An Exclusive Conversation of Steven Spielberg & S S Rajamouli | The Fabelmans In Cinemas NowJul 18, 2023
Hello sir, hello SS, how are you? I'm doing great, sir, and I'm very happy to meet you, to see you talk to you, it's an honor, well, I have to tell you that I thought your movie was excellent, no, I hadn't seen it. it was when we met, but I saw it last week and I sat down, it was just incredible, I couldn't believe my eyes, it was just for me, it was like a treat to the eyes and um, and I thought about the performances of Rama, Rahm , Aaliyah and and the whole cast was on Allison Duty, my girl from last Thursday, you know who I was.
In your movie, I was kind of happy to see how she ended her story because she was just as atrocious as she was. husband um but beautiful visual style and um I just thought it was extraordinary to look at and experience so congratulations on RR, thank you sir, thank you very much. I can almost get up from the chair and dance, it means a thank you very much to me thank you very much and I am very happy that you saw the movie thank you very much sir well, we are not well, we are not in this kind of Zoom professionally and we meet again, I have a lot of Questions I want to ask you about how you made the film.
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an exclusive conversation of steven spielberg s s rajamouli the fabelmans in cinemas now...
I have a lot of questions, so we should get together so I can ask you questions. You know, the moment I land there, I'm going to come back somehow. steel bar time of your contact your office and time of the board and take this opportunity to do that sir thank you, I would love to, thank you very much and coming to uh Fable man's um it was such a happy experience I wish I could see it in the cinema I just got to see it in uh but obviously it's releasing this weekend uh in India I could only see it on Ott but it was still very different from your other films, but in the end the joy that Usually what I get from your films is always there from a completely different way, but it was a pleasure to watch your film.
Thank you so much. I have many, many, many questions about your film. The first and most important thing is like uh for People Who Don't Know, it's their kind of autobiography. Almost all the incidents are based on his real life. While watching the movie, I had no inclination about what I was going to see except except. I know it was part of your life, but as I watched, I was seeing the collapse of not only your personal life but also your parents' lives, your siblings' lives, and as I watched, I was thinking about what would happen. happened.
It's been your thought process, uh, what's different about all your movies than this because you're not talking about your personal life but your parents' personal life and you're just exposing it to the world where you were? worried you were scared you were apprehensive uh I really want to know how uh what was your thought process about approaching a fable months well well the decision to tell my own story because I've been like that I've been uh I I've always felt very confident telling the stories of others and I have always found my place behind someone else's story, directing the story and communicating the story, but not taking responsibility for the content of the story because the content was written by novelists or historians or other people's stories and I have always been a very good captain of a ship that I did not build but suddenly now I am the captain of a ship that not only was I in the crew that I built from scratch together with my sisters, my mother and my father, but of I suddenly have a greater responsibility to tell the truth about some of the things that happened to me in my formative years, but at the same time I didn't want to hurt anyone.
I didn't want to hurt my three sisters. I didn't want to embarrass my family and yet I needed to wrestle with some of the trauma that we all experience, like we all experience when they come from a broken home and when they come from a divorce and when they come from anti-Semitism let's say it happened to me in high school uh um so this was what I felt like I wasn't wearing as many clothes as I often wear what I'm doing telling someone else's stories I had, I felt like I was wearing a t-shirt and a bathing suit when I did the fables, like that. exposed I felt and I dared to tell a story about the things that happened to me, yeah, how it was, uh, watching the movie, initially I felt like it was, oh God.
God, he's imagining his own mother as not so good, where was I, sympathizing, empathizing with the father, but how can he do that? How can he show his mother against the light? But as you move forward, we understand the difficulty of the situation. no one is bad, it's not about a person being good or bad, it's about following your heart and, uh, following your duty, maybe a conflict between family duty, duty and heart. I was introduced so wonderfully, you are absolutely right, the story is there. there are no villains in the story at all, yes, if anything, if anything, the villains are the people outside the story who look down on you for reasons that empower them by putting you down and diminishing you and then the villains, the bullies, They are obviously the villains of the story, but even The Stalkers have their own personal secrets, which makes my main stalker have that emotional reaction that I don't want to reveal at the end of the story, but you know, I really believe that because there are no villains. in the history.
