Not too long ago, news surfaced that director Steven Spielberg was working on a new untitled film that would be loosely based on his childhood. Michelle Williams was attached to play a character inspired by his own mother, and now a rather surprising cast member is joining her. Neighbors and Knocked Up star Seth Rogen has been set to play Steven Spielberg’s favorite uncle.
Deadline has news on the Steven Spielberg movie cast adding Seth Rogen to the line-up. Though details are scarce on the story at the center of this film, it will take cues from Spielberg’s real-life childhood in Arizona. Much of the cast will be playing the various friends and family members who inspired the filmmaker growing up, but there are also key roles for young actors to take, including a potential breakthrough turn for whoever lands the role of young Steven Spielberg.
I can’t help but wonder if An American Pickle maybe helped the comedian land the role. In the HBO Max original movie, he plays an Eastern European Jewish immigrant who ends up in contemporary America after being preserved in a vat of pickles for 100 years. Considering Spielberg’s Jewish heritage, I can’t help but wonder if he saw some of his uncle in that performance by Rogen, who is a Jewish man himself.
Though Seth Rogen is clearly known for his comedic talents, he delivered an outstanding dramatic turn as Steve Wozniak in Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs. About a decade ago, he spread his dramatic wings with an excellent supporting performance in Jonathan Levine’s 50/50. Even some of his recent comedic roles, such as The Long Shot and the aforementioned An American Pickle have shown evidence of his solid dramatic work. But working with Spielberg feels like the next big step up.
Since the untitled movie is loosely inspired by Spielberg’s life, the director will also be co-writing the script with Tony Kushner, the writer behind Spielberg’s Munich, Lincoln, and the upcoming remake of West Side Story. Spielberg and Kushner will also be producing alongside Kristie Macosko Krieger, and the film is expected to shoot this summer with an eye towards being released in 2022.
This project has piqued my curiosity, if only because it seems rather risky for Spielberg to indulge in his own life. He’s used elements of his childhood and the dynamic he had with his parents as thematic inspiration for many of his movies and characters before, but directing a movie based on his own life feels like taking that to a whole other level. Will this be something a little more fantastical, perhaps with a touch of Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2, or maybe something a little more conventional that’s grounded in Spielberg’s dramatic style? Stay tuned.
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