×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Spielberg encounters close choices to direct

Pix piling up for helmer

“Harry Potter,” “A.I.” or “Minority Report”?

It’s the end of the year and although Steven Spielberg is already safely ensconced in the Hamptons for the holidays, he’s inching ever closer to a decision about what to direct next.

This appears to be the longest gap in the prolific helmer’s 30-year career since he co-directed “Night Games” for U TV in 1969. The holdup is interesting for several reasons:

Since Spielberg is the only A-list director who also controls a movie studio, he could have the pick of the litter. Instead, his hesitation to commit has direct consequences.

For one thing, it piles up other top DreamWorks projects like “Memoirs of a Geisha” and biopic “Lindbergh” on the development runway.

For someone who could have home-grown a movie, Spielberg is instead flirting with projects that originated elsewhere.

Case in point: Over at Warner Bros., which gave Spielberg an exclusive peek at the 138-page first draft of the “Harry Potter” script adaptation more than two weeks ago, it’s getting to be crunch time if the studio doesn’t want to lose the helmer to the Tom Cruise project “Minority Report,” which Spielberg’s CAA reps are said to be pushing.

Kubrick treatment

Spielberg is also still mulling whether to pursue pet project “A.I.,” which he is writing himself. “A.I.” stands for Artificial Intelligence and was born as a treatment by the late Stanley Kubrick; for years it looked like Kubrick’s next project at WB before “Eyes Wide Shut.”

Spielberg will likely return in early January for a sit-down with “Potter” screenwriter Steve Kloves, WB prexy/chief operating officer Alan Horn and production prexy Lorenzo di Bonaventura to lay out his vision for the movie.

Spielberg, who earlier had been said to favor a computer-animated version of the “Potter” pic, might choose to stay on as producer even if he declines to helm, thereby opening up the field to an audition process for a group of directors that has stayed almost the same since early autumn, when the project began heating up.

Among those champing at the bit are Robert Zemeckis, Jonathan Demme, Brad Silberling, Rob Reiner, Mike Newell and Tim Robbins; the latter was not on the list earlier.

Even if Spielberg stays on to produce with one of these directors, Warners would still likely have to split upwards of 40% of the gross with him — making it an expensive proposition no matter what is decided. It is, however, a price the studio might be willing to pay, since it is traditionally weak in developing hit pics for young adults.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Dances Toward $32 Million Opening Weekend

    “Hustlers” is eyeing the biggest opening weekend ever for STXFilms, following a Friday domestic ticket haul of $13.1 million from 3,250 theaters. If estimates hold, the stripper saga could take home around $32 million come Sunday, marking the best live-action opening of Jennifer Lopez’s career. “Hustlers” follows a group of former strip club dancers, led [...]

  • Hustlers intimacy coordinator

    Meet the Stripper Consultant Who Gave 'Hustlers' Authenticity, Dignity and Sexual Freedom

    At last week’s Toronto Film Festival premiere of “Hustlers,” an audience of Hollywood heavyweights and Canadian locals applauded as a statuesque woman strutted on stage, rocking six-inch platform heels and a pastel tie-dye bodysuit. This adoration was not for stars Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu or Keke Palmer, nor was it for the film’s acclaimed writer-director [...]

  • Kristen Stewart

    French Director Olivier Assayas Pays Tribute to Kristen Stewart at Deauville

    French director Olivier Assayas paid tribute to Kristen Stewart, whom he directed in “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Personal Shopper,” at the Deauville American Film Festival on Friday evening. Stewart received a honorary award in Deauville before the French premiere of Benedict Andrews’s “Seberg” in which the actress stars as Jean Seberg, a French New [...]

  • Liam Gallagher: As It Was

    Film Review: 'Liam Gallagher: As It Was'

    Liam Gallagher is nearly as fascinating a rock ‘n’ roll figure as he thinks he is … which is saying a lot. After the breakup of Oasis, one of the most self-avowedly arrogant stars in pop culture found himself severely humbled, fighting to become relevant again without the help of Noel, his ex-bandmate and, for [...]

  • The Vast of Night

    Toronto Film Review: 'The Vast of Night'

    It’s the first high school basketball game of the season and all of Cayuga, N.M., population 492, is cheering on the Statesmen at the gym. Except for the town’s two brightest kids, Everett (Jake Horowitz) and Fay (Sierra McCormick), who are strolling through the empty darkness to their respective jobs as a radio DJ and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content