As part of James Cameron's new AMC series James Cameron's Story of Science of Fiction, the director spoke with Steven Spielberg about his past experiences working in the science fiction genre. In the interview, the two celebrated filmmakers reflect on various aspects of history, film, and personal experiences that helped shape the sci-fi genre.
In James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction, the Academy Award-winning director interviews various filmmakers who have made a significant stamp on the science fiction genre in Hollywood. Between directors like Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, the Hellboy series) and Christopher Nolan (Inception, Interstellar), and even actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger (who starred in both The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day, which Cameron directed), the interviews explore the history, present state, and future of the genre, dissecting the finer details with which audiences might be otherwise unfamiliar. He also co-wrote a book of the same name with authors Randall Frakes, Brooks Peck, Sidney Perkowitz, Matt Singer, Gary Wolfe, and Lisa Yaszek that serves as a companion piece to the series. During an interview with Spielberg, the two filmmakers discussed their individual influences.
Slash Film revealed an exclusive interview between the two directors from the book. After Cameron introduces himself as one of Spielberg's many fanboys, they discuss other influential directors like George Pal, Stanley Kubrick, and Willis O'Brien. Spielberg opens up about his relationship with the late director: how they had met on the set of The Shining (around the same time Spielberg was directing Raiders of the Lost Arks) and ultimately "began a 19-year friendship" (which was sustained mostly through telephone calls, given that Kubrick refused to fly on airplanes). He also opened up about how influential Kubrick's adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey was on his career, how Communism and the atomic bomb played such a vital role in 1950s science fiction, and how the forest fire in Bambi scared, but also inspired, him as a child. And before Spielberg moved onto film, he "used to sketch a lot of scary pictures," to which Cameron responded: "You were processing the world back out in the form of something visual."
Spielberg also explained that he had been fascinated with extraterrestrial elements ever since he was a child. After telling Cameron about an incident in which his father woke up in the middle of the night to witness a meteor shower, Cameron came to the realization that that moment directly inspired a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which Spielberg confirmed. What's more is that his experiences as a child reading science fiction inspired a consistent theme throughout most of his work: that "good propagates a greater good." He explained that authors like Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heilein "weren’t always calculating our doom," but "finding ways to open up our imagination and get us to dream and get us to discover and get us to contribute to the greater good." His ultimate takeaway was that if he ever got the opportunity to make sci-fi movies, he'd want the aliens to come in peace (and, save for his adaptation of War of the Worlds, he's maintained that promise to himself).
Over the course of nearly five decades, Spielberg has directed a plethora of science fiction movies that have become staples within the genre, including E.T., Jurassic Park, and even this year's adaptation of Ernest Cline's Ready Player One. And though the slate of upcoming films he'll be directing are outside of the science fiction (depending on how one might classify Indiana Jones 5), he'll be producing quite a few a sci-fi movies, including Robopocalypse, Jurassic World 3, and a Halo TV series based off the video game.
Source: Slash Film