DGA Attendees: Irvin Kershner WAS Yoda

Via a January 13th entry on the LA Times blog “Hero Complex,” filmmaker Peter Briggs shares snippets from a special celebration of the late director Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back), held Tuesday night at the Directors Guild of America. The event was hosted by Kershner family members and featured the quiet attendance of both George Lucas and Empire screenwriter Lawrance Kasdan.

What’s most intriguing about the article is how many people who worked with Kershner remarked on his resemblance, nay inspiration-for, a certain Star Wars character. Among those making the case Tuesday night was actor Billy Dee Williams.

When pressed for anecdotes of Kershner, his abiding memory was that Kersh was “impish and mischievous.” Then he added that, really, Kersh was Yoda. That seemed to be a recurring theme for the evening.

Indeed, from the podium, Frank Oz – the voice of Yoda – recounted how watching Kershner demonstrate how the character should whack R2-D2 in the introductory Dagobah scene of The Empire Strikes Back made him realize that all he really needed to do to convey the wisened one was channel Kershner. As Yoda might put it: “Luminous being was he.”