Filmmaker Steven Spielberg has pretty much done it all, even ticking ‘directing a musical’ off his bucket list with his acclaimed “West Side Story” adaptation. However, one thing he hasn’t done professionally, something that many of his colleagues have done in recent years, is direct a prestige TV series.
The triple Oscar-winner will always be best known for his legendary films like “Jaws,” “Raiders of the Lost ark” and “Jurassic Park”. But he’s also long had his hand in television as executive producer of countless shows from “SeaQuest DSV” and “Tiny Toon Adventures” to “Band of Brothers,” “Terra Nova,” “Under the Dome,” “Falling Skies,” “Bull,” “Animaniacs” and “Halo”.
The last time he dipped his hand in directing television was for an episode of the anthology series “Amazing Stories” back in the mid-1980s. This week Spielberg, speaking with the Smartless podcast, was asked if he’d ever be interested in doing his own prestige limited series for TV.
He revealed he has actually been playing around with that idea for years now, and the closest he came was a decade ago with his Abraham Lincoln biopic “Lincoln” which, at one point, was potentially going to be a six-hour HBO series:
“I was willing to do ‘Lincoln’ as a six-hour [show] because I couldn’t raise all the financing for it. No one believed in it…I went around town and everyone turned me down. I was ready to make a deal with HBO to do it and expand it to six hours.
Tony Kushner’s first draft was 150 pages, so I had the goods! I had the material. I don’t know if I could have talked Daniel Day-Lewis into doing six hours, but I was on the brink of that.”
Ultimately he found the financing to do it as a film that was acclaimed by critics, pulled in $275.3 million at the worldwide box-office off a $65 million budget, and won two Oscars from twelve nominations.
Spielberg adds that he is not scared of tackling a limited series, rather he is just waiting for the right material to come along:
I do have an appetite for long-form, and someday, I will direct a long-form series. I mean, if someone would have brought me ‘Mare of Easttown,’ I would have done that. [Laughs] That was a beautifully directed story.”
Spielberg most recently directed “The Fabelmans” last year which is expected to be one of the biggest contenders at this year’s Oscars, with the man himself a front-runner for the Best Director award.