"Matt Damon ad-libbed the story he tells towards the end of the film, about spying on his brother in the barn with the 'ugly' girl. As described in Peter Bart's book, The Gross, the speech was rambling and not particularly funny or interesting, but the crew decided that's why it worked; it was true to an unformed kid like Ryan, fated to be at the center of this incredible operation. Steven Spielberg liked it so much he decided to leave it in the film."
"Several decades after the release of Jaws (1975), Lee Fierro, who played Mrs. Kintner, walked into a seafood restaurant and noticed that the menu had an 'Alex Kintner Sandwich.' She commented that she had played his mother so many years ago. The owner of the restaurant ran out to meet her, and he was none other than Jeffrey Voorhees, who had played her son. They had not seen each other since the original movie shoot."
"Steven Spielberg offered the job of director to Roman Polanski. Polanski turned it down because the subject was too personal. He had lived in the Krakow ghetto until the age of 8, when he escaped on the day of the liquidation. His mother later died at the Auschwitz concentration camp. After learning this, Spielberg immediately and repeatedly apologized for bringing up such a traumatic memory. Polanski would later direct his own film about the Holocaust, The Pianist in 2002."
"Traditionally when one of his films is about to open, George Lucas goes on vacation to get away from all the hoopla. As Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) was just about to open, Lucas went to Hawaii, where he was joined by Steven Spielberg. When the grosses for Lucas' film came in, and it was clear that his movie was going to be a hit, Lucas relaxed, and was able to discuss other topics with his friend. It was at this poin, that Spielberg confessed he always wanted to direct a James Bond film, to which Lucas told him he had a much better idea, an adventure movie called Raiders of the Lost Ark. The conversation came up while the two were making a sand castle. After their trip, they got together and developed the script with Lawrence Kasdan."
"Bob Balaban had not spoken French since high school. When Spielberg, over the phone, asked if he did speak French, he answered in bad French that he did not speak much, half hoping that someone in the room, overhearing the call, could at least know enough French to hear that he was no good at it. No one did. Balaban auditioned in French. The actor attended Berlitz classes and spent hours talking to Truffaut in preparation for his role. In 1980, the two filmed additional footage for the revised Special Edition of "Encounters."
"Daniel Day-Lewis originally turned down the role of Abraham Lincoln, in Lincoln. He sent Steven Spielberg this letter: 'Dear Steven. It was a real pleasure just to sit and talk with you. I listened very carefully to what you had to say about this compelling history, and I've since read the script and found it - in all the detail of which it describes these monumental events and in the compassionate portraits of all the principle characters - both powerful and moving. I can't account for how at any given moment I feel the need to explore one life as opposed to another. But I do know that I can only do this work if I feel almost as if there's no choice; that a subject coincides inexplicably with a very personal need and a very specific moment in time. In this case, as fascinated as I was by 'Abe,' it was the fascination of a grateful spectator who longed to see a story told rather than that of a participant. That's how I feel now in spite of myself, and though I can't be sure this won't change, I couldn't dream of encouraging you to keep it open on a mere possibility. I do hope this makes sense Steven. I'm glad you're making the film. I wish you the strength for it and I send both my very best wishes and my sincere gratitude to you for having considered me. Daniel.'"
"For the last seven minutes of A.I., composer John Williams wrote a piano concerto, and it went over the length of the film. Steven Spielberg stopped the projector and told Williams to just let the music continue. Spielberg, along with his editor Michael Kahn, then re-edited the last seven minutes of movie into Williams' piano concerto. Spielberg did a similar thing years before, for E.T. (1982), where he and Carol Littleton edited the last 15 minutes into Williams' music.
"Before production, Steven Spielberg felt very insecure about being director of the film. In fact, his initial response to Quincy Jones' request was no. Spielberg felt that his knowledge of the deep South was inadequate, and that the film should've been directed by someone of color, who could've at least related to the struggles faced by many black people living in the old south. Jones then argued, 'No, I want you to do it, and besides, did you have to be an alien to direct E.T. (1982)?' Spielberg appreciated his friend's logic, and decided to take the role as director of the film."
"The Aston Martin DB5 that was seen in the movie was sourced by Autosport Designs, Inc. of Huntington Station, New York, a specialist exotic car dealership. DreamWorks contacted Autosport Designs and asked if they could supply a silver DB5. However, they did not have one in stock and instead contacted a customer and arranged for his car to be used. The car is the same make and model used in the movie Goldfinger (1964), one of Steven Spielberg's personal favorite films."
"Although Steven Spielberg reduced the color saturation of the movie by sixty percent for artistic reasons, both major American satellite providers (DirecTV and Dish Newtork) and numerous cable television providers turned up the chroma gain to re-enhance the color saturation to normal-looking levels while broadcasting the movie. They did this, because on the first day or two of the movie's broadcast run, their customer service centers were swamped with calls from viewers complaining that something was wrong with the color."