The story is a story about love. It's a story about a young man a lot like me named Sammy Fabelman who falls in love with movie cameras and making movies with his neighborhood friends, which will eventually lead to a career. And it's a story about her mother, who never plans to fall in love with her, her husband's best friend and business partner, which is absolutely what happened in our lives, exactly what happened and um, and it's about following your heart, uh and not sacrificing yourself or your own happiness and your own future to make those around you safe and comfortable my mom was very she took life into her own hands and she had a huge, beautiful personality but she was always very honest about what she needed and what she wanted from this life and she took it for herself, but still brought us all with her, so we never felt abandoned by the decisions she was making, she always included us in her decisions, yes, and I think it's very difficult, I mean, she's a real-life character, but write that character on paper and make it seem so justified that her actions her to make the actions seem so justified.
I think that required fantastic writing and fantastic acting from the actor, unfortunately I don't know her name, yes, Michelle Williams, Michelle Michelle. Williams did a great job in the midfield with that and and when I saw the two scenes, two and a half scenes of Uncle Boris, I fell in love with that guy, but I wanted to ask you about an art and a family. Have you ever been broken in your life? I don't think art and family was a question that was asked of me when I was 16 or 17, but Tony Kushner and I wrote that scene that we think is kind of the unifying theory of this movie of this whole movie about art and it gives a It's kind of scary when you take a stand in any movie to try to define what art is because art means something to everyone, to the artist and to the one that all of us appreciate. someone else's art means a lot of different things, but the personal meaning about art and family will split you in half, it happened to me later, when I had already established myself as a filmmaker as a working director and Kate and I began to form a family and we started By having children, we now have seven, but the decision I had to make when accepting a job that would move me to another country for four or five months, where I would not see my family every day, that was the art and the family that promoted that. that was truly a heartbreaking experience, the decisions I had to make and there were several movies I chose not to do, I was offered Harry Potter.
I chose to turn down the first Harry Potter to basically spend the next year and a half with my family, my young kids are grown, so I sacrificed a huge franchise, which I'm pretty happy about, even today, looking back, very happy I did it to be with my family on other occasions, my family stayed in Los Angeles and I went abroad. tell a story, yes, I can really understand, luckily for me, I support my entire family in the film business, my wife, my son, my children, my brother, my brother's wife, they are all with me and with me doing movies, so I don't miss my family.
Oh, that happens sometimes. I have made several films for my family. I actually moved where my whole family came to Poland when I did Schindler's List. We all lived in Krakow for four and a half months, but there are other movies where I can't do that, of course, and the sex, so there was one that wins, a scene that I thought was the best scene in the movie. I don't want to give it away, but before the climax, the heartbreaking scene, and the last shot before the scene when we see Sam's character portraying that heartbreaking movement with his camera.
What was your thought? uh, behind that, why did you place that shot there? This is at the end, right, yeah, I guess you know, we say, you know. we have that term we use about breaking down the fourth wall where we hope to tell stories where the audience is inside the story and at the end of any film the audience wants to feel like they're still inside the experience. to see those characters and hear hear how those characters are going to end the story or how the story is going to end but I took the opportunity to break down the fourth wall to follow the advice of a great filmmaker, the advice that he gave me about the horizon and what really happened by the way, word for word, from what I remember, that's exactly what happened to me when I was 16 and I met that great man for the first and last time, so I just wanted to knock on the door.
Going down the fourth wall to say that I learned something from that too, uh uh, which by the way, that was a great scene, but the question I had was like when Sam represents his grieving family with the camera, uh uh, which one Was the meaning behind that particular? I shoot, oh, I'm sorry, okay, sometimes, when you know, you know, when I was growing up and there was trauma in all of our lives, there's always trauma. No family you know can survive childhood without some kind of trauma and with me when I discovered the movie camera as a child, I could sometimes use my imagination, when things were very bad at home, to imagine that I was making a film about how bad things were at home, even if I wasn't making the actual movie, I pretended it was and eased the pain and I think about that moment of trauma when Sammy hears the news of what's about to happen between his mother and father, that will change their lives forever.
