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Why Steven Spielberg keeps returning to his childhood

The legendary director is making a movie inspired by his upbringing in 1950s suburbia, but this is hardly the first time he has drawn inspiration from his early years

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ET

ET

Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1981)

Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1981)

Steven Spielberg on the set of ET, his 1982 masterpiece

Steven Spielberg on the set of ET, his 1982 masterpiece

Liam Neeson in Schindler’s List (1994)

Liam Neeson in Schindler’s List (1994)

Spielberg with his parents Arnold and Leah

Spielberg with his parents Arnold and Leah

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ET

Steven Spielberg is making a new film inspired by his childhood. It will be set in Phoenix, Arizona in the late 1950s and early 60s, and Michelle Williams is in talks to play a character loosely based on his mother, Leah. Filming is due to begin this summer, with a release scheduled for next year.

It’s a surprising move for a man who loves discussing films but has a strong aversion to talking about himself. He has never written an autobiography, and in interviews has become adept at deflecting personal questions. But his formative years had a huge influence on his work, especially on early films such as ET, Close Encounters and even the Indiana Jones movies.


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