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What's Steven Spielberg doing after 'The Fabelmans'? He has 'no idea' what he'll direct next
The legendary filmmaker has a blank slate in front of him, and that's both a good and bad thing.
Steven Spielberg is known for many things, including his often extraordinary prolificacy. In a career now spanning more than five decades, he has directed nearly three dozen feature films, and that's not including the many films he's produced through companies like Amblin and DreamWorks, and the amateur films he was making before his breakthrough with Duel in 1971. As recently as 2011, we got two Spielberg movies in the same year, and even amid a global pandemic he turned out to be productive, bringing to life his autobiographical coming-of-age film The Fabelmans hot on the heels of his acclaimed new adaptation of West Side Story.
Like his contemporaries Ridley Scott and Martin Scorsese, Spielberg works a lot, and he's continued to work a lot well into his 70s. However, for the moment at least, it sounds like new directing projects are on hold. During a press conference at the Berlin International Film Festival on Wednesday, where he's set to receive the festival's Golden Bear award, Spielberg revealed that he has no clue what project he'll tackle next as a director, in a break from the back-to-back frenzy of West Side Story and The Fabelmans.
“I was so involved with two films back-to-back… I never had a chance to think about what am I going to do when these two movies are over," Spielberg said at the press conference, according to Deadline. "And I sit here in front of all of you saying, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do next. I have no idea.”
This doesn't mean Spielberg is at a complete standstill. The production arm of his filmmaking empire continues to work in full swing, with projects like an upcoming HBO adaptation of longtime friend Stanley Kubrick's unproduced Napoleon Bonaparte screenplay and a Netflix adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub's The Talisman moving forward.
It also doesn't mean Spielberg is without directorial prospects. The director has been linked recently with, among other things, a film about legendary composer George Gershwin and a new adventure for Steve McQueen's iconic character Frank Bullitt. For all we know right now, Spielberg could pick up one of those films and run with it. He could also just go out and take any offer he fancies because...well, he's Steven Spielberg. At the moment, though, the director sounds like he's at least somewhat relishing the sense of limbo and possibility.
“It’s kind of a nice feeling," he said. "And it’s also a horrible feeling. It’s nice that I can actually have control of my life again and makes my own choices in my real life. But I need to work and I love to work and that’s the biggest question I’m going to have with the rest of the year trying to figure this out.”
We'll see what Spielberg decides as he casts around for a new project, but until that decision is made, all focus will be on The Fabelmans as it heads to the Academy Awards next month in contention for seven awards, including Best Director for Spielberg. It marks his ninth Best Director nomination (he's won twice), tying him with Scorsese for most nominations of any living director, as if Spielberg needed any more flexes built into his resume.