Julia Butters — the young actor who stole scenes outright from Leonardo DiCaprio in “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” — will play a character inspired by Steven Spielberg’s sister in the filmmaker’s untitled semi-autobiographical film about his childhood.
She’ll join Michelle Williams, Paul Dano and Seth Rogen, who are playing characters loosely based on Spielberg’s mother, father, and favorite uncle, respectively, and newcomer Gabriel LaBelle, who is playing the character based on a young Spielberg.
For the first time since 2001’s “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence,” Spielberg is credited as a co-writer of the screenplay, along with regular collaborator Tony Kushner (“Lincoln,” “West Side Story”). Spielberg and Kushner are also producing the film with Kristie Macosko Krieger, through Amblin Partners. Production is set to start in the summer, with a release in 2022, most likely through Amblin’s existing distribution deal with Universal.
The film is drawing from Spielberg’s experiences when his family lived in Arizona in the late 1950s and ’60s, which coincided with his earliest experiments with making home movies. Spielberg has three younger sisters, the oldest of which, Anne, followed her brother into feature filmmaking, working at his production company Amblin Entertainment, before co-writing the 1988 comedy “Big” with Gary Ross. Butters’ character, however, is her own creation, not based on a specific sibling.
After walking away with every scene she had in Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 love letter to old Hollywood, Butters became an overnight star. Now 12 years old, she’s currently shooting the Russo brothers’ thriller “The Gray Man” with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans.
Deadline first reported Butters’ casting.