We’ve seen the output of the other two directors — the Daniels, and Todd Field — who were invited to participate in W’s Directors Issue, and both of them chose muses who were separate and distinct from their Oscar-nominated projects. Steven Spielberg, on the other hand, chose as his inspiration… himself and his movie. I yearn for what he might have done, had he thought outside of the Fabelmans memory box… and yet, at least he brought us Hat. LOOK AT THIS HILARIOUSLY INSANE HAT. It’s bigger than Saturn. I love it unsarcastically and think she is selling the hell out of it, with real Fraulein Maria Has Confidence energy. That hat is dynamite.

And, dammit, the story is extremely sweet. This is the ending, and I think it speaks simultaneously to the day, to the film’s press tour, and in a bittersweet macro sense, to his career of making movies:

As the W shoot wrapped up, Dano was throwing a baseball with [Gabriel] LaBelle. It was an odd moment, because it had no reference point in The Fabelmans. Or maybe it did: A father and son playing catch has a certain simplicity—it’s an easy kindness that evokes the happiness of childhood. Spielberg watched them toss the ball back and forth. “I just love this,” he said finally. “I’m having a great day. I’ll be sad when it’s over.”

So… yeah, okay, he didn’t really lean as hard into the creativity of the assignment as the other two, but some of the results are so nice, who even cares. I still maintain they should’ve had a female director do it, but I am screaming into the void on that one, I fear. Let’s hope they were invited, and all said no because they’re super busy fielding rich offers to do their dream projects.

[Photos: Steven Spielberg, with DP Janusz Kaminski; story by Lynn Hirschberg]