Steven Spielberg is set to make his first ever appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival with the world premiere of “The Fabelmans.” The Oscar winner’s latest is billed as a “deeply personal portrait of 20th Century American childhood.” Spielberg based the film on his own early years and co-wrote the script with his “Lincoln,” “Munich” and “West Side Story” screenwriter Tony Kushner.
The official synopsis for the movie from TIFF reads: “‘The Fabelmans’ is a coming-of-age story about a young man’s discovery of a shattering family secret and an exploration of the power of movies to help us see the truth about each other and ourselves.”
“The Fabelmans” ensemble cast includes Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Gabriel LaBelle, Jeannie Berlin, Julia Butters, Robin Bartlett, Keeley Karsten and Judd Hirsch. The film is produced by Kristie Macosko Krieger, Spielberg and Kushner.
Spielberg tapped Williams to play a character in the film based on his mother. “It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s kind of everything,” Williams told Variety of the project earlier this year. “It’s the muchness of life. We’re trying to reflect all of that.”
“My phone beeped, and I had a message that Steven wanted to talk to me,” Williams added of landing the role. “I couldn’t comprehend that he might want to work with me. I thought he had a question or something. Then he got on the Zoom and told me that he wanted me to play this person, his mama.”
“The Fabelmans” is Spielberg’s directorial follow-up to “West Side Story,” which opened in theaters last December. Although the musical adaptation crashed at the box office, it earned critical acclaim and went on to score seven Oscar nominations, including best picture and director.
“The Fablemans” is backed by Universal Pictures, which is set to release the film in theaters Nov. 11. The Toronto International Film Festival runs September 8-18.