Sammy imagines himself, looks up and sees himself in the mirror with a movie camera. filming Trump's traumatic sequence when in reality he's sitting there trying to dull the pain. Yes, I took it a little differently now. What happens to me. Then a sad incident is happening and for some time a part of my brain is feeding the pain, a part of my brain will be thinking about how I would imagine that scene or how that scene would turn your movie into a story and I feel like I'm such a horrible person. , but I just can't stop my Narrator part of me and uh, when I saw that scene I thought, okay, Steven Spielberg is also such a horrible person like me, if he really felt that way, I thought that way, uh, so Maybe it's not, but that connected with me in a very strong way, well, I think that anyone who enters the film business and wants to be a writer, director, actor or any of the professions that they know, uses the things that happen to them in their own lives to create things that help tell a story, so I think some of the worst things that happened to us when we got into the movie business, we take some of those worst things and say, okay, let's take advantage of that pain and let's put it on the screen and see.
If there is any or I agree with it, yes, yes, I'm sure, in the same scene, uh, what really surprised me was the acting of the actors, of course, the veteran actors, the experienced actors, I can understand them, but the four young actors, particularly the two girls to act up to that point. I was really really impressed. Part of me was like just feeling the scene, but the director part of me was thinking how I could get such young actors to act to begin with. Until that point. I would really like to know how you get your actors to reach that level of acting?
Well, I think the younger the actor, the less acting they give, but the younger the actor, the more involved that young actor is. connection with their own personal feelings and I, when I choose young people, I try to choose young people who can play themselves, not who can do an accent or who can put on a costume, it would not be anything like what they are in the real life, but I try to cast actors who are exactly like who they are in real life and then make them believe that what is happening to these characters is happening to them in real time and that is why I think these young actors are capable of being so closely in touch with their own Humanity or with their and the depth of their feelings, even feelings that they do not yet understand because they have not yetvisited an analyst and they have not had deep relationships or they have not had deep relationships.
They haven't had their hearts broken yet, but they're young enough to be very close to how they really feel and that's where some of the best performances come from. I think this is a golden nugget for me and for many other directors like The point is in choosing the casting, not the day of filming, but how you choose your actors, that is the secret. lies there, that is a very lesson. important and when reaching out to young directors, I face this difficulty many times when people ask me what is the advice for young directors, how should they approach it, a part of me tells me that you have to work hard we have to work so hard years in the industry you learn uh uh how the industry works you have the experience you don't rush into things Asics with experience you know uh not only the film techniques but also the emotions and how to bring emotions to the audience, you learn all those things that a part part of me wants to say to the other part of me, things like: Am I thinking I'm too old?
The new generation is so capable of multitasking probably and the kind of tools they have in their hands, we didn't have them in our learning days, they should probably just jump in and learn, so what is your advice to the young people? filmmakers? What is the right way to do it right? A young filmmaker who is free to tell his own stories, stories that he invents within his imagination. My advice to them, if they have a like, if they use their phone as a camera, because today you can make a whole movie on your phone, we didn't have. that luxury when we were little, um, but when you can do that today, I would just say tell stories that you're familiar with, you know, do what you know, find as much of yourself to put into that movie, even the sci-fi movie. or an adventure or something that is fantasy or something that is not realistic there is still a lot of truth about who the filmmaker is, if you are in touch with that truth you will put a lot of your own personality into those different stories, but if you are a young director who You have been given the opportunity to prove yourself professionally, you are given a very short, too short budget and schedule, and often you are given actors that you do not choose yourself, that is the most difficult position. be present and yet it's a great opportunity to use those collaborators, actors and other crew members who have had more experience than you listen, don't talk, that's Uncle Boris, he tells Sammy, shut up, you talk too much, listen, that would be my Advent advice to Young filmmakers don't talk much, listen, listen to the people you are working with who have done more work than you, they have tremendous advice they can give you and they will teach you the art of collaboration because you can't make a movie like RR which, as you know, I loved the movie that you directed, wrote and collaborated on, you can't make a movie like that without having everyone in a collaboration where everyone feels like they're making a contribution of the best of them. they're so your film is going to be the best thing you've ever made and that's something I would always tell a young filmmaker, you know, seek advice from your elders to talk and collaborate and listen great, listen, I'll take that single. word listen don't talk listen and but uh but uh if I say uh as a young filmmaker assuming that I'm a young filmmaker who enters the uh in my first film and uh there is a producer or a studio that is putting their money uh, in me believing what I do and if I tell me if I ask my production designer or cameraman or story writer someone says to say I don't know how to do this if I say I don't know that's what my producer or my studio will do they will lose faith in me, Will they look down on me if I say I don't know, do you know what I was about to do?
