Steven Spielberg’s career can be roughly divided into two distinct periods: the Mad at Dad phase, and the Reconciliation phase. The director admitted as much in a probing 60 Minutes interview last night. See, Spielberg’s parents, Arnold and Leah, got divorced when he was 19 — and for the following 15 years or so, Spielberg was furious with his father. He thought workaholic Arnold, an engineer, had instigated the split after years of ignoring his family in favor of his job.
What Steven didn’t know was that his beloved mother had actually fallen for another man — one of Arnold’s friends. As adorable 95-year-old Arnold explained to Lesley Stahl last night, he didn’t tell his son the truth for years because he was still in love with Leah… and Spielberg responded by littering movies like E.T. and Hook with absentee fathers or the void they left behind. Eventually, Steven’s wife, Kate Capshaw, prodded him to make peace with Dad — ultimately leading to films like War of the Worlds and Lincoln.
Not interested in Spielberg’s psychology? Press “play” on the first video and skip ahead 10 minutes. You’ll miss Spielberg discussing his daddy issues and his brushes with antisemitism — but you’ll get inside scoop on Lincoln, the director’s latest perfectly engineered Oscar-bait project. You could also just watch the second clip, which takes a more in-depth look behind the scenes of Lincoln — complete with a brief appearance by the famously taciturn Daniel Day-Lewis. It also features John Williams playing the theme from Jaws. Have at it, Spielbergians: