Paul Dano will star alongside Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming drama loosely based on the filmmaker’s childhood.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the untitled film was written by Spielberg and frequent collaborator Tony Kushner, loosely based on the filmmaker’s formative years growing up in Arizona.
Dano will play a character inspired by Spielberg’s father, but Spielberg’s entertainment company, Amblin Partners notes he will be “with a separate and original voice.” Williams is set to play the role of the mother, while Rogen will portray a character inspired by Spielberg’s favorite uncle.
Plot details for the untitled project are being kept under wraps, but one aspect of the project is a split time period that would focus on the character, who is not being called Steven, according to The Hollywood Reporter, as a young child and also a teen living in Phoenix, Arizona.
Spielberg’s father, Arnold Spielberg, was a “towering figure in the director’s life.” Arnold gave him an 8m camera that he used to make his movies, and even funded many of them as he encouraged his son to pursue his passion. His parents got a divorce when he was 19-years-old. This strained his relationship with his father; many fans feel that the flawed father figures in many of Spielberg’s films were inspired by his father. Arnold Spielberg died in 2020 at the age of 103.
Spielberg lived in Phoenix in the late ’50s to early ’60s, speaking numerous times about those years where he faced anti-Semitism, while also making home movies and adventure movies using his father’s 8 mm camera that he entered into contests.
36-year-old Dano, known for his roles in 2007’s There Will Be Blood and 2006’s Little Miss Sunshine will next be seen starring as the Riddler in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, set to be released in March 2022. The actor made his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed film 2018’s Wildlife.
Shooting starts this summer, planning for a 2022 release.