Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg admits that he had “no confidence” in his 1991 live-action grown-up Peter Pan film Hook. Given the 71-year-old Spielberg’s amazingly successful track record of hits, it’s a bit hard to imagine him ever pressing forward with a project without having complete confidence in its ultimate quality. Still, Spielberg is human, and is just as capable of making mistakes as any other filmmaker, despite possessing a resume that includes some of the most beloved films in Hollywood history.
For those who didn’t grow up watching Spielberg’s tale of pirates, fairies, and Neverland, Hook hit theaters shortly before Christmas 1991. The film starred the late, great Robin Williams as Peter Banning, a workaholic lawyer who is becoming more and more neglectful of his wife and children. That is until his offspring is kidnapped by Captain James Hook (Dustin Hoffman), leading Peter to discover that he was once the true inspiration for the classic literary character Peter Pan, before settling down in normal reality led him to grow up.
Financially, Hook was a big hit, raking in over $300 million worldwide on a budget of $70 million. It also quickly became a cultural touchstone for many who saw it as kids in the 90s, most of which still see it as a nostalgic treat today. Unfortunately, critics have never taken kindly to Hook. Reviews at the time weren’t kind, and reviews in the years since haven’t gotten much better. Hook sits at a paltry 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. While those who love Hook are quick to defend its merits, they may be surprised to learn that one of the film’s detractors is Spielberg himself. In a recent interview with Empire (via Den of Geek), Spielberg revealed that he had no confidence in Hook during its production.
“I felt like a fish out of water making Hook. I didn’t have confidence in the script. I had confidence in the first act and I had confidence in the epilogue. I didn’t have confidence in the body of it.”
This is of course not the first time that Spielberg has expressed his displeasure with Hook’s final product. A few years back, the director bluntly stated that he didn’t like the film, and hoped to one day see it again in the hopes that he would begin to like it. One wonders what Spielberg thinks of all the love that Hook got from its intended young audience. Perhaps his desire to try and grow to enjoy the movie is at least partially based on wanting to see in Hook what those who love it do.
Interestingly, Spielberg goes on to explain to Empire that his lack of confidence in Hook had to do with his inability to connect with the material. “I didn’t quite know what I was doing and I tried to paint over my insecurity with production value. The more insecure I felt about it, the bigger and more colorful the sets became,” says Spielberg. Born out of insecurity or not, Spielberg certainly did a good job with Hook’s technical aspects, as the film earned four Oscar nominations in various technical categories. Hopefully, Spielberg will eventually be able to form a more positive opinion of Hook, but if not, at least the film will always have its loyal fans ready to shout “Bangarang!”
Source: Empire (via Den of Geek)
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