11 Shocking Facts About Steven Spielberg

Posted Sep 03, by Jose Duarte [+]

Robin Williams often called Steven Spielberg during the filming of Schindler's List to cheer him up with various jokes.

If you’re familiar with Schindler’s List and Steven Spielberg (or even just have a vague knowledge of common Jewish last names) then you can understand why doing the movie was a difficult experience for him. 

If not, then it’s worth knowing that Steven Spielberg is a highly famous and influential Jewish filmmaker, and Schindler’s List is a 1993 film based on the story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of over a thousand refugees during the Holocaust. 

The shooting of the film was very emotional for Spielberg due to his roots and the antisemitism he faced as a child. There were some scenes in the film that, heavily based in reality, were so dark that he couldn’t watch while they were filmed. So dreary were things that Robin Williams took to calling Spielberg every two weeks to lift his spirits with various jokes, mainly because there wasn’t much humor on the set. 

On the subject of the filming, Spielberg later said “I was hit in the face with my personal life. My upbringing. My Jewishness... And Jewish life came pouring back into my heart. I cried all the time." 

(Source)


Steven Spielberg refused to accept any payment for his work on “Schindler’s List”!

Spielberg stated that any money accepted would be “blood money.” The film was about the Holocaust and the movie was the most expensive black and white film to ever be made.

Spielberg was given permission to film within Auschwitz. However, he decided against it, due having respect for the victims. He went on to win an Oscar for the film for best director and best picture. He then helped found the production company, DreamWorks.

(Source)


Steven Spielberg still makes a fortune from Star Wars because he and George Lucas bet on it's success!

In 1977, Lucas had finished producing Star Wars and went to Alabama where Spielberg was shooting Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Lucas was depressed and told Spielberg that Star Wars did not live up to his vision and thought he just made a kids’ movie.In a move to make some extra money after Star Wars, Lucas proposed that each director give 2.5% of their movie’s profits to the other. 

Fortunately, Close Encounters got Lucas money and saved Columbia movie studios from bankruptcy. However, it was better for Spielberg. He still receives tons of money constantly from Star Wars merchandise, DVDs, and re-releases!

(Source) 


\"\" George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are responsible for 7 of the top 10 highest-grossing films of the 1980s.

Not only that, but they are also responsible for 4 of the top 5 films of that decade! The seven films include: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Star Wars Episodes V & VI, and the Indiana Jones trilogy. Spielberg also produced Back to the Future. Lucas began the decade with the completion of The Empire Strikes Back (1980), his first Star Wars sequel, and then collaborated with Spielberg on a new project called Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), which was released the following year. Spielberg then moved on to direct what would be the most financially successful film of the decade, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), while Lucas completed his Star Wars trilogy with the release of Return of the Jedi (1983). The next year, the pair got back together for the Raiders prequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), before Spielberg signed on as executive producer of Back to the Future (1985). This ended their streak of rabid success for a couple of years. Lucas produced a couple of forgettable TV shows about Droids and Ewoks, and Spielberg directed a pair of less lucrative films. The honeymoon was not over just yet, though - the dynamic duo reunited to sneak one final blockbuster to close out the decade with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

Here\'s a list of the top 10 films of every decade.


\"\" Steven Spielberg’s first full-length film had a profit of one dollar!

Back in 1964, a 16-year-old Spielberg wrote and created the sci-fi flick Firelight on a shoestring budget of just $500. Therefore, Steven used several of his friends from high school in the cast and shot many of the scenes in his own garage. He even composed the film’s score on clarinet himself and then had his high school’s band record it for the final soundtrack! The finished product was shown at the Phoenix Little Theatre in Arizona to an audience of 500 people. Admission was $1 per person, but one guest must have paid double because Steven came out of the debut with a profit of $1! Most of the reels for this flick were lost by a producer later on, his directorial debut is widely considered to be 1971’s Duel. However, the surviving reels show glimpses of his distinctive visual style, even at such a young age. Firelight also served as a foundation on which Spielberg was able to base the plot for his 1977 blockbuster hit Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
(source)


Steven Spielberg did not originally intend to shoot Schindler's List himself!

Based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a man who risked his life to save 1,100 people from the Holocaust, Schindler's List is widely considered to be Steven Spielberg's best film. It earned him his first (of two) Best Director Oscar in 1993. However, his original intention was to pass on making the film!

In 1983, Spielberg convinced Universal Studios to buy the rights to the novel "Schindler's Ark," and met with the writer. He told the writer he would get started on the movie "ten years from now." At first, Spielberg was unsure of his maturity as a director to take on a movie about the Holocaust. 

He first asked director Roman Polanski to film it, who turned it down because his mother had been killed at Auschwitz. Later, Martin Scorsese was attached to the film, but Spielberg decided to do it himself, because he didn't want to let go a chance of making a movie for his children and family about the Holocaust.

(Sources 1, and 2)

\"\"

After Drew Barrymore posed for Playboy magazine, director Steven Spielberg sent her a quilt and a note that said \"Cover yourself up.\"

It\'s hard to blame him - Barrymore was just a precocious little 7-year-old back when he directed her in the blockbuster movie E.T.: The Extraterrestrial.
(source)


The Jaws series has the dubious honor of having movies with both 100% and 0% tomatometer ratings

The first film, of course, is the Steven Spielberg classic that is credited with rocketing his career and starting the summer blockbuster phenomenon. The other, you probably never heard of.

Jaws: The Revenge is the fourth, and final (as of yet) entry in the series. The film was a box office failure and is the lowest grossing in the series. It has many plot holes and inconsistencies. In the movie, the shark follows Chief Brody's wife from Amity Island (in the North East coast of the US) down to the Bahamas, just to get revenge. One of the worst ones is that at the end, the shark explodes, despite that it was impaled with a ship. It’s considered one of the worst movies ever made. 

It was filmed in New England and The Bahamas. Despite the low gross, it still managed to cover production costs. Michael Caine was nominated at the Saturn Awards for worst supporting actor for the film. The film was also nominated for several awards at the Golden Raspberry Awards that celebrates the worst of films each year.

Have you seen the movies? Let us know in the comments. 

(Source)


ET is the only original ride remaining at Universal Studios Florida!

After the Jaws ride closed down at Universal Studios Florida, the ET ride is the only original ride left. The Jaws ride had been a staple attraction at Universal Studios for 20 years. On January 12th they closed it for good, though. They will replace it with an expansion to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Steven Spielberg has insinuated that a Transformers ride could be coming to Orlando, too. The ride is already at Universal Studios Singapore.

As for now, the ET ride is the last original ride left, and it’s been rumored to be on the chopping block for years.

(Source) 


In the movie Jaws the first girl that was attacked was actually screaming in pain.

The harness that was dragging her across the water violently back and forth broke her hip.

The director thought that her screaming was just realistic acting, and they didn't realize she was injured until she was dragged back to shore. If you want to see her famous scene, check out the video below. 

(Source)


No women have died in any of the Jurassic Park movies!

To keep this somewhat anti-spoilerish, I won’t be specific about the deaths. All I will say is that a total of 15 men perish over the course of the three films. To be fair though, there aren’t many female characters in the series to begin with and two or three of them are young girls. Plus, I believe the original Michael Crichton novels also contained nothing but masculine massacres.

Seriously though - in the third flick, Téa Leoni survives not only a plane crash, a Velociraptor ambush, a Pteranodon attack, and a Spinosaurus attack near the river! She definitely could’ve been the first female casuality several times over, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they break this trend when Jurassic Park IV comes out in 3 or 4 years.
Sources: (1,2,3)


Join the Conversation