A robot seeking love, a boy toy wired for sex & a very special ghost in the machine bring Steven Spielberg's latest to eerie life

By Steve Daly
Updated June 21, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
A.I., Frances O'Connor, ...
Credit: A.I.: David James
  • Movie

The following is an excerpt from Entertainment Weekly’s cover story for the July 13, 2001, issue

Frances O’Connor expected questions about what it was like to work with Steven Spielberg. And perhaps queries about exactly how Spielberg managed to take over his good friend Stanley Kubrick’s dream project, ”A.I. Artificial Intelligence” — writing and shooting in less than two years a dark, futuristic fairy tale that Kubrick had not been able to pull together in two decades.

What the 31-year-old Australian actress didn’t expect were tirades from reporters about the way her ”A.I.” character, Monica Swinton, discards her robotic surrogate son, David (Haley Joel Osment). Monica can’t handle David’s intense form of programmed love — and she’d rather abandon him to wander a cruel future world than see him destroyed by his manufacturer, the fate of all returned robot merchandise in ”A.I.”’s harsh universe.

The resulting ”Sophie’s Choice”/ ”Medea” dilemma all but short circuited one female TV journalist, who appeared before O’Connor trembling with indignation. ”I could FEEL the anger in this woman’s body,” says the actress, her eyes widening. ”She said, ‘How could you do that? How could you leave a child like that?’ She was so upset…. I started thinking, people are gonna HATE me.”


  • Movie
  • PG
  • 145 minutes
  • Steven Spielberg