In 1975, while employed at United Artists as the first female vp production at that or any other studio, literary agent-turned-studio executive Marcia Nasatir read an unusual story at the request of UA production chief Mike Medavoy, who was seeking an interesting sci-fi project.
“George Lucas was one of Mike’s early clients when Mike was an agent at [ICM precursor] CMA,” recalls Nasatir, now 89 and still developing indie projects. “Lucas submitted The Star Wars to Fox, and they initially turned it down, so George offered it to Mike. Mike gave it to me, I read it, and I wrote that memo — I remember feeling very pleased with the phrase ‘a film for children of all ages.’ Soon after, Mike called me and said, ‘We’re gonna go after it!’ But before we could, Fox changed its mind.”
Says Medavoy, now 74 and chairman and CEO of Phoenix Pictures: “I sent the script to New York, to [UA partners] Eric Pleskow and Arthur Krim, with the recommendation that we make the movie. But that day there was a board meeting at Fox, and they approved it. And that was the end of that.” He adds, “At that period at United Artists, everything we were doing was working — Rocky, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Annie Hall. So did I feel the loss? Not until the movie came out.”