Jueves 15 de Agosto de 2002, Ip nº 22

Interview to Steven Spielberg
Por Gabriel Lerman

Minority Report (to have its premiere here next week) reaffirms the twist the top American director has given his career lately. It is a somber film, composed in a variety of levels and, which has greater ambitions than his classics. In this interview he speaks of his current interests, his dreams and his role as a parent. And he declares being proud to have finished the course of studies he quit at the age of 21 and not to have any domestics.

He traveled all over the United States together with Tom Cruise, his latest film's leading actor, to promote his new adventures behind the cameras: Minority Report, a rather pessimistic view of the world a little more than fifty years from now.(...)

Besides all that, Spielberg has just finished his university studies, which he had interrupted when being almost a teenager he was made an irresistable offer to start learning what making movies was about.

What was it that he was attracted to in Minority Report?

The idea of self-determination. It's a concept that's always interested me because I've always questioned it regarding my own life. What's bound to happen and can't be modified, and what's the result of hard work and initiative. The issue of self-determination didn't have much presentce in Philip K. Dick's tale (The Minority Report), on which the movie is based, but it was key to my interpretation of the story, because I wanted to start from the tale to make a film I could identify completely.

After making the film, which of the concepts do you think is more valid?

I've always said that when one of my movies is a success, that's thanks to my effort, and when it's a flop, that's destiny...

What about beyond the movies?

I believe certain things are marked from the cradle, and we must work real hard if we don't want them to happen. Let's say I tend to think we're all predestined to follow a map we haven't drawn, but at the same time I'd like to think only I can make most of the decisions I make, and no one could make them for me. Half the time I think if I want to accomplish something, I will, as long as I strive; the other half, I think if it's in the cards for it not to happen, no matter how hard I try, it won't. (...) You see, the subject fascinates me.

(...)

What was the experience of carrying out a convention of futurists while Minority Report's script was being prepared like?

Excellent. We sat 23 futurists around a table for three days during which everybody exposed their theories about what the world will be like in ffity years' time. The best news was that my youngest kids will get to live 150 years if these people's prediction are right.

(...)

Do you think the future can be like your film describes it regarding the absolute lack of privacy?

That's right. The futurists never came to a complete agreement, but one of things they all agreed on was that in the future the publicitary industry will be able to recognize us individually. They will read your eyes, know who you are, what your shopping habits are and customize advertising to sell more. That and the transport system shown in the movie are the two things everybody in the convention concluded will happen.

(...)

Judging from A.I. and Minority Report your films are getting more and more somber. Why is that?

I don't know. I just let myself go with the issue that interests me more and I never try to change the original intention of the story the movie is based on when I adapt it. Philip K. Dick's literature is somber. I guess now I just dare walking different ways from the ones I could have ten years ago. Now I can walk at night along a dark street and not be afraid. The truth is nothing has happened in my life to make me more somber. My marriage goes great. I'm a good father. I got good friends. I haven't reached masculine menopause.

How can you direct, produce, carry a studio and still have time for your family?

To start with, despite what many people think, I don't take care of Dreamworks (his studio). That's my partners' taks. (...) I only make pictures. I'm really happy about not having to waste time with all that a large corporation implies. That's why I have the time to direct and take care of my children.

Why was it so important to you to finish your university studies? Haven't you been given several honorary diplomas?

I have, but there isn't the same merit in honorary doctorates. It's just an honor. On the other hand, I gained this diploma. I had two years left to finish college when I quit my studies because Sid Sheinberg and Lou Osterman offered me a contract to work in movies when I was only 21. The reason why finishing my studies was so important to me has to do with my kids. They were beginning to ask why they should go to college when I haven't graduated and I'm doing so well. That scared me. Besides, my father was rather upset about my unfinished studies: he comes from the old school, that says one must have a degree to be a respectable person. I could never understand why I gave up studing to sign a contract. (...) He was deeply hurt for a long time. So when I graduated I made sure he was sitting on the first line during the ceremony. He was tremendously proud.

How do you stop the fact that your children have a powerful father from going to their heads?

I guess a part of it is due to the very good friendships my children have with ordinary kids. That helps them keeping their feet on the ground. But also we have a pretty normal lifestyle. There are no domestics at home. We don't have a cook and no one comes to make our food for us.

It's clear that you care a lot about your role as a father. Are you better as a father or as a film director?

I think I'm a better father than film director, because the decisions I make for my children will affect them for the rest of their lives. (...) I think fatherhood and film making are two completely different worlds. And even if I've complained about my parents some times, they've done a very good job raising me.

Translation by Carolina Friszman


  25/07/2002. Tres Puntos Magazine.


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