Shark. I met a famous American director named Henry Hathaway and I was about to go after Martha's Vineyard, what I thought would be a three-month photo shoot turned out to be seven months on Martha's Vineyard. I went way over schedule, but Henry Hathaway told me, let me give you some advice when you come to the Establishment in the morning and you don't have any ideas or you're out of ideas, you don't really know what to do, pretend you have all the ideas in the world. world, don't show weakness in front of your team or them. We all disrespect you and I didn't listen to that advice because in Jaws it was very difficult to do.
I needed everyone's help and if I had followed Henry Hathaway's advice and pretended I had all the answers, I would have been laughed out of the Atlantic Ocean. because no one had the answers and how to make Jaws except the ocean and the people who built the mechanical shark, that was cool. I have, I mean, I have my own experience, but I wouldn't accept my own experience in this. I'll explain it to you when we meet in Los Angeles, so one more question about the same. This is not just for young filmmakers but also for Indian filmmakers.
Is there any approach that we, as Indian filmmakers, need to change? To chase the Oscar tree is such a big thing for many of us or for most of the world, so is there something we should change or something we should continue to change the Oscar dream because we have been falling behind? quite a bit, so do you think we should do something different? I would never dare give advice on what someone should do differently based on your knowledge of the country you are from and the culture you grew up with and the stories you want to tell.
I would just say that you keep telling your own stories and don't try to adapt them to stories that you think the world wants to hear because then you will be working for the world and you will not be working from your own heart tell the stories that come from your heart and that will serve you well. the rest of your career thank you, thank you very much uh uh the last question I want to ask is like when I was watching Fable man uh Fable man's uh, I felt like there was a lot more story to come, uh, I didn't feel like this was an ending, I felt like this was a comma, so are we going to see more of Sam's story?
Well, I can say right now that I don't have any plans to continue Sammy Faberman's stories. Beyond where the movie fades, because it was a very rewarding, satisfying and uplifting experience for me, it was also a very heavy experience, a very sad. I had to recreate my parents' divorce. I had to recreate a lot of things that made me cry in the movie on the set when I was filming. Sometimes I had to walk away from the set and go outside and just get some fresh air before coming back. I'm not ready to go back to the Gestalt of my life again in this foreseeable future, but who knows who knows, yeah, yeah, I mean, uh, uh, why I asked the question is like you're telling the story of your parents or your brothers. or your family, it was always through Sam's point of view how Sam perceived the closeness and drifting area of his family, so while I was watching I also thought we would see how Hollywood works or how difficult or easy it is.
For young Sam to venture into Hollywood from the perspective of him from the perspective of a discerning young man I thought we're going to see more at least that's what we want to see as fans. I believe in Sometimes I believe in predestiny. that sometimes the stories you deny yourself or say you'll never tell you find yourself in two or three years just telling the story you denied so maybe one day it will happen I don't think it's my place to say yes yes yes yes yes De Suddenly I get a message or a sign and I feel drawn to go back to Sammy again someday.
It could happen, but I have no immediate plans to do it right now. Thank you very much sir and for a person who has 22 nominations and three. The Oscar wins, uh, I don't think it makes sense to say all the best for your fourth film and for a person who has so many successes. I don't need to wish your movie in India to be a big success, but we As the fans are really looking forward to them, uh, both of them, uh, and I hope they come to India to celebrate the success of the evil months here.
Good thank you. I miss India. I spent time there, as you know, in the '70s, '90s and 2000s. I love my partners. Reliance, you know, you know, um and uh, they've been partners with me for many years and I have a lot of connections with India, which I'm very proud of. I hope you find another story where you have to come and film here. India with Indians with Indian crew with Indian actors I would love that the last time I was in India was in 1976 when I made Close Encounters of the Third Kind in a small town called Hal on the outskirts of Mumbai or Bombay in those days, this time I hope be it in Hyderabad. my house does it, it would be great, okay, it would be good, I'll wait for it, thank you sir, thank you, thank you SS, thank you very much, I hope to see you in Los Angeles very, very soon, thank you sir, I hope to see you here. thanks thanks
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