30 Surprising Things Most People Don’t Know About Steven Spielberg.

This article is based on "Steven Spielberg Trivia - IMDB" and "10 Interesting Steven Spielberg Facts You Might Not Know". If you're interested in reading more, check out the links at the bottom of the article.



2/30 Spielberg received permission to film Schindler's List inside Auschwitz but chose not to out of respect for the victims. The scenes in the camp were actually filmed on an identical set constructed outside the gates.

3/30 Steven was bullied and mistreated by both students and teachers for years in school because of his inability to read and presumed laziness. He was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia. He explained how much filmmaking has helped him saying, it "kind of saved me from shame, from guilt, from putting it on myself when it wasnt my burden. I think making movies was my great escape, it was how I could get away from all that.

4/30 He was the first living person to have a playable Lego figure modelled after him.

5/30 After numerous complaints about violence and gore in otherwise family-friendly films like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins, Steven suggested a new intermediate rating between PG and R. PG-13 was introduced for films that had too much adult content to be rated PG but not enough content for an R-rating. The first film distributed with this rating was Red Dawn in 1984.

6/30 Steven Spielberg was slated to produce Shrek in 1991 when it was pitched as a hand-drawn animation starring Bill Murray and Steve Martin.

7/30 Spielberg went on record to say that he made The Last Crusade for two reasons: to fulfill a three-picture obligation with George Lucas and to atone for the backlash he received for Temple of Doom.



8/30 UK Prime Minister Tony Blair personally invited Spielberg to film Band of Brothers in the UK. In return, Spielberg hired Blair's son Euan as runner for the production.

9/30 While filming the underwater scenes of War of the Worlds, Spielberg pulled a prank on Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning by playing dramatic music from Jaws through the massive underwater speakers on the sound stage.

10/30 When Spielberg was 16 he wrote and directed Firelight on a $500 budget. He cast his high school friends, used his own garage as the set, and composed the film's score on his clarinet. The movie was screened at the Phoenix Little Theatre in Arizona where the admission fee was $1/person. Though 500 people came, Spielberg received a profit of just $1.

11/30 Despite being nominated for 16 Academy Awards and 15 Golden Globes, Spielberg has only won 7 total awards: Best Director and Best Picture for Schindler's List (Academy and Golden Globe), Best Director for Saving Private Ryan (Academy and Golden Globe), and Best Animated Film for The Adventures of Tin-Tin(Golden Globe). He also received two honorary awards: The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

12/30 While filming E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Drew Barrymore kept forgetting her lines, which annoyed Spielberg to the point that he yelled at her. He later found out that she had come to set that day with a high fever. He hugged her, apologized, and sent her home with a note from the director.

13/30 Spielberg's proudest moment in War Horse was only using digital effects for three shots in the last 3 seconds to ensure the safety of the horse involved. He wanted everything you see on screen to really happen.

14/30 Spielberg insisted that all his royalties and residuals from Schindler's List be given to the Shoah Foundation, which records and preserves testimonies from survivors of genocide.

15/30 When the Jaws schedule ran 100 days over schedule and actor Robert Shaw was a belligerent mess, Spielberg lost it. On the last day of shooting he wore his most expensive clothes so that the cast wouldn't dunk him in the water. As soon as the shot was captured, he jumped in a speedboat and sped shoreward yelling, "I shall not return."



16/30 Spielberg always keeps one eye closed when framing a shot so that he can visualize the film in 2D, the way viewers would, but for The Adventures of Tin-Tin he kept both eyes open to treat it like a live-action 3D film.

17/30 Close Encounters of the Third Kind was inspired by a moment in Steven's childhood when his parents rushed the children into the car one night and drove out to an area with strangers to watch a meteor shower.

18/30 Spielberg purchased both Clark Gable and Bette Davis' Oscar statuettes from actions to protect them from further commercial exploitation. He returned both to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

19/30 Spielberg exclusively uses Michael Kahn as his editor, except for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial which was edited by Carol Littleton because the two films were filmed simultaneously. War Horse was their first film to be edited digitally but after the experience the two swore off digital editing in favour of analog flatbed editing, saying that digital editing rushed their creative process too much.

20/30 Both of Robbie's terrors in Poltergeist come from Steven's childhood: a fear of clowns and a big tree outside his window.

21/30 Spielberg applied to the University of Souther California's film school but was turned down due to poor grades. He attended California State University, Long Beach instead where he majored in English and was offered an unpaid internship at Universal Studios in the editing department. He was given the opportunity to make a short film for theatrical release and created Amblin. Studio executives were so impressed by the film that they offered him a seven-year directing contract, making him the youngest director ever to be signed to a long-term deal with a major Hollywood studio. He dropped out of college to take the contract but eventually finished his degree through an independent projects program. The university waived its requirement that all senior film majors submit a 12-minute short film, accepting Schindler's List instead. He graduated in 2002 with a B.A. in film production. The orchestra played the theme from Indiana Jones as he crossed the stage to graduate.

22/30 To brighten his mood every night after filming Schindler's List, Steven would watch reruns of Seinfeld.


23/30 Steven has received both the Order of the British Empire and Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

24/30 One of the best moments of Spielberg's life was when director David Lean screened Lawrence of Arabia with him and gave him a live director's commentary. He said that the experience of learning from a true master helped him make better pictures and influenced every movie he's made since.

25/30 According to an interview from Inside the Actors Studio, his favourite curse word is "Rats!"

26/30 Steven has received multiple awards acknowledging his sensitivity dealing with difficult subject matter. He received the Germany's Cross of Merit for his sensible representation of Germany's history in Schindler's List and the Distinguished Public Service Award, the US Navy's highest civilian honour, for Saving Private Ryan.

27/30 Spielberg is one of nine directors to win a Golden Globe, Director's Guild, BAFTA, and Academy Award for the same movie: Schindler's List. He joins Mike Nichols (The Graduate), Milos Forman (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest), Richard Attenborough (Gandhi), Oliver Stone (Platoon), Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain), Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), and Alejandro G. Irritu (The Revenant).

28/30 Spielberg has a habit of putting his pets in his most famous movies. His cocker spaniel Elmer appeared in The Sugarland Express, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1941, and Jaws.

29/30 To date, he has never provided a director's commentary on any of his film's DVDs.

30/30 When Spielberg showed John Williams an edit of Schindler's List, Williams was so moved he had to take a walk outside to collect himself. When he returned he told Spielberg he deserved a better composer. Spielberg replied, "I know, but they're all dead."

Sources: 1, 2


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