Even a Hollywood legend like Steven Spielberg found the idea of an authorized documentary slightly unsettling. The director confessed as much during Tuesday night’s premiere of HBO’s “Spielberg” on the Paramount lot.
“This is a brand new experience for me,” he admitted on the red carpet in tandem with director Susan Lacy.
Spielberg said his familiarity with Lacy’s three decades of work on PBS’s “American Masters” eased the stress of being the subject of a film.
“There were a few times I felt uncomfortable because the questions were challenging me to retrieve memories that I had buried,” he allowed. “Susan was very astute and compassionate to get me to talk about those moments. But there were many more moments to make me realize how lucky I am and how blessed I am. So, all in all, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had.”
Lacy said there was enough material for a six-part series.
“It was delightful to find out that he really is as nice as I thought he was,” she added. “He never asked for a single change. A lot of artists can’t talk about their own work or they’re reluctant to do so. He talked about film as intelligently as anyone I’ve ever talked to.”
The event drew Martin Short, Mitch Glazer, Josh Gad, Kelly Lynch, Bob Odenkirk, Vin Diesel, Edgar Ramirez, Jeffrey Katzenberg, HBO programming president Casey Bloys, Paramount chief Jim Gianopulos, “Jaws” cinematographer Bill Butler and many others.
Odenkirk, whose credits date back to “Saturday Night Live” in the late ’80s, said that appearing as journalist Ben Bagdikian in Spielberg’s upcoming “The Post” is a career highlight.
“He’s a very precise director. He lets you go but he also knows exactly what he wants,” Odenkirk said. “He’s orchestrating it down to the smallest moment. So it was nerve-racking for a couple of weeks. But then we did a very intense scene with Jesse Plemons and he was happy with that, so then it was a lot of fun.”
A delighted Diesel hugged Spielberg and recalled that his career took off after playing rifleman Adrian Caparzo in 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan.” “I owe everything to Steven,” he added.
“Spielberg” airs Oct. 7 on HBO.