Steven Spielberg on his reluctance to do more action films

News Simon Brew 24 Oct 2012 - 06:34
Steven Spielberg

The days of the Steven Spielberg-directed action movie may well be over...

We missed this a day or two back, so hope you'll forgive us for jumping back to cover it. We're talking about an interview that Steven Spielberg gave with 60 Minutes in the run up to the US release of his latest movie, Lincoln (which stars Daniel Day Lewis).

In the interview, Spielberg talked about the kind of films that he's now interested in making, and just as interestingly, the ones that he's not. Talking about the fact that Lincoln features no special effects and no action sequences, Spielberg said that "I knew I could do the action in my sleep at this point in my career".

He added that "in my life, the action doesn't hold any - it doesn't attract me anymore".

Given Spielberg's pedigree in action cinema - the Indiana Jones trilogy for a start (we obviously continue to renounce the existence of the fabled fourth movie) - it'd be something of a shame to think he's not got one or two more films in the genre yet to come. But then, his next project is the adaptation of Daniel H Wilson's Robopocalypse, and the book to that is hardly shy of action sequences. Maybe that'll be his last such film.

Spielberg's comments do seem to make another Indiana Jones film an even longer shot. When you consider that George Lucas has already all but backed out of making big films too, Indy's big screen adventures may have come to a close.

The 60 Minutes interview is here.

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I don't see why they won't be involved in a production role and pass the directing duties onto someone they have confidence in.

I'm fine with no more Spielberg or Lucas action films as they seem to have lost the inspiration for these things in recent years anyway. I'd much rather have them work on projects that excite them and stir up their talent rather than pumping out films just because they're expected to.

"I knew I could do the action in my sleep at this point in my career".
I guess that explains Indiana Jones 4. Mr. Spielberg was sleeping when he made that movie.

It still never ceases to amaze me the rabid hate Indy 4 gets. While it's certainly not as 'good' as the previous films, it was far from awful. Certainly better than a lot of the turd burgers I've seen over the years.

Then again it's just like the rabid hate the Star Wars prequels got. All of which I'm increasingly putting down to a massive dose of rose tint heaped on the originals. People seem to lack perspective when it comes to films they saw in their childhood.

I thought Indy 4 was alright, but after Phantom Menace I had diminished expectations. Watching it now, it's clear that Spielberg's heart not in it as nearly as much as it was for the originals. As for Spielberg's future, for me out of his most recent efforts, the ones I've enjoyed the most have been the ones with the least action. Catch Me If You Can is possibly one of my favourite Spielberg films and if he can continue to make films of that quality, then I'll be a happy man.

He said just last month that he and everybody involved would be fully up for Indy 5, if Lucas could just do a script for it. So I think he's probably reluctant, yeah, but Indy remains a bit of a special case for him. Not saying it'll happen of course.

"the Indiana Jones trilogy for a start (we obviously continue to renounce the existence of the fabled fourth movie)"

Didn't you guys give KotCS a four star review???

I agree. I preferred KOTCS to Last Crusade if truth be told. George gets way too much hate. I find The Phantom Menace induces sleep not hate. The Clone Wars series is wicked.

Oh I ain't gonna lie the best thing about the Phantom Menace is the duel at the end the rest of it's fairly forgettable but I could say that about the entire series not just the prequels. That's not to say I don't like them, but keep it in perspective is all I'm trying to say.

the internet is full of sheep who must share the same opinion or get "flamed"

I wonder what Spielberg considers "action" though. I'm thinking specifically of Munich, one of my favourite Spielberg films. It's often characterized as a "drama" but the action bits are tremendously choreographed and shot.

I was never too bothered about the Star Wars prequels, yeah they were poor and a wasted opportunity but not the worst films I ever saw. Then I watched the Phantom Menace again recently along with the third film and my opinion has actually got worse. The cliche story and shockingly cheesy dialogue really made me think what could have been in the hands of a good writer/director.

funny for a man who never directed an action movie (in case you feel like Indiana Jones is one, forget it, that's adventure, Die Hard or First Blood are action movies).

Yeah but hasn't his reasoning for the films being the way they are inspired by old cinema serials like Flash Gordon so they're supposed to be a bit hammy.

Having said that, I too view the prequels as a massive missed opportunity and have often speculated on how they could have been done better. Personally my chief wish would have been to have the prequels mirror the originals. Following Anakins journey rather than (seemingly) Obi-Wans.

Lose most (if not all) of the Phantom Menace, get to training Anakin and have the end of Episode One be the break out of the Clone Wars. Then Ep2 could have focused on the Clone Wars and Anakin/Padme's romance, with the ending being Anakins fall to the Darkside, the destruction of the Temple and Rise of the Empire. Padme flees Anakin after his fall and goes into hiding. Epidsode 3 can then blend better into Ep4. Have it be about the birth of the Rebel Alliance and the break out of the rebellion against the Empire, but could end much like Lucas version with the Obi-Wan/Anakin battle and the birth of the Skywalker twins.

Obviously needs fleshing out but that would be the general arc I'd aim for.

Not as good, induces sleep, forgettable. It's what you say about Phantom menace. It's all attributes of a bad movie. It was same for the next two.

You have no more demands for great movies. Dull or boring is enough.

If course the old prequel are not that great but empire strike back is still a pretty beautiful movie with a wonderful score by George Williams and at theater release nothing else was that impressive for children and teens. It was that exciting.

The new trilogy was not able to be beyond a mere blockbuster of 2000s, they were just forgettable, inducing sleeps action movies... As you say, and that is pretty boring. Not great movies.

Why the hate ? The new movies were significantly different in tone and spirit from the wild heroic adventures of old.

Indy 4 was boring, not inspired, badly acted (or just dull acting) and maybe just entertaining like Indy 2, not more.

These movies don't deserve hate but no one loves them. No one will be a fan of them. They are inducing sleeps...

Not "old prequel" but "old trilogy"

Indy 4 IS awful with a few moments (the 1st half hour's decent), but honestly Flashman, the reason why people hate the star wars prequesls is because they are bad to such an unreal and barely comprehensible extent that the whole shebang still makes my jaw drop in incredulity to this very day. it's not because people hate, had unfair expectations, wear rose tinted glasses, it's because the prequels are shockingly shockingly bad! hahaha

Well I beg to differ about Star Wars. They're repeating it on TV lately and I decided to let my 5 and 7 year old sons watch a New Hope. It could barely hold their attention. They were honestly so bored they'd lost interest well before the end. We had to turn it off.

Comparing that to how much they enjoyed Attack of the Clones, I'm inclined to stand by my assertion that the Original trilogy is well and truly overrated. Yes the prequels can be hammy, but considering the kind of films they're trying to ape and the audience they're aimed at (children) I take no issue with that.

You know...Indiana Jones 4 made over 783 million dollars around the world in theatrical release and millions more in DVD/Blue Ray/all other rights...and while it wasn't the best of the bunch, it was right up there with Temple Of Doom. So for all you "hipsters" and "to cool for the room" types....783 million means many people saw this movie more than once and that it wasn't just a curiosity....It's also number 38 on the all-time top grossing film list.....It wasn't Raiders but to quote Spielberg: "Crystal Skull was VERY successful for us." Yes, it was....

Some of you critics, the ones that live in your mother's basements and spend your whole day playing video games have a lot to say about what sucks and what doesn't. Indy IV wasn't great but it was was entertaining enough. It was an Indiana Jones film for crissakes! Same thing with the Star Wars prequels. Ladies, relax.

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