So, what’s it like playing Steven Spielberg … for Steven Spielberg?
The director of the “Jurassic Park” and “E.T.” trilogies and the “Schindler’s List” trilogy is as proud of his work as he is embarrassed. “It’s very funny because it’s one of the best-written books I’ve ever been involved in.” In an age when directors often are considered to be just as important as script writers and novelists, Spielberg can seem like some kind of oddity. “I’m a little bit of a dreamer,” he says. “I like the kind of cinema that is made to be watched rather than read.”
He is also, however, just as happy to show his movies to the public, as I, for instance, am to show my dog to friends. In the early stages of my career, when I was working on the U.K. edition of the “The Simpsons” TV show, I would occasionally find myself in one of those rare meetings when the entire staff was there – writers, producers, directors. For the life of me, I couldn’t believe they were all sitting in the same room and not at the same table – but one of them was Steven Spielberg and he loved nothing more than talking to an audience – and the only camera I had on me was a Canon 7D. So, I asked him to come and speak to me. He did and he was in awe of it.
From the outset, he wanted to meet me. Not just a fan of the show – he wanted to meet the actual writer and co-creator of “The Simpsons” – but someone who could tell me “the truth about everything” – which was the most important part of his job. For me at the time, that meant being allowed to make the movie I wanted to make, rather than having to conform to someone else’s vision of a story. At the time, I was in charge of all of the actors; now, I have a team of writers, story editors, and directors, and they work together for me.
So, I was expecting to meet him at the end of the meeting. But he didn’t even know I was there or who I was. What can I say? My memory of that day is a bit hazy!