Steven Spielberg on George Lucas calling him a ‘frustrated musical director’ | Inquirer Entertainment

Steven Spielberg on George Lucas calling him a ‘frustrated musical director’

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:15 AM February 20, 2022

Steven Spielberg (foreground) with Rita Moreno on the set of “West Side Story” —PHOTO COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Steven Spielberg, who directed the currently showing Oscar-nominated revival of 1961’s “West Side Story,” is known for immensely entertaining films that brim with urgency (“Indiana Jones,” “E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Jurassic Park,” “Jaws,” “Catch Me If You Can,” “Minority Report”) and thematic pertinence (“Schindler’s List,” “The Color Purple,” “Empire of the Sun,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “The Paper,” “Munich”).

While the aforementioned list covers a lot of film genres, there’s one that is sorely missing on it: the movie musical.


Interestingly, there’s a part in a behind-the-scenes feature of 1984’s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” where Spielberg’s close friend and collaborator George Lucas (writer of “Temple of Doom,” director of “Star Wars”) “exposes” his buddy’s long-cherished dream of making a screen musical.


In it, Lucas describes Spielberg as a “frustrated musical director,” whom he encouraged to incorporate a musical portion into it to whet his appetite for musicals.

When Spielberg was asked to comment about this during our recent interview for “West Side Story,” the 75-year-old film master recalled, “I don’t know where George got that idea. But yeah, he did call me ‘a frustrated musical director.’

Always talking about…

“I think it was because I was always talking about Busby Berkeley and Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen and Vincente Minnelli.

“It got to the point where George just said, ‘Well, why don’t I create a musical number at the beginning of ‘Temple of Doom,’ and we’ll put the titles over it. And then, you can shoot a musical number, since you’re such a frustrated musical director!’ But, thank you, George (laughs)!”

Given the critical acclaim heaped on “West Side Story” since its release, Spielberg has certainly proven he isn’t just another “frustrated musical director.”

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TAGS: Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

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