"The filmmakers of E.T. had requested that M&M's be used to lure the alien. The Mars company denied their request, fearing that E.T. was so ugly that he would frighten children, so Reese's Pieces were used instead. As a direct result, Reese's Pieces sales skyrocketed. Because of this, more and more companies began requesting that their products be used in movies -- a common practice which was done previously with the James Bond film franchise, (the end credits of a Bond film prior to 1982 have had their end credits when contributing companies had their product used in a feature film). Although, contrary to popular belief, this was not the birth of product placement. This had been done before in Superman (1978) when a young Clark Kent (Jeff East) gets up one morning, there is a box of Cheerio's on the table next to his bed. It would be done again in Love at First Bite (1979) when, at 37:48, a can of Tab cola would be shown on a shelf. The film's novelization still referred to the candies as M&M's as opposed to Reece's Pieces."
"At one point during filming, young Drew Barrymore was consistently forgetting her lines, annoying Steven Spielberg to the point where he actually raised his voice at her. He later found out that she had come to work with a very high fever. Feeling guilty, Spielberg hugged her and apologized repeatedly as she cried. He then sent her home with a note from her director."
"Steven Spielberg oversaw the post-production of Jurassic Park via video link while in Poland filming Schindler's List (1993). He later called it one of the hardest times in his life as a filmmaker: the filming of the Holocaust-themed Schindler's List took such an emotional toll on him, that his enthusiasm for Jurassic Park had almost waned. He said that he needed an hour per day to get into the right frame of mind, and muster up the energy, and patience, to comment on digital dinosaurs, and answer trivial questions from the special effects crew."
"The T-rex occasionally malfunctioned, due to the rain. Producer Kathleen Kennedy recalls, 'The T-rex went into the heebie-jeebies sometimes. Scared the crap out of us. We'd be, like, eating lunch, and all of a sudden a T-rex would come alive. At first, we didn't know what was happening, and then we realized it was the rain. You'd hear people start screaming.'"
"Months before he landed the title role, Liam Neeson had auditioned for Schindler. Assuming that he'd never get the part, he accepted an offer to play opposite his wife-to-be Natasha Richardson, in a Broadway revival of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie, at New York's Criterion Center in 1993. After a performance one evening, Neeson was in his dressing room when a knock on the his door announced the arrival of Steven Spielberg, wife Kate Capshaw and her mother. After Spielberg had introduced his wife and mother-in-law, Neeson hugged the older woman in a manner that stuck with Capshaw, who later commented to husband Steven, 'That's just what Oskar Schindler would have done.' Neeson received a call a week later from Spielberg, with the offer of the lead role."
During the scene where Indiana threatens the Nazis with a Panzerfaust, you can clearly see a fly creeping into the mouth of Paul Freeman. Contrary to popular belief, he did not swallow it. Freeman explained in an interview, years later, that the fly flew off at about the instant he uttered the word "bad," but Steven Spielberg noticed it and decided it would be funny to cut out a few frames so the fly would not be seen flying away. This made it look as though Freeman ate it, and he found the edit highly amusing. Empire Magazine chose this scene as one of the most common scenes for which people press the 'Pause' button on their VCRs.
"During pre-production, director Steven Spielberg, accompanied by friends Martin Scorsese, George Lucas and John Milius, visited the effects shop where 'Bruce' the shark was being constructed. Lucas stuck his head in the shark's mouth to see how it worked and, as a joke, Milius and Spielberg snuck to the controls and made the jaw clamp shut on Lucas' head. Unfortunately, and rather prophetically, considering the later technical difficulties the production would suffer, the shark malfunctioned, and Lucas got stuck in the mouth of the shark. When Spielberg and Milius were finally able to free him, the three men ran out of the workshop, afraid they had done major damage to the creature."
"Steven Spielberg was originally aiming for a Summer 1978 release date for Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, but Columbia Pictures - on the verge of bankruptcy - spurred him to finish it for late 1977. This meant that Spielberg felt rushed, and had left important elements out of the film. Because of the large success on its first theatrical run, Columbia was happy to give Spielberg another $2 million to film the interior of the alien spaceship for 'The Special Edition.' In retrospect, Spielberg now acknowledges that doing all of this addition was unnecessary."
"Sally Field was so determined to play Mary Todd Lincoln that she begged Steven Spielberg for the chance to screen test alongside Daniel Day-Lewis. Spielberg believed she was too old to play the part, but Field was adamant. She recalled, 'I'm ten years older than Daniel and twenty years older than Abraham Lincoln's wife was and Steven told me he didn't see me in the role. But I knew I was right for this part and begged him to let me audition for it. He was kind enough to do that and Daniel is such a sweetheart that he flew over from his home in Ireland to screen test with me. I'll love him forever for that.'"
"The World Trade Center is seen in the New York scenes of the film, set many years into the future after 2001. Less than three months after the film's release, they were destroyed in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Though risking controversy and criticism, Steven Spielberg left the twin towers in the DVD release."
"Steven Spielberg admits that his greatest mistake in directing this film was his lack of courage portraying the lesbian relationship between Celie and Shug. At the time of filming, Spielberg feared that overt intimacy between the two characters would alienate audiences, a decision he now regrets."
"The scenes in the French classroom and the library were filmed at McKinley School in Pasadena, California. During spring break, six months after the film's release, to the school administration's surprise, the production crew came back and removed all of the set pieces that had been left behind. The school had been using the props ever since filming was completed."
"Many veterans of D-Day congratulated director Steven Spielberg for the film's authenticity, as did actor James Doohan, who is best known for playing Scotty in Star Trek (1966). Doohan lost the middle finger of his right hand and was wounded in the leg during the war. Also, he participated in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, at Juno Beach, where the 3rd Canadian infantry division led the attack. He commended Spielberg for not leaving out any gory details."
"E.T. was the highest grossing film of 1982. It became the most successful movie in film history until Steven Spielberg beat that record with Jurassic Park (1993), released on the same date, 11 years later, on June 11. In a strange coincidence, the next film to snatch that title was Titanic (1997), and James Cameron also outdistanced himself with Avatar (2009)."
An accident during the filming of Jaws caused the Orca to begin sinking. Director Steven Spielberg began screaming over a bullhorn for the nearby safety boats to rescue the actors. John R. Carter, already up to his knees in water on the sinking Orca, held his Nagra (tape recorder) up over his head and screamed, "[Bleep] the actors, save the sound department!" During the accident, the film camera was submerged, so its film, still submerged in sea water, was assumed to be ruined. However, once it was realized that developing solution is saline, the film was flown to a New York film lab, and technicians didn't lose any of it. The accident is described starting at 01:30:07 in "The Making of Jaws" on the 30th Anniversary edition DVD.
Dennis Muren suggested most of the full sized dinosaurs could be done on the computer from head to toe, but he had to prove it first to Steven Spielberg, which he did with a skeletal Gallimimus herd running through a field. Spielberg was so blown away by the scene, especially when a fleshy T-Rex arrived on the scene, that he and Tippett looked at each other and Tippett said, "I think we're extinct". Spielberg liked the line and gave it to Jeff Goldblum to say to Sam Neill in the Visitor's Centre.
"During the production of Schindler's List, the atmosphere was so grim and depressing that Steven Spielberg asked his friend Robin Williams if he could tell some jokes and do comedy sketches while Spielberg would watch episodes of Seinfeld (1989). Some of Williams' sketches, played through the speakerphone to the cast and crew, ended up being part of dialogue material for Williams' character in Aladdin (1992), the Genie."
"When Brody first goes to Indy's house to discuss the mission, Jones is dressed the way he is because he was supposed to have been entertaining a young woman in his bedroom. The script originally planned to show her before moving to the next scene, to give Indy a more worldly persona (like James Bond). However, her appearance was cut, as Steven Spielberg thought that being a playboy, did not fit Indy's character."
The John Williams score was created before the film was edited. Steven Spielberg edited the film to match the music, a reverse of what is usually done in the film scoring process. Both Spielberg and Williams felt that it ultimately gave the film a lyrical feel.
Steven Spielberg has explained that during the movie's climactic scene in which the names of House of Representative members are being called to vote on the 13th Amendment, the names of many of the men who voted 'No' -- for various reasons -- were actually changed in the film, so as not to embarrass the living descendants of these men whose reputations might have been stained by their negative vote-casting.
"A.I. Artificial Intelligence pioneered the idea of the virtual studio, a technique which allowed Steven Spielberg to walk through a virtual version of Rouge City with his camera and select shots. This technique was later used on The Lord of the Rings films."
"Alice Walker, author of the source novel, attended the rushes at the end of filming each day, yet she was horrified with the final cut of the film, especially what she referred to as the Oklahoma-type opening scene. However, at the premiere, when she watched the movie with an enthusiastic audience, she changed her mind. She now says she likes the film very much, but thinks of it as being very different from her book."
"At 13 minutes and 13 seconds into the bonus material The Casting of the Film, Steven Spielberg is seen wearing a matching blue top and cap. The cap has 'FBI' written on the front in white letters. At 13 minutes and 28 seconds, Steven Spielberg is seen wearing the same shade of blue in a denim top and cap. The cap has 'E.T.' written on the front in white letters."