10 Things You Didn't Know About... Steven Spielberg
With more than 120 films, 3 Oscars and 7 Golden Globes to his name, Steven Spielberg is not only one of the most successful directors in history, he's also one of the most prolific. Since his first big hit, Jaws, in 1975, Spielberg has directed some of the biggest movies of all time, from family-friendly classics like E.T. and the Indiana Jones films, through huge visual spectacles like Jurassic Park, to powerful historical dramas such as Amistad and Schindler's List.
His career, then, needs little introduction, but there's more to the man than a having guaranteed box office smash just by virtue of having his name on the end credits. So, to delve a little deeper into the mind of one of Hollywood's most awarded individuals, here are 10 things you may not know about Steven Spielberg.
1. He was paid nothing for directing Schindler's List.
Spielberg insisted that he would not accept any compensation for his work on the Oskar Schindler biopic that won him two Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director in 1994, saying that it would be “blood money”. Instead, he donated his fee for the film to the Shoah Foundation, an organisation dedicated to raising awareness about the Holocaust and other genocides.
2. He appears in the music video for Michael Jackson's 'Liberian Girl'.
Then again, who doesn't? It's a pretty star-studded affair, with cameos from John Travolta, Paula Abdul, Dan Aykroyd and even boxing promoter Don King, among countless others. Spielberg appears around the 1:32 mark, looking pretty unimpressed.
3. He is godfather to Drew Barrymore and Gwyneth Paltrow.
As if having seven children of his own wasn't enough, he's also a godparent to two of Hollywood's best-known actresses. There's a story that when Drew Barrymore posed for Playboy magazine, Spielberg sent her a note that said simply “cover yourself up.”
4. His dog has appeared in at least four of his films.
Spielberg's cocker spaniel, Elmer, has put in a cameo in several of his films, namely Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1941 and The Sugarland Express.
5. He has always wanted to direct a James Bond movie, but Albert Broccoli turned him down. Twice.
Yep, Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli snubbed one of the world's most successful directors on not one but two occasions. The first was early on in Spielberg's career, with the Bond producer citing inexperience as the reason for his refusal, but by the second time the director had a string of box office hits to his name and Broccoli rejected him again, this time on the basis that he was now “unaffordable.”
6. He really likes guns.
It has long been reported that Spielberg buys a new gun after the completion of each film he makes and the director reportedly has one of the largest private firearms collections on the East coast. Odd for a man who is often thought of as someone who makes family films, but he's also apparently a crack shot. His father has said that he is an “expert skeet shooter” and Shia LaBeouf has also testified to his skills with a rifle: “He's an Olympic shot. The hand-eye coordination of the man is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”
7. He has never had a cup of coffee.
Not even once. He hates the smell of it so much he has never even been tempted to try a cup, so if he's coming round to your place anytime soon make sure you're stocked up on the PG Tips.
8. He wanted Jeff Bridges to play part of Indiana Jones.
In fact, Harrison Ford wasn't even the director's second choice for the role. When Bridges turned the part down, moustachioed 80s hero Tom Selleck was actually cast as the adventuring archeologist, but then had to pull out as the studio making Magnum P.I. wasn't willing to let him free from his contract for the show, so Ford stepped in just a few weeks before shooting was due to begin.
9. His dad invented the electronic cash register.
Or at least he created the electronic network that allowed the new electronic cash registers to work. In fact, Arnold Spielberg was a bit of an electronics pioneer with a string of achievements to his name, including making the world's first computer designed for business, the BizMac.
10. He turned down the opportunity to direct the Harry Potter films.
It's a funny one this, as the Harry Potter franchise is exactly the sort of thing you could imagine Spielberg doing, but that was part of the problem for the director and he felt it was such a guaranteed hit that it was too easy: "It's just like withdrawing a billion dollars and putting it into your personal bank accounts. There's no challenge."