Steven Spielberg vows to keep hiring women as producers
- Steven Spielberg, the director and producer of West Side Story, was the star of the Producers Guild of America
- Spielberg is nominated for the PGA's Darryl F. Zanuck Award for outstanding producer of theatrical motion pictures
- The PGA Awards will be handed out beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday.
“The smartest thing I do is hire women, I always will,” Spielberg stated at the PGA nominee panel. For decades, Spielberg’s go-to producers have been female, including Kathleen Kennedy, who now runs Lucasfilm (both Krieger and Kennedy began as his assistants).
During the PGA nominee panel breakfast, the director also stated that 'West Side Story' will be his final musical.
Steven Spielberg, the director and producer of West Side Story, was the star of the Producers Guild of America awards nominee breakfast on Saturday morning, as one producer after another praised him, even though they were all competing for the same prize at Saturday night's award show.
Spielberg did not disappoint, delivering several memorable tidbits, including the announcement that he will not direct another musical after West Side Story. In terms of production, he and his company, Amblin Entertainment, are hard at work on a musical version of The Color Purple.
"The worst day of the West Side Story shoot was the last day because I knew I wouldn't direct another musical," said Spielberg, who is nominated for the PGA's Darryl F. Zanuck Award for outstanding producer of theatrical motion pictures with longtime producing partner Kristie Macosko Krieger.
Krieger, who was unable to attend the breakfast panel at the Skirball Cultural Center hosted by the PGA and presented by The Hollywood Reporter, was repeatedly praised by Spielberg. For decades, Spielberg's go-to producers have been women, such as Kathleen Kennedy, who now runs Lucasfilm (both Krieger and Kennedy began as his assistants).
When recounting a visit to the late Stephen Sondheim in an attempt to create a new West Side Story, the iconic director provided plenty of levity. He claimed that Sondheim's two dogs kept "sniffing at his crotch," but he didn't dare to yank them away. "So I had to put up with these lovely animals for a while," Spielberg explained.
Todd Back (Being the Ricardos), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Philippe Rousselet (CODA), Kevin Messick (Don't Look Up), Mary Parent (Dune), Tim White (King Richard), Sarah Murphy (Licorice Pizza), Tanya Seghatchian (The Power of the Dog), and Julie Oh (Tick, Tick...Boom!) were the other PGA nominees on the panel. Messick and Branagh both took part virtually.
Each producer discussed the ups and downs of making their respective films. There are multiple producers on all of the nominated films, but only one can participate in the two-hour PGA breakfast panel.
Given the constraints of the ongoing pandemic, Legendary's Parents stated that no one knew whether Dune would perform well at the box office in the fall of 2021. Despite a day-and-date release on HBO Max, Denis Villeneuve's Dune earned more than $400 million at the global box office. "As a result, we don't appear stupid," Parent explained.
The production veteran also stated that the next Dune will not be a sequel in the traditional sense, but rather Part II of the first film. "Denis always said the film was Part I."
Black and Spielberg also debated whether movie stars are still important. Spielberg began by stating that domestic stars aren't as important as they once were and that international stars are on the rise as a result of various streaming series. That may be true for a Spielberg film, but an "anchor" star is still important, according to Black.
Spielberg agreed that such an anchor is still required for a film, but those lesser-known actors can round out the cast. He then joked, "Squid Game comes along and completely changes the math for all of us." Spielberg then thanked Ted Sarandos of Netflix, who was in the audience to support Don't Look Up and Power of the Dog.
The PGA Awards will be presented at 8 p.m. Saturday.