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Semi-autobiographical Spielberg movie gets 1st trailer

‘The Fabelmans,’ set for a November release, is about a young aspiring filmmaker and his family

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Actors Paul Dano, Mateo Zoryna Francis-Deford and Michele Williams as 'The Fabelmans' in Steven Spielberg's long-awaited, semi-autobiographical film about his own family (Courtesy 'The Fabelmans')
Actors Paul Dano, Mateo Zoryna Francis-Deford and Michele Williams as 'The Fabelmans' in Steven Spielberg's long-awaited, semi-autobiographical film about his own family (Courtesy 'The Fabelmans')

The trailer for Steven Spielberg’s long-awaited, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama “The Fabelmans,” directed and co-produced by Spielberg from a screenplay co-written with Tony Kushner, was released Sunday, ahead of the film’s limited theatrical release on November 11 in the US.

The film is about a young aspiring filmmaker based on Spielberg himself, and stars Gabriel LaBelle as the teenage Sammy Fabelman. Michelle Williams and Paul Dano play the Fabelman parents, based loosely on Spielberg’s own mother and father, Leah Adler and Arnold Spielberg, with Seth Rogen and Judd Hirsch in supporting roles.

Spielberg has spoken about the idea for the film since 1999, based on a screenplay titled “I’ll Be Home,” written by his sister Anne Spielberg. At the time, Spielberg told The New York Times that he was worried his parents wouldn’t like it and be insulted by his “loving yet critical point of view about what it was like to grow up with them.”

The renowned filmmaker’s father, electrical engineer Arnold Spielberg, died in August 2020 at the age of 103; his mother, Leah Adler, died in 2017 at the age of 97.

Last fall, Spielberg told The Washington Post that the film was a way of bringing his parents back to life, and it had the added bonus of drawing his three sisters — Annie, Sue and Nancy — closer to him “than he ever thought possible.”

Nancy Spielberg is also a filmmaker who has produced several films with Israeli and Jewish content and runs Playmount Productions, the family production company. She lives in Israel for part of the year.

Spielberg, 75, has said that the semi-autobiographical film is not his swan song.

He spoke about the idea of the “The Fabelmans” with Kushner while the two worked on “Munich” in 2005, although work on the screenplay began in October 2020, during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

“We wrote three days a week, four hours a day, and we finished the script in two months: by leagues the fastest I’ve finished anything,” said Kushner in an Indiewire interview. “It was a blast. I loved it.”

“The Fabelmans” premiered in September 2022 at the Toronto International Film Festival to a standing ovation, and is scheduled for a full release on November 23 after its initial limited theatrical release earlier the same month.

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