Steven Spielberg

June 13, 2014 | 3:50 p.m.

Joe Dante recalls studio fretted about Gremlin creepiness factor [video]

Before “Gremlins” hit theaters in 1984, studio executives fretted that the creepy critters might be too frightening for moviegoers. “They thought the Gremlins were very unpleasant,” director Joe Dante recalled during a recent appearance at the Hero Complex Film Festival. “So, they sent some notes, one of which was: ‘Too many gremlins.’ “ Luckily Steven Spielberg, the executive producer, had the perfect rejoinder. “Well, we could cut all the Gremlins out and call it ‘People.’ How would you like that?” It was the type of sardonic comeback that perhaps only Spielberg could have gotten away with at the time. After all, as Dante pointed out, he was essentially the reason the film was made. Dante said that Warner Bros., “basically backed it because Steven Spielberg wanted to make it, and they wanted to make him happy.” Dante spoke with Hero […]
May 21, 2013 | 5:39 p.m.

Xbox One: Microsoft focuses on managing content, not gaming

PERSPECTIVE At this morning’s Xbox One reveal in Redmond, Wash., the new “Call of Duty” game received an extended preview and a new game titled “Quantum Break” was given a giant promotional push. But the biggest star of Microsoft’s news conference to showcase  its Xbox 360 successor was a film director, one who spoke only via a pre-filmed video. Steven Spielberg, it was divulged this morning, will executive produce an original “Halo” television series based on the popular video game franchise that’s long been tied to the Xbox ecosystem. “For me, the ‘Halo’ universe is an amazing opportunity to be at the intersection where technology and storytelling meet,” Spielberg said, adding that he’s been interested in games since the era of “Pong” and that they have now evolved, technologically speaking, to a point where interactive storytelling is at its most […]
Jan. 09, 2013 | 5:15 p.m.

No ‘Robopocalypse’ for Spielberg as director nixes movie plans

It must have seemed like a dream come true for Daniel H. Wilson when filmmaker Steven Spielberg scooped up the rights to his not-yet-complete sci-fi novel “Robopocalypse,” a cautionary tale in which an artificial intelligence releases a virus that leads the planet’s network of machines to violently turn on the human race. Today, it looks like the dream has been put on hold. As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Spielberg has nixed plans to shoot the literary adaptation. The news comes on the eve of the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards — Spielberg’s drama “Lincoln” is widely tipped as a likely competitor in a number of categories, including best picture. Spielberg’s deep résumé of beloved genre fare, of course, includes “War of the Worlds,” “Minority Report” and “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” not to mention such landmark films as “E.T. […]
Oct. 08, 2012 | 6:53 p.m.

‘E.T.': Kathleen Kennedy on Spielberg, Lucas and making of a classic

Kathleen Kennedy, producer of "E.T.," holds drawings of the now-beloved extraterrestrial. Astrid Kamar, center, and her husband, Pascal, show off an E.T. toy. Pascal Kamar's company was the first licensed to make the E.T. plush toy. (Courtesy Joy Kamar)
Kathleen Kennedy has a résumé nearly unmatched in Hollywood — over the years, she’s produced such respected films as “The Color Purple,” “Empire of the Sun,” “Jurassic Park,” “The Sixth Sense,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and the upcoming historical epic, “Lincoln.” In June, George Lucas named Kennedy, 59, as co-chair for his vast Lucasfilm empire. One prominent feature of her lengthy filmography is Kennedy’s long-running collaboration with Steven Spielberg — she first worked with him as a production assistant on his costly flop, “1941,” then as associate producer on 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark”; along with her husband, producer Frank Marshall, and Spielberg, she created the successful production company Amblin and served as its president until 1992, when she and Marshall formed the Kennedy/Marshall Co. Her first producer credit came in 1982 with Spielberg’s beloved boy-and-his-alien fantasy […]
Oct. 02, 2012 | 2:00 p.m.

Ben Burtt on the sound of ‘Raiders,’ ‘ET’ and Spielberg’s inspiration

Ben Burtt (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)
The last few weeks have been a real and vivid trip down memory lane for Oscar-winning sound designer and sound effects editor Ben Burtt. The man who created the hum of the light saber, Darth Vader’s ominous, synthetic breathing and even the languages spoken by various “Star Wars” creatures is celebrating a new look at some other of his landmark cinematic achievements. He restored the sound for Steven Spielberg’s classic adventure “Raiders of the Lost Ark” for last month’s Blu-Ray release of “Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures,” and his handiwork also is on display in the upcoming 30th anniversary Blu-ray  release of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.” (Burtt created the voice for Elliott’s otherworldly best friend for Spielberg’s beloved family film from a recording of his wife sleeping while she had a cold.) Burtt earned Oscars for special achievement for sound effects […]
Sept. 11, 2012 | 3:37 p.m.

‘E.T.’ coming to theaters, Blu-ray for 30th anniversary

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (featured image)
Thirty years after Steven Spielberg’s lovable spaceman first flew across the silver screen, “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” is returning to theaters for one night Oct. 3 and debuting on Blu-ray on Oct. 9. “E.T.” chronicled the friendship between a lost alien and a young boy, Elliott (Henry Thomas), who tries to help the otherworldly stranger escape government agents and find his way home. The film starred Robert MacNaughton as Elliott’s older brother Michael and Drew Barrymore as their younger sister, Gertie. The film was nominated for nine Oscars, winning four, including for John Williams’ iconic score. “E.T.” became a touchstone for children of the 1970s and ’80s, an inspiration for some of today’s most creative filmmakers (including J.J. Abrams and Joe Cornish), and a life-altering experience for a young Spielberg. “When I went home from production of ‘E.T.,’ I didn’t want […]
July 06, 2012 | 12:19 p.m.

‘Indiana Jones’ leaps to Blu-ray, snakes slither to Comic-Con booth

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (featured image)
Indiana Jones is making his Blu-ray debut, more than 31 years after the adventuring archaeologist first bull-whipped his way across the big screen in Steven Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” To mark the release, Lucasfilm is re-creating a scene from “Raiders” at its Comic-Con booth (booth 2913); fans of the Harrison Ford-starring franchise will be able to have their picture taken with a slither of snakes, à la Indy in the Well of Souls. Comic-Con attendees who pre-order the Blu-ray box set — which includes “Raiders,” “The Temple of Doom,” “The Last Crusade” and 2008’s Shia LaBeouf-starring “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” — at the booth with receive a $25 gift card for Sideshow Collectibles. The collection will retail for $99.99 and hits stores Sept. 18. Check out an exclusive first look at the trailer in the video above. […]
June 21, 2012 | 3:07 p.m.

‘Transformers 4’: Michael Bay purges stars, may go into space

Transformers  ride Michael Bay feature
There was still an hour before the gates would open at Universal Studios Hollywood, so Michael Bay pretty much had the Autobot universe to himself on Tuesday morning.  First he took two spins through Transformers: The Ride — 3D, the theme park’s just-opened, $100-million digital marvel. Then the 47-year-old filmmaker wandered through Transformers Supply Vault (a store designed to look like the world’s most cheerful military bunker) where even he seemed surprised by its inventory of merchandise that included T-shirts, masks, magnets, patches, coffee cups, books and (of course) plastic toys. It was all a bit much, but then Bay was presented with a frosty mango-colored energy drink from a Transformers-themed concession stand. “It’s called Energon,” one of the Universal employees chirped, “and it’s the preferred fuel of the Transformers.” Nearby, a Universal dancer wearing an elaborate Bumblebee costume began to […]
June 15, 2012 | 1:13 p.m.

‘E.T.': Steven Spielberg’s spaceman still glows 30 years later

'E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial' (featured image)
E.T., Elliott and a gang of kids on bicycles first flew across the silver screen 30 years ago this week in “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” which is showing tonight as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival. Steven Spielberg’s 1982 film is a touchstone for children of the 1970s and ’80s, who watched in theaters and on worn VHS tapes, letting John Williams’ otherworldly score envelope them as the strange spaceman with the glowing heart discovered Reese’s Pieces, beer and the best and worst in humanity. “E.T.” took the classic children’s adventure story (think “Huckleberry Finn” and “Peter Pan”) and relocated it to the American suburb. The film’s hero is lonely, alienated, 10-year-old Elliott (Henry Thomas), who musters the courage to help a stranded visitor find his way home. Its villains are faceless adults with guns and flashlights. It was the […]
Jan. 02, 2012 | 10:57 a.m.

‘Tintin': A boy and his dog meet a sea captain

Tintin (featured image)
Los Angeles Times television critic Robert Lloyd is a longtime “Tintin” fan. He has been writing a series of posts on the heritage of the character. This installment explores the bookshelf epic’s many costars and companions. Tintin, the Belgian boy reporter, did not travel alone. From the very beginning to the very end he was accompanied by his dog, Snowy, and as the years went on, he collected other friends and kept them: a bibulous sea captain, a pair of lookalike detectives, a hard-of-hearing inventor, an Italian soprano. Snowy: For his first eight adventures, Tintin’s sole sidekick was the little wire fox terrier (or, as creator Hergé once described him, “approximately” a wire fox terrier) English readers know as Snowy. His French name, Milou, came from the nickname of Hergé’s first girlfriend — or from Belgian motorcycle champion Rene Milhoux, according […]
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