(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)
[science fiction] Last year, the reputable film magazine Empire ranked Steven Spielberg as number one on a list of the greatest directors of all time. And that is not an unreasonable claim. Spielberg has broken one cash record after another. He has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Director six times, and received the award for Schindler's List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). His fortune is estimated at almost three billion dollars, and on Forbes' list of America's 400 richest people, he and colleague George Lucas are the only ones from the world of film.
Not only in film, but in the entire entertainment industry, Spielberg is probably the person with the most power and influence. The 60-year-old by no means looks like this, sitting relaxed in a blue everyone's shirt and khaki trousers at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, where he is placed to talk about Transformers. So the question arises: Why is the world's most powerful filmmaker wasting time producing a messy summer blockbuster about the toys Transformers, the robots that could be turned into cars – with an accompanying cartoon series that was shown in Norway on the blissful Sky Channel in the 1980s?
- There is a lot of heart in Transfomers, says
Red thread from outer space
He seems remarkably relaxed and smiles warmly. The beard is gray at the edges, but his fresh enthusiasm is not at all reminiscent of a blustery and aging Hollywood billionaire. And despite the fact that the Transformers concept may seem literally square, Spielberg believes the robots allow for a large emotional register.
- The concept is that you have Autobots, led by Optimus Prime. These robots are on Earth to protect humans from the evil plans of the robots called Decepticons, led by Megatron. They plan to turn the good robots into members of their own army. And I thought that was a great idea for a movie. Whether it will be a summer blockbuster or not remains to be seen, but it certainly smells like one, says Spielberg, who practically invented the concept "summer blockbuster" 30 years ago, in connection with the launch of Haisommer (1975) .
And space invasions have been a common theme for Spielberg. Already his first feature film, Firelight (1964), with a modest budget of $ 400 and with underpaid friends and acquaintances as actors, was about UFOs invading a small town in Arizona. The aliens try to abduct the inhabitants to exhibit them in a human zoo on their home planet.
Since then, Spielberg has repeatedly resumed contact with extraterrestrial creatures. In both Close Contact of the Third Degree (1977) and ET the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), he showed aliens as safe and trusting beings, completely in line with his own statement that he "does not think anyone would come travelers many light years away to conquer, but to seek knowledge ”. Equally, the long-distance riders in his large-scale remake of the 1950s classic War of the Worlds (2005) came with extremely frightening intentions. Spielberg's two Men in Black films also featured malignant "aliens". And in Transformers, which Spielberg also produces, there is, for once, space for both good and evil creatures from space.
Far from realism
- I think that aliens can be both good and evil, or a bit of both, like us humans, Spielberg says.
- Good and evil are in any case the starting point for a lot of drama. Well-made drama is when we as the audience have the opportunity to decide which side we want empathy for. Also the idea of these things that we can not have contact with in our everyday life, makes film exciting for me. When I as a filmmaker can bring something from another galaxy into our own world, it inspires me to the fullest.
War of the Worlds, on the other hand, was an attempt to make a realistic film about invading Earth, Spielberg says, and not intended as
a Hollywood / popcorn / adventure movie.
- The intention was also that it should remind people of what happened on September 11, 2001. But Transformers is a completely different type of film. This is more of a popcorn variant of a space invasion, with good versus evil robots, and you can put your heart and empathy into the story and get carried away.
In many ways, Spielberg keeps the child alive, and constantly admits childish inclinations. But one might think that even he was too old for the Transformers games when they came out in the 1980s.
- I watched the animated TV series about Transformers with my kids, and they loved it. Not long after, I sat on the floor with them and played with the characters from the series. In fact, it happened that I took some of the building blocks from them, because I thought I would get more out of it. I was a pretty selfish Transformers fanatic, you might say, hehe!
Spielberg liked watching his children play with these characters, and was very keen on how to put the pieces back together.
- For example, the children wanted to turn Optimus Prime from a truck to a robot, and then they would exclaim "dad, put them back together as it should be". So there I sat, struggling with the pieces as if it were some kind of Rubik's cube. So I have been in the Transformers world for about as long as I have been a father, and I thought it was high time that this became a summer movie.
Spielberg almost overflows with enthusiasm when he talks about play and childish pleasures. Appropriately, it was also precisely in the midst of a play he discovered his abilities as a filmmaker. According to the myth, he started filming early with his dad's 8mm camera, and took entrance fees for neighbors to come and see them in his arranged home theater, while little sister Anne sold popcorn.
- Yep, that's right, confirms Spielberg with a nostalgic smile.
- I used my dad's camera to film my electric Lionel train set. I did it primarily because I wanted to see the trains crash again and again. Dad once said that "if I have to fix these train carriages again, I'll take the train set from you." So I made an accident without telling him, and fixed the broken trains all by myself. I remember watching the movie with the train crash several times, and it gives me a perverted feeling that I had done something I shouldn't. In fact, it was this that started my film career. That was the beginning. ■
Translated and edited by
Nils Vermund Gjerstad.