Watch interviewer's question trigger Steven Spielberg to realize something deeply personal about one of his own films

Originally published at: Watch interviewer's question trigger Steven Spielberg to realize something deeply personal about one of his own films | Boing Boing


You belong in the circus, right next to the dog-faced boy!


Whenever we embark on creative endeavors we often put a lot more of ourselves out there than we realize.

In the commentary track for the Blu-ray release of E.T. Spielberg noted that it took him decades to admit—even to himself—that Elliot’s story was basically drawn from his own childhood experience dealing with his parents’ divorce. Countless other people saw it before he was ready to see it himself.


In my 20s, my friend and I had a sort of writing workshop where we would write a story and give it to each other to critique. I tended toward the more literary, my friend wrote fantasy fiction. In each of my friend’s stories, he would include a male protagonist who either didn’t have a father or was estranged from his father. When I pointed this out to my friend (whose father had left his mother when he was just a little kid), he said he had not consciously made that choice, but that he must be working through some leftover emotions he didn’t know he still had. The next story had a father in it, but it wasn’t as good. Stick with your themes, I told him, your writing is better when you do.


I wrote a poor review of ‘ready player one’… as it wasn’t a scratch on the book…

Spielberg’s movies definitely have a lot of father issues. Even the scene discussed in the interview above ends with a father abandoning his wife and children to go run off with some aliens he just met.


I’m ready for the Mother-Ship to take me away, gotta pack first.


Where we’re going, you don’t need clothes, hew-mahn.


Mr Lipton was one of the finest interviewers ever.

And he was a horseman!

Lipton, Dick Cavett, Melyvn Bragg (of the UK’s South Bank Show), and Pierre Berton (Canada) should be studied by interviewers everywhere.


Which is why artists tend to be sensitive individuals and are often deeply stung by criticism. Making art exposes oneself in a way that few other endeavors can.

This probably also says a lot about Spielberg’s near-flawless output, too. He’s able to subconsciously access those deeply-held emotions, but abstract them and bring them to screen in a way most other can’t. I certainly find that failing in my own attempts at expression and admire people that seem to easefully plumb their deepest pains and joys. Bob Dylan always stands out to me for that reason. He makes writing seem so simple but when others try to imitate his style it sounds artificial and shallow.


I for one welcome our new tuba playing alien overlords.


Really excellent. George Lucas’ obsession with racing cars nearly killed him and he was stuck in a hospital for three months after a collision. He decided while there that he wanted to go to art school and his parents wouldn’t pay for it. He picked up a camera and met prolific cinematographer Haskell Wexler while photographing a car race and Wexler got him enrolled at USC. There’s a lot of that auto racing teen energy in all of Lucas’ films. Really the entire Lucas-directed or written Star Wars portfolio is a bunch of races and rather obviously Luke = Lucas.

Will Ferrell destroyed Lipton - the impression is just brutal. But Lipton loved it and they became good friends. In every interview it’s so clear that Lipton really did his homework. It’s like Frost/Nixon x277 episodes. Lipton worked 12 hour days 7 days a week.

Lipton explains in an interview that it is literally a class. “Those are masters degree candidates out there learning the craft of acting, writing and directing. That’s what it’s all about.”

It had dawned on me only recently that the volleyball in Cast Away was a stand-in for Tom Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson. Hanks was on the program twice, once before and once after that film. I haven’t watched them. I’m curious whether Lipton brought this up.


I study Dick Cavett almost every night on the retro Channel.

I especially love the shows from the early 70s.


Just so long as he keeps secret his mission to recover the Ark of the Covenant. The US intelligence community was already beyond generous in allowing him to create Raiders of the Lost Ark.


that was a close encounter but about another one…


Those last few bars are so Jaws-like!

Gotta say Spielberg nails the “NASA” engineering style of communication in that scene. It’s like a color from my childhood. He is very delicate about it, but there is still a covert opinion hanging around that it is a big circle-jerk.

He’s talked about just that, in fact:

STEVEN: Well, I was never really conscious of that. I know that “Close Encounters,” because I wrote the script, it was about a man whose insatiable curiosity and a developing obsession and a kind of psychic implantation drew him away from his family and with only looking back once, walked onto the mother ship. Now, that was before I had kids. That was 1977. So I wrote that blithely. Today, I would never have the guy leaving his family and going on the mother ship. I would have the guy doing everything he could to protect his children, so in a sense, “War of the Worlds” does reflect my own maturity, in my own life, growing up and now having seven children.


I’m studying him right now!


Awwwwwww! ⋆snif⋆

1 Like