins, Diane Keaton, Kline, Elisabeth Moss, Sam Shepard, Dianne Wiest, and Ayelet Zurer.
Kasdan sons Jake and Jonathan are also filmmakers. He executive produced Jake’s The TV Set (2007), with David Duchovny, Sigourney Weaver, Ioan Gruffudd, Judy Greer, Fran Kranz, Lindsay Sloane, Lucy Davis, M.C. Gainey, Simon Helberg, and Philip Baker Hall; and Jonathan’s In the Land of Women (2007), with Adam Brody, Kristen Stewart, Makenzie Vega, Ryan, Olympia Dukakis, Williams, Clark Gregg, and Ginnifer Goodwin.
He also produced or executive produced Cross My Heart (1987), with Short, Annette O’Toole, and Paul Reiser; Jonathan Kaplan’s Immediate Family (1989), with Close, James Woods, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Kevin Dillon; Jumpin’ at the Boneyard (1992), with Tim Roth, Alexis Arquette, Danitra Vance, and Samuel L. Jackson; and Dean Parisot’s Home Fries (1998), with Drew Berrymore, Luke Wilson, Catherine O’Hara, Jake Busey, and Shelley Duvall.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)** – directed by Irvin Kershner – co-writer
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)** – directed by Steven Spielberg – writer
- Body Heat (1981) – director, writer
- Continental Divide (1981) – directed by Michael Apted – writer
- The Big Chill (1983) – director, co-writer, executive producer
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)** – directed by Richard Marquand – co-writer
- Silverado (1985) – director, co-writer, producer
- Cross My Heart (1987) – directed by Armyan Bernstein – producer
- The Accidental Tourist (1988) – director, co-writer, producer
- Immediate Family (1989) – directed by Jonathan Kaplan – executive producer
- I Love You to Death (1990) – director
- Grand Canyon (1991) – director, co-writer, producer
- Jumpin’ at the Boneyard (1992) – directed by Jeff Stanzler – executive producer
- The Bodyguard (1992) – directed by Mick Jackson – writer, co-producer
- Wyatt Earp (1994) – director, co-writer, co-producer
- French Kiss (1995) – director
- Home Fries (1998) – directed by Dean Parisot – co-producer
- Mumford (1999) – director, writer, producer
- Dreamcatcher (2003) – director, co-writer, co-producer
- The TV Set (2007) – directed by Jake Kasdan – executive producer
- In the Land of Women (2007) – Jonathan Kasdan – executive producer
- Darling Companion (2012) – director, co-writer, co-producer
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)* – directed by J.J. Abrams – co-writer
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)* directed by Ron Howard – co-writer, executive producer
- Last Week at Ed’s (2019) – co-director, producer – documentary
- Light & Magic (2022) – director, executive producer – documentary miniseries
- November Road (202-) – director, writer, producer