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AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Interview With Steven Spielberg

Aired June 20, 2002 - 08:42   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Steven Spielberg's latest film "Minority Report" is a thriller about the future. In fact, it takes place in the year 2054. When I sat down with the director the other day, I found out that the future is very much what Spielberg is all about.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVEN SPIELBERG, DIRECTOR: That's all I need. Thank you, great!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: You have done movies, clearly, that reflect a big part of you. We can see Steven Spielberg through "Schindler's List" and we can see Steven Spielberg through "Saving Private Ryan." Is there something in this movie we can learn something about you?

SPIELBERG: Not that I am so articulate about who I am, vis-a-vis any of my movies that I can give you a real solid answer to that question, except to say that, you know, I learn about myself through my own movies, but years after I make them. I look back and I say, oh, that's the kind of guy I was in 2002.

You know, I don't really do that much looking inside me when I'm working on a project. Whatever I am becomes what that film is. But I change; you change. All of us every single year, we're a different person. I don't think we're the same person all our lives.

HEMMER: Is there something in this movie that fascinates you possibly about maybe the future?

SPIELBERG: For one thing, I want to know how long all our kids are going to live. I want to know what our world's going to be like. I want to know if we'll have a future in these very troubling times. I'm very concerned about the future. In this particular fiction, this science fiction film, I was concerned about our right to privacy.

HEMMER: On a professional level, you as a director, do you give certain sensitivities, as others have in your industry, to the events of September of last year, and has that affected the way you look at films right now, in terms of possibly influencing you one way or the other, either whether or not you make a film or how you make it?

SPIELBERG: You know, I think that the trauma that came out of 9/11 is not a conscience trauma, it is a trauma so overwhelming, and it so gets into your blood, that it doesn't go to the brain. I haven't rationalized it, I can't figure it out; it still doesn't make sense. I don't think about it in terms of films and culture and what I can do to make a movie that represented I will never make a movie about any of the events of 9/11. I will never make a movie about any of the events of 09/11.

HEMMER: But would you stay away from it, even as it relates maybe even from a distance, to the events of that day?

SPIELBERG: I don't know. But I know one thing, the events have colored all of us. And those who act, direct, write, who play music, who paint. Those of us who express ourselves that way, 9/11 will find an outlet in what we do, purely subconsciously, at some point in our lives. It can't not.

HEMMER: How long in your life did it bother you that you did not have a college degree?

SPIELBERG: Well, 33 years. Since I graduated last week, it was 33 years when I dropped out of college to get a contract that was offered to me by Sid Scheinberg and Lou Wasserman at Universal, and I dropped out after two years at Long Beach State.

HEMMER: Was this bothering you? Was this bugging you as a father, as somewhat of a role model as well?

SPIELBERG: Well, it was bothering me then, because my father kept saying, you didn't graduate. I said, dad, I'm directing, I'm a professional director. Yes, are but you didn't get a degree. You know, I had that issue with my dad. I wanted to make him happy. As my kids got older, they began talking, and saying, dad, didn't go to college, why do we have to go to college? I also don't like not finishing something I started.

HEMMER: As you were sitting there, were you also reflecting as you looked at them as younger folks, younger people, young men and women, and as they go into the future, considering the events of the world today, do you have fear for them? Do you have is hope for them? What went through your mind?

SPIELBERG: Fear didn't go through my mind when I was sitting with them and talking with them during the commencement. What went through my mind, is this was a generation that will save my generation. This is the generation that will rescue the world. These are the kids that are going to do great work for this country, for other countries, and they're going to fix all the problems that we sometimes create. They're going to fix it.

HEMMER: For people who do not have that sort of faith in younger Americans, would you tell them they're wrong?

SPIELBERG: I think they have to have faith. If they have no faith in younger Americans, they have no faith in the future, because that is our future.

HEMMER: What's the future for you?

SPIELBERG: Making more movies, getting my kids through college, and getting them all to graduate.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HEMMER: Like any parent, such a real guy, too. And just to reflect a little bit -- I don't think we heard it in there, but when he thinks about September 11, it is on his mind, just like it is so many other people's. When he sends his kids to Magic Mountain in California, he's thinking about the possibility, the possibility.

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