Michael Cieply 10.28 piece about War Horse director Steven Spielberg, called “What Makes Spielberg Jump?”, will appear in Sunday’s print edition. The invisible subtitle is “Spielberg really wouldn’t mind winning an Oscar for War Horse (Best Picture or Best Director or both), and this is the opening salvo in an attempt to make that happen.”

Here’s the portion that got my attention: “For those who wonder what drives him, money is no object: The Los Angeles Business Journal recently listed Spielberg as this city’s eighth richest person, with a net worth estimated at $3.2 billion.”

Meaning that his liquid worth is…what? With those kind of holdings Spielberg could easily self-finance a $100 million movie and pay for the worldwide marketing without breaking a sweat…no?

“He’s often choosing [which films to do] for emotional reasons,” Spielberg’s longtime producing partner Kathy Kennedy tells Cieply. “I do think that plays a role in what he chooses to do.” As opposed to making a film because he needs the scratch?

Spielberg has always been a bottom-line commercial guy, and like most shrewd players he’s never sunk a nickel of his own money into a film he’s produced or directed. (Or at least not to my knowledge.) But he could play it like Francis Coppola if he wanted to. If he wanted to self-finance he has the absolute freedom to do any film he wants, any way he wants, starring anyone, and costing whatever. Any emotional subject that appeals to him, Spielberg can make a flick about it and get it released. No strings, no impediments.

So why is he directing Robopocalypse after Lincoln?