Steven Spielberg has made movies about aliens and dinosaurs, war heroes and U.S. presidents and swashbuckling archaeologists. His newest film centers on a subject matter a bit closer to home: Himself.
Like many of the great masters of late, Spielberg has channeled his own childhood into The Fabelmans, in which newcomer Gabriel LaBelle plays Sammy, a 16-year-old boy who aspires to make movies. Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams plays his artistic mother, Mitzi, with Paul Dano as his scientist father, Burt. The cast also includes Julia Butters and Keeley Karsten as Sammy's sisters, and Seth Rogen as Burt's best friend and the kid's honorary "uncle" Bennie.
"This film is, for me, a way of bringing my mom and dad back," Spielberg said ahead of the movie's premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. "It also brought my sisters, Annie, Susie, and Nancy, closer to me than I ever thought possible. And that was worth making the film… I thought, if I was going to leave anything behind, what was the thing I need to resolve and unpack about my mom, my dad, and my sisters?"
Spielberg wrote the screenplay with Tony Kushner, a two-time Oscar nominee for Munich and Lincoln — both of which Spielberg directed. The filmmaker is himself a 19-time Oscar nominee and three-time winner, having won Best Picture and Best Director for 1993's Schindler's List and Best Director for 1998's Saving Private Ryan. (In 1987, he was also awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.) The music in The Fabelmans comes courtesy of another frequent Spielberg collaborator, composer John Williams (a five-time Oscar winner for Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Schindler's List, among others).
The Fabelmans had its world debut at TIFF, where it won the People's Choice Award, and opens in theaters on Nov. 23. Watch the trailer below.