Steven Spielberg Developing Coming-of-Age Drama Inspired by His Own Life

Oscar winner Steven Spielberg is preparing to bring his life to the big screen, literally. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Spielberg has co-written a new film with Munich and Lincoln collaborator Tony Kushner that is "loosely based" on his early life as a child and teenager in Arizona. Spielberg will direct the project which has Oscar nominee Michelle Williams attached to star. Filming on the project is scheduled to begin this summer and it will debut in theaters next year. The trade notes that the lead young character won't be named "Steven" despite what you might think and it's unclear if it will be a period piece set in the 1950s and 60s (when Spielberg grew up).

According to THR, Spielberg and Williams are working on "test screenings for young actors that would star" in the film, seeking out two young actors to place the young and teenage versions of the character inspired by himself. It's unclear how much of Spielberg's personal life will make its way into the movie, called a "modestly-budgeted drama" by the trade, like his interest in making home movies (which influenced the JJ Abrams film Super 8). Furthermore long-time fans of the filmmaker know well how his personal life influenced his works in the past.

"I was infatuated with the control that movies gave me in creating a sequence of events or a feeling, stuff like a train wreck with two Lionel trains that I could then repeat and see over and over again," Spielberg said in a DGA interview back in 2006 about his past. "I think it was just a realization that I could change the way I perceived life through another medium to make it come out better for me. I was making these little 8mm rinky-dink movies and I knew that made me feel really good about my life, and possibly I could bring some other people into this amazing medium, to enjoy what I was putting together."

Spielberg most recent feature remains 2018's Ready Player One as his highly-anticipated remake of West Side Story was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. That film is scheduled to arrive later this year on December 10. Despite previously being attached, and directing the first four movies in the series, Spielberg will not be directing the upcoming Indiana Jones 5, something that probably would have prevented his new drama from going forward so quickly. Without him behind the camera, the Lucasfilm project will be directed by Logan's James Mangold (Spielberg will still produce).

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(Cover photo by Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century)