Steven Spielberg has said that mining his family history to make “The Fabelmans” was a “very daunting experience” that was at times “very, very hard to get through.”
The iconic director’s latest project world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday to raves from critics and largely favorable reviews. The semi-autobiographical movie tells the story of Sam Fabelman, a young boy who falls in love with cinema, but finds himself fighting family turmoil to keep his dream alive.
In a so-called press conference on Sunday, that was effectively a Q&A with TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey (the festival did not take any questions in the room from the gathered journalists, who had to submit questions almost 24 hours in advance), the “Jaws” director said he thought making the movie “would be a lot easier than it turned out to be because I know the material and I’ve known the characters for my entire life.”
“And yet I found this for me a very daunting experience because I was attempting in a semiautobiographical way to recreate huge recollections not only in my life but in the lives of my three sisters, my mother and father who are no longer with us,” said Spielberg. “The responsibility of that began to build.”
Spielberg explained that his co-writer Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of “Angels in America,” was his “therapeutic counsellor in getting this out of me.”
“As we started working on this, I realized there was no aesthetic distance between me and this experience; I wasn’t able to put a camera the way Sammy is able to put a camera between himself and the horrible, realistic things that are happening to him. And I’ve always been able to put a camera between myself and reality to protect myself and I couldn’t do it telling this story. As the cast knows, it was emotionally a very difficult experience. Not all of it. But some of it was very, very hard to get through.”
More to come.