How The Pandemic Inspired Steven Spielberg To Make The Fabelmans

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Steven Spielberg’s vast filmography is filled with larger-than-life stories and period dramas, many of which feel tied to the director’s past in one way or another. His newest film, “The Fabelmans,” however, is undoubtedly the director’s most personal project yet. Getting into a suitable mental space to make the film would prove challenging for the famous director, who has expressed that he couldn’t have made this film in his 20s

Spielberg has a co-writing credit for “The Fabelmans,” something that is relatively rare for the director. While the process may have been complex, recent world events would soon give Spielberg the push he needed to finally put pen to paper. The script for “The Fabelmans” came together during the pandemic in a similar vein to projects from other creators at the time. With the film’s events primarily based on Spielberg’s own life, the director couldn’t find the delicate balance required until he saw the world changing right in front of him.

An Emotionally Taxing Experience

In a press junket covered by The Hollywood Reporter, Steven Spielberg spoke about the massive responsibility that came with writing “The Fabelmans,” one that he first thought he could handle but eventually began to loom over him:

“I thought it was going to be a lot easier than it turned out to be because I’ve certainly known the material and all the characters for my entire life. And yet I found this to be, for me, a very daunting experience because I was attempting in a semi-empirical way to recreate huge recollections, not only in my life but in the lives of my three sisters and my mother and father, who are no longer with us. Just the responsibility of that began to build.”

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like from Spielberg’s perspective to recreate some of your most personal and meaningful memories on a movie set. “The Fabelmans” is filled with deeply emotional moments, and if you found it emotionally taxing to watch, Spielberg had just as hard of a time shooting it:

“As the cast knows, this was, emotionally, a very difficult experience. Not all of it, but some of it was really, really hard to get through.”

Oftentimes efforts that are worthwhile feel hard to go through, and Spielberg telling this story is no exception. As emotionally challenging as making this movie was, Spielberg got a new sense of urgency to tell this story when the world shut down because of the pandemic. 

An Intense Passion Project

Steven Spielberg opened up about his pandemic concerns at the press junket, pondering what the grave situation meant for humanity along with the future of the world. The uncertainty of it all led the director to a crucial realization — this is a story that he needed to tell:

“I’m going to tell a story that I’ve always wanted to tell about a coming-of-age in this very unique family […] this may be the best time, with all the time I had on my hands, to sit with [co-writer Tony Kushner] and decide to write this on Zoom together because I didn’t know where this was going.”

Now knowing the context in which Spielberg and Kushner first wrote “The Fabelmans,” the movie feels like essential viewing. If Spielberg felt this story was one he desperately wanted to tell, it speaks volumes to the authenticity and how vulnerable he was when making it. Not only does “The Fabelmans” speak to the power of storytelling but it’s also a peek into the early life of one of Hollywood’s most successful directors. When a filmmaker of Spielberg’s caliber decides to get this personal, it’s a film that shouldn’t be missed. 

Read this next: Every Steven Spielberg-Directed Horror Movie, Ranked

The post How The Pandemic Inspired Steven Spielberg To Make The Fabelmans appeared first on /Film.

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