Yesterday morning Deadline‘s Justin Kroll reported that a few months hence Steven Spielberg will direct a feature, cowritten by himself and Tony Kushner, “loosely” based on his childhood growing up in Arizona.
One presumes that “loosely” alludes to an intention to partially fictionalize.
Kroll added that Michelle Williams will portray a character inspired by his mom, Leah, “but with a separate and original voice.” Which means what? No depicted difficulties between herself and Spielberg’s dad, Arnold? No mention of infidelity?
The film will shoot this summer with a plan to open in ’22. It will presumably focus on the making of Firelight, a 140-minute sci-fi adventure that led to the making of Close Encounters of The Third Kind. Pic was funded by his dad to the tune of $500 or $600. It was given a single showing in a Phoenix-area theatre in March ’64.
From Joseph McBride, author of “Steven Spielberg: A Biography“(2011):
“A good portion of my book focused on ‘Steve’ Spielberg’s extraordinary boyhood years making films in Arizona (1957-64, including Firelight). I have 111 pages on his youth in Cincinnati, New Jersey, and Arizona before he went to California, and a chapter about his final year of high school in Saratoga.
“He also made films in 16mm at California State College at Long Beach (now Cal State Long Beach). All his Arizona work (including Firelight) was shot in 8mm. (Firelight had sound added.) His first 35mm film was Amblin’ (’68), which Universal bought. It earned him his seven-year TV directing contract.”
A photo from McBride’s Spielberg biography, credited to the Arizona Republic/Phoenix Newspapers, Inc.
Soielberg shooting Escape to Nowhere in ’62 — photo credited to childhood friend Barry Sollenberger.