Steven Spielberg is in the running for another best director Oscar thanks to “The Fabelmans,” an autobiographical drama about the filmmaker’s childhood that also wrestles with the choice artists must make between family and art. In a recent interview with “RRR” director S.S. Rajamouli, Spielberg said that a real-life conflict between art and family hit him later in his career when he had to decide between raising his children in Los Angeles or going to London to direct Warner Bros.’ first “Harry Potter” movie.
“The personal meaning about [how the conflict between] art and family will tear you in half happened to me later, after I had already established myself as a filmmaker, as a working director,” Spielberg said. “Kate [Capshaw] and I started raising a family and we started having children. The choice I had to make was taking a job that would move me to another country for four or five months where I wouldn’t see my family every day…That was a ripping kind of experience.”
“There were several films I chose not to make,” Spielberg continued. “I chose to turn down the first ‘Harry Potter’ to basically spend that next year and a half with my family, my young kids growing up. So I’d sacrificed a great franchise, which today looking back I’m very happy to have done, to be with my family.”
Chris Columbus ended up directing “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which launched Warner Bros.’ eight-film franchise. The movie was shot in London, which is why Spielberg decided to remain in the U.S. and raise his children. That doesn’t mean Spielberg stopped directing, however. The filmmaker shot “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” during the same time period in 2000 that the first “Harry Potter” movie was filmed, the only difference being “A.I” was predominantly filmed in Los Angeles so Spielberg was able to stay close to his family.
Not only is Spielberg a best director nominee this year for “The Fabelmans,” but he is also nominated for screenwriting for the first time in his career. The movie is nominated for a total of seven Academy Awards, including best picture.