kottke.org posts about Steven Spielberg

The Making of Raiders of the Lost ArkJan 10 2014

This is wonderful: an hour-long PBS documentary from 1981 on the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Lots of behind the scenes footage, interviews with Spielberg, Lucas, Ford, etc.

I love how delighted Spielberg is after the idol exchange scene.

The themes and techniques of Steven SpielbergMay 10 2013

A nice short analysis by filmmaker Steven Benedict of the themes expressed and techniques used by Steven Spielberg in his films.

Obama as Daniel Day-Lewis as Obama in Spielberg's ObamaApr 29 2013

Steven Spielberg is doing a sequel to Lincoln called Obama and he got Daniel Day-Lewis to play the lead. I knew Day-Lewis was good, but this is bonkers.

Transcript of Raiders of the Lost Ark brainstorming sessionMar 27 2013

Wow. In 1978, George Lucus gathered together Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan to go over ideas for a film Lucas had wanted to make about a swashbuckling archeologist, i.e. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Their sessions were recorded and there's a transcript available online.

Lucas - Now, several aspects that we've discussed before: The image of him which is the strongest image is the "Treasure Of Sierra Madre" outfit, which is the khaki pants, he's got the leather jacket, that sort of felt hat, and the pistol and holster with a World War One sort of flap over it. He's going into the jungle carrying his gun. The other thing we've added to him, which may be fun, is a bull whip. That's really his trade mark. That's really what he's good at. He has a pistol, and he's probably very good at that, but at the same time he happens to be very good with a bull whip. It's really more of a hobby than anything else. Maybe he came from Montana, someplace, and he... There are freaks who love bull whips. They just do it all the time. It's a device that hasn't been used in a long time.

Spielberg - You can knock somebody's belt off and the guys pants fall down.

Lucas - You can swing over things, you can...there are so many things you can do with it. I thought he carried it rolled up. It's like a Samurai sword. He carries it back there and you don't even notice it. That way it's not in the way or anything. It's just there whenever he wants it.

Spielberg - At some point in the movie he must use it to get a girl back who's walking out of the room. Wrap her up and she twirls as he pulls her back. She spins into his arms. You have to use it for more things than just saving himself.

Lucas - We'll have to work that part out. In a way it's important that it be a dangerous weapon. It looks sort of like a snake that's coiled up behind him, and any time it strikes it's a real threat.

Kasdan - Except there has to be that moment when he's alone with a can of beer and he just whips it to him.

Patrick Radden Keefe at the New Yorker read through the whole thing and has some highlights and general thoughts.

Over the intervening decades of enormous wealth and success, both Lucas and Spielberg have carefully tended their public images, so there is a voyeuristic thrill to seeing them converse in so unguarded a manner. As the screenwriters Craig Mazin and John August pointed out recently on the Scriptnotes podcast, one delight of reading the transcript is watching Spielberg throw out bad ideas, and then noting how Lucas gently shuts him down. Spielberg, who had sought to direct a Bond movie-and, astonishingly, been rejected-thought that their hero should be an avid gambler. Lucas replied that perhaps they shouldn't overload him with attributes. (Lucas himself had briefly entertained, then mercifully set aside, the notion that his archaeologist might also be a practitioner of kung fu.) There's a good reason we seldom get to spy on these conversations: really good spitballing, like improv comedy, requires a high degree of social disinhibition. So the writers' room, like a therapist's office, must remain inviolable.

(via @jcn)

Behind the scenes photos of Raiders of the Lost ArkOct 31 2012

Here's a big collection of behind the scenes photos of the filming of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Including George Lucas and Steven Spielberg looking rad.

george-lucas-steven-spielberg-looking-rad.jpg

And this scene, which scarred me for several years.

face-melting.jpg

The world's best audition (for Elliott in E.T.)Oct 15 2012

I've never seen a better audition tape than this improvised scene by Henry Thomas for the part of Elliott in E.T.

The tears were inspired by thoughts of his dead dog. And the final line from Spielberg is gold. (via @Colossal)

Raiders of the Lost Ark on IMAX!Aug 15 2012

Steven Spielberg is re-releasing Raiders of the Lost Ark in IMAX theaters for a one week engagement in early September.

Mr. Spielberg, who with the sound designer Ben Burtt supervised the conversion of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" to Imax, said that no special effects or other visual elements of the film were changed. The audio, he said, had been enhanced for surround sound: "When the boulder is rolling, chasing Indy through the cave, you really feel the boulder in your stomach, the way you do when a marching band passes by, and you're standing right next to it."

All four Jones movies will be out on Blu-ray in mid-September. (via df)

Beyond the uncanny valleyJan 04 2012

Kevin Kelly argues that Spielberg's Tintin movie passes beyond the uncanny valley into the "plains of hyperreality".

One of the great charms of the Tin Tin movie (besides its solid story, and uplifting sensibility) is the incredible degree of detail, texture, lighting, and drama that infuses every scene. Because the whole movie is synthetic, every scene can be composed perfectly, lit perfectly, arranged perfectly, and captured perfectly. There is a painterly perfection that the original Tin Tin comics had that this movie captures. This means that the stupendous detail found in say TinTin's room, or in a back alley, or on the ship's deck can be highlighted beyond what it could in reality. You SEE EVERYTHING. When TinTin's motorcycle is chasing the bad guy and begins to fall apart, nothing is obscured. Every realistic mechanical part is illuminated realistically. This technique gives a heightened sense of reality because every corner of the entire scene is heightened realistically, which cannot happen in real life, yet you only see real-looking things. This trick lends the movie a hyperreality. Its artificial world looks realer than real.

The uncanny valley issue has been less noticeable lately, but what really snaps me out of being immersed in movies lately is the Impossible Camera™. In 100% CGI shots, when cameras move quickly with sharp changes in direction over long distances, something that actual cameras can't do, it snaps me right out of the action because it's so obviously fake. For instance, any scene in the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies where Spidey is flying through Manhattan. Fay, fay, fake.

Tintin trailerMay 17 2011

Produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Steven Spielberg, it looks like an all-CGI adventure. I got sort of a Polar Express vibe from the trailer though, which is not encouraging.

(via ★fchimero)

Spielberg's Abe Lincoln movieNov 19 2010

It's called Lincoln and will be a collection of the talents of Steven Spielberg (director), Daniel Day-Lewis (plays Lincoln), Doris Kearns Goodwin (wrote the book), and Tony Kushner (screenplay).

It is anticipated that the film will focus on the political collision of Lincoln and the powerful men of his cabinet on the road to abolition and the end of the Civil War.

Steven Spielberg's Amblin'Jul 15 2008

Amblin', Steven Spielberg's first film shot on 35mm, is available on YouTube (~25 min long). Binary Bonsai has more on the first real movie that Spielberg directed (which the director now dislikes).

Spielberg's first outing is all about humanity, love, feelings, innocence and all the other softness for which he has since become almost infamous. Whatever tech-lust Spielberg might have, goes on behind the lens, not in front of it. And despite moving on to do some pretty tech-heavy films (Jurassic Park for instance), he almost always keeps the human side of things front and center.

The Whine Colored Sea issues a challenge:Nov 30 2006

The Whine Colored Sea issues a challenge: which directors, musicians, artists, authors, etc. followed a masterpiece with a bomb. Spielberg's Schindler's List followed by Jurassic Park 2 is a good example.

Spielberg's new film...a wormhole movie basedJun 22 2006

Spielberg's new film...a wormhole movie based on the work of Kip Thorne?

The friendship and rivalry of George Lucas and Steven SpielbergJun 15 2005

The friendship and rivalry of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

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