by Mike Fleming Jr
EXCLUSIVE: Hot off directing back to back pictures in the Oscar contender The Post and the upcoming Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg is now figuring out his next two directorial vehicles. There are several percolating, but sources say he is eyeing Indiana Jones, and then would either precede or follow quickly with another pic. I’m hearing that one might be his dream project, a new version of West Side Story. Spielberg’s camp had no comment on his plans.
We revealed back in 2015 that Spielberg had his eye on his Jurassic World star Chris Pratt to be a central part of the franchise relaunch, alongside Harrison Ford. Not sure if that is set in stone, but the prospect of Spielberg relaunching the franchise he hatched with pal George Lucas makes Disney’s acquisition of LucasFilm seem even more brilliant in hindsight. That franchise moved from Paramount and came with all the Star Wars stuff. David Koepp wrote the Indy script. Disney dated it for 2020.
Spielberg has long been interested in a new version of the 1961 classic movie West Side Story, which was co-directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins from the Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical. Frequent Spielberg collaborator Tony Kushner has been working on the script.
Unsure how quickly Spielberg will move from one project to the next, but his history of multi-tasking is strong. That included the time he made Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List back to back. It made for a memorable 1993, with Jurassic proving a huge summer hit that spawned a franchise and theme park rides at Universal, and then Schindler’s List winning Best Picture. He did something similar with Ready Player One, with early footage from the Ernest Cline novel adaptation that got the Comic-Con crowd all hot and bothered last summer in San Diego. Warner Bros releases it March 30 and we’ll know Tuesday how The Post fares with Oscar nominations.
Sources said that Spielberg could fall for another script — if you got a good one, now’s the time to send it — and could possibly do a film before Indy if one hits him like a lightning bolt the way that Liz Hannah’s script for The Post did. Other projects on his radar that don’t seem so white hot include The Kidnapping Of Edgardo Mortara, a Kushner-scripted adaptation of the David Kirtzer novel. That one seemed on a fast track before Spielberg chose Ready Player One, with Mark Rylance and Oscar Isaac attaching. It cooled because Spielberg had such trouble casting the youth — he saw over 2000 kids to play the role of a young Jewish boy, forcibly raised as a Christian in 19th century Italy, which created a furor that pitted the Vatican against forces of democracy and Italian unification.