Steven Spielberg Says He “Burst Into Tears” Seeing Michelle Williams, Paul Dano Dressed as His Parents on ‘The Fabelmans’ Set
Steven Spielberg is recalling the first time he saw Michelle Williams and Paul Dano dressed up together as his parents while on set for The Fabelmans.
During an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which aired Thursday, the Oscar-winning filmmaker explained how a “routine” first day of filming turned into an emotional one.
“Mark Bridges (costume designer) came over to me and said, ‘I’ve got Paul and Michelle here in their hair and makeup and costumes,’” he recalled, adding that he had seen them in their costumes separately but not together. “I turned around and there was my father and mother, and I just burst into tears. Just like that, I didn’t even think about it, it just happened.”
The award-winning film is based on Spielberg’s childhood, growing up as an aspiring filmmaker. The movie follows Sammy Fabelman’s (Gabriel LaBelle) journey, but along the way, he discovers a shattering family secret and uses his passion for film to help see the truth.
The Saving Private Ryan director and producer said Williams and Dano were quick to offer him love and support at that moment: “Michelle ran to me, hugged me. Paul came around the back of me – he’s really tall – hugged me around the shoulders and just held me.”
“I had given them [Williams and Dano] speeches long before the first day of shooting. I got all my tears out writing the scripts with Tony Kushner,” Spielberg added. “I’m a professional. [I told them,] ‘Don’t worry about me. You don’t have to take care of me. My job is to take care of you and guide you to giving some great performances.’ And, it wasn’t to be.”
The Fabelmans is nominated for seven Oscars, including best picture.