For the most part I’ve always found Steven Spielberg’s best work to be earlier, rather than later in his career. Films like Duel, The Sugarland Express and Jaws were towering achievements. What the hell were some of those Jurassic Park sequels and War of the Worlds all about? And South Park summed up the last Indiana Jones sequel perfectly.
But he’s a director we’ve all loved at some point. In this special he talks in extensive detail about his career, encircled by clips from the greatest and most popular of his huge film slate.
He candidly admits that if the mechanical shark they made for Jaws had worked properly, he wouldn’t have had to improvise, and there wouldn’t have been the menace that the shark’s hidden presence provided. This he believes, is what ultimately led to box-office gold.
Spielberg also reveals that at the same time he was making Close Encounters, George Lucas was making Star Wars, and George was so sure Steven’s film would be more successful, that he offered to swap him two and a half percentage points in his film for the same amount in Steven’s. Spielberg laughs as he recounts how much money that made him over the ensuing years.
Spielberg On Spielberg airs 8:30pm Sunday, 10 May 2009 on ABC2 and will be repeated on ABC1 – Sunday, May 17 at 3:00pm.