The magical worlds of Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg just celebrated his 65th birthday on December 16, but you wouldn’t know it because the Hollywood veteran always had the soul and energy of a kid.

Despite his enormous success and unprecedented track record, Spielberg’s still working at a hell of a clip, with The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse out back to back, his biopic of Lincoln starring Daniel Day Lewis now in post-production, and Robopocalypse up next.

Of course Spielberg likes to alternate between serious work, like The Color Purple and Schindler’s List, with the blockbuster fare he’s best known for like Jaws and Jurassic Park. 

Hot after Lincoln should come Robopocalypse, and as Spielberg told Collider he’s probably going to start shooting the latter film in September.

Having executive produced Transformers, you get the feeling Spileberg’s going to give Michael Bay a run for his money in the robots beating the sh*t out of each other department.

When Spielberg spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his career, he not only talked about War Horse and Tintin, but he also looked back on his first big breaks, making his first short film, Amblin’, which is now the name of his company, and directing a segment of the pilot episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. (One thing the EW story didn’t cover is the fact that one of Spielberg’s earliest champions was, believe it or not, Jerry Lewis, who was teaching film at USC when he checked out Amblin, and was blown away).

Amblin’ was Spielberg’s second time working with 35mm, his first attempt making a 35mm short was never completed, and he got $10,000 to make Amblin. 

”It was big money in 1968,” Spielberg told EW. He then directed the Night Gallery episode, which starred Joan Crawford. Spielberg was a kid, 22 years old, and in those days it was considered bizarre, if not unheard of, for someone that young to work on a TV show or make a movie. (John Landis appeared on the Tonight Show as a novelty guest because he made his first film, Schlock, when he was only 21).

Spielberg recalled Crawford demanded “a professional director” when she saw how young Spielberg was, but then Lew Wasserman, the feared chairman of MCA, told her she didn’t have to go back to TV, as she had her position on the board of Pepsi. Crawford ultimately came back to the set with quite a different attitude.

Spielberg worked in TV for a number of years, making a mark in 1971 with Duel, then making his first theatrical feature in 1974 with Sugarland Express. After he broke through with Jaws, he became the biggest director in the world overnight, but even though he’s come a very long way, as he admitted to writer Anthony Breznican: “I have shpilkes [nerves] now and I have a career. I think it’s my fuel, my nervous stomach… When I make a movie, I never think I have all the answers. I come onto the set – whether it was my first movie, Sugarland Express, or Lincoln – and it cuts me down to size. It’s a good feeling to have.”