Director extraordinaire, Steven Spielberg is pulling back the curtain and letting viewers in on his childhood, parents and passion for the movies with The Fabelmans.
Speaking to Spielberg he said, “I’ve always found ways of putting my personal life and everything I’ve done, even Indiana Jones, believe it or not. There are pieces of me in that and pieces of me and everything I’ve really directed. But [The Fabelmans] was a very focused, intentional story of coming of age.”
“I’ve never made a story before [nor] told one before so close to my own experiences and so close to my own heart. Only the names were changed to protect the innocent. The most challenging part was finding the cast that best represents my family. There’s nothing more personal than that and casting your own family. I didn’t have to look very far. I felt in my heart for a longtime that Michelle Williams was very representative of my experience with my own mom.”
Williams chimed in with, “From the moment Stephen started talking about his mother and who she was and who she was to him, it felt like an honor.”
The Fabelmans stars Gabriel LaBelle (“The Predator,” “American Gigolo” series) as 16-year-old aspiring filmmaker by the name Sammy Fabelman alongside his mother played by Michelle Williams and his father played by Paul Dano. While the film takes some creative liberties, Spielberg based the film quite closely on his parents and his childhood, even co-writing the screenplay with playwright and “West Side Story” screenwriter Tony Kushner.
Speaking to LaBelle he about starring in The Fabelmans he said, “There was a lot of joy [in the move]. It was always there, amongst a lot of other things, but it’s just an incredible story and I was just lucky to have a callback with Steven on the same zoom. After that, it was like I didn’t need anymore. Like, I got to do this. Now I’m here. Everything’s amazing, I show up on sets and there’s cameras and there are lights and I have a feeling on any set I’m a part of but watching Steven walkaround and figure out his shot with the whole camera team behind them because they don’t storyboard or shot list.”
As seen in the trailer above, a young Spielberg watching his first film, “The Greatest Show on Earth,” and being inspired to recreate the film’s infamous train crash sequence. Later on, he’s filming his family in home movies and then discovering how to make amateur war films for his boy scout buddies. The movie also showcases how it grapples with family conflict and antisemitism Spielberg experienced early in his life.
Screenwriter Tony Kushner is already for his next celebration with Spielberg, “[Steven Spielberg] is an artist whose work is absolutely going to endure. I’ve been able to be a part of four movies in his body. It just feels like one of the great joys and privileges of my life. I am as proud of the work I’ve done with him as I am of anything I’ve done as a playwright. I hope we’re going to continue. We’re talking about what we’re going to do next.”
Seth Rogen added,” It’s thrilling. It’s a surreal experience and I’m trying to just take it all in and really appreciate it. My first shot of the film was a night shot and literally in the script it’s like they walk out of a theater to their car, and I show up and there’s like 100 cars from the 50s on set and the entire block is dressed and there’s 1000 extras. I’ve never seen anything like this. It truly was a big movie. This isn’t like a small personal film. This is a big personal film.”
Also starring in the film are Julia Butters, Robin Bartlett, Tina Schildkraut, Keeley Karsten, Seth Rogen and Judd Hirsch.
The Fabelmans opens in theaters on November 11th and then expands wide from Universal Pictures on Thanksgiving.