Though his adaptation of West Side Story is not set to make its premiere till later this year, Steven Spielberg looks to have found his next directing gig, one of which is very close to home. Sources tell Deadline that Spielberg is coming on to direct an untitled pic at Amblin Partners that is loosely based on his childhood growing up in Arizona. Insiders add that Michelle Williams is in negotiations to star in a major role inspired by his mom but with a separate and original voice.
Given how personal the story is, this will also mark the first time since “A.I.” that Spielberg will partake in screenwriting duties, co-writing the script with Tony Kushner, who has penned several Spielberg movies in the past. The film will start shooting this summer