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Irvin Kershner Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (10) | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 29 April 1923Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of Death 27 November 2010Los Angeles, California, USA  (lung cancer)
Nickname Kersh
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Irvin Kershner was born on April 29, 1923 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A graduate of the University of Southern California film school, Kershner began his career in 1950, producing documentaries for the United States Information Service in the Middle East. He later turned to television, directing and photographing a series of documentaries called "Confidential File". Kershner was one of the directors given his first break by producer Roger Corman, for whom he shot Stakeout on Dope Street (1958). The main theme that runs through many of his films is social alienation and human weaknesses - although his biggest commercial success was the science fiction blockbuster Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Irvin Kershner died at age 87 of lung cancer in his home in Los Angeles, California on November 27, 2010.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Trade Mark (4)

Fills up the movie frame with the characters' faces
Sometimes shows a robot or a cyborg being dismantled (e.g. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and RoboCop 2 (1990)).
Sometimes shows a character getting his own hand cut off (e.g. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and RoboCop 2 (1990)).
Many of his films were sequels of previous films (e.g. The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976), Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and RoboCop 2 (1990)).

Trivia (10)

While he was directing Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - the first Star Wars film to feature the character Yoda--he earned the nickname "Kersh". He was also filming "Empire" at the same studio Stanley Kubrick was using to film The Shining (1980). Stephen King was on the set and met Kershner. Years later, King wrote "It" which features a character named Mrs. Kersh, who sounds like Yoda.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
Kershner had been one of George Lucas' instructors in college. At first, he turned down the opportunity to direct Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), but his agent convinced him to take the job.
He directed two sequels to two different science fiction film series: Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)--the second "Star Wars" film--and RoboCop 2 (1990).
Directed the only Star Wars film to use someone other than Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine. The voice he used was Clive Revill, with whom Kershner had previously worked in A Fine Madness (1966)
He was the only man to direct a Star Wars, James Bond and RoboCop movie.
Of the three directors to direct the Star Wars films made between 1977 and 1983, the cast and crew have stated that he was their favorite director to work with, describing him as very helpful and supportive.
To date (2010), only American to direct a James Bond movie - Never Say Never Again (1983) - though the film itself is technically not considered a "true" Bond film. Kershner first directed Sean Connery in A Fine Madness (1966) 17 years earlier.
Kershner provided the voice of Darth Vader himself in the temporary mix of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), before James Earl Jones recorded the final version.
Retired from directing after completing the television series SeaQuest 2032 (1993).

Personal Quotes (9)

[on the Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) bonus DVD, speaking about Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)] I think it went beyond "Star Wars". You had some humor, you got to know the characters a little better. I saw it as the second movement in an opera. That's why I wanted some of the things slower. And it ends in a way that you can't wait to see or to hear the vivace, the allegretto. I didn't have a climax at the end. I had an emotional climax.
[about RoboCop 2 (1990)] I saw RoboCop (1987) twice. I saw it when it first came out and then I ran it once on cassette and that was it. I never wanted to see it again. I felt that what I remembered, the residual memory, was enough. I wanted a different style of shooting. I wanted the character to go further than they did the first time. I was working towards an emotional base that would be true to "RoboCop" one year later.
I like to fill up the frame with the characters' faces. There's nothing more interesting than the landscape of the human face.
[on why George Lucas asked him to direct Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)] Of all the younger guys around, all the hot shots, why me? I remember he said, "Well, because you know everything a Hollywood director is supposed to know, but you're not Hollywood". I liked that.
I didn't believe in Eyes of Laura Mars (1978). I believed in the idea I began with, but I did not believe in what was imposed on me during its production.
The thing what you learn in directing is that no matter how complex the shooting, you have to remain sensitive to the people around you or the machine will ultimately take over. If you don't keep in mind the essential humanity of it all, technique will dominate.
It's a matter of pride to me to get the film done fast, to get it done well. I understand the need for compromise. There is no such thing as a perfect shot, a perfect film. The purpose of film is not to make a monument to oneself.
[1969 comment on Joanne Woodward] Joanne, I'd say, is the best Actors Studio type of person. She makes the character a part of herself. She draws on her own resources. She deals with her own emotions. She doesn't impose something from the outside on what she's doing. She finds the solutions on the inside, and discovers a way of materializing it. She's a great, great actress who still hasn't reached the limit of her scale.
[on directing Alec Guinness in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)] He dissected every word, each gesture in a way only great actors do. It is the timbre, the subtle movements that make the difference. It's what makes actors great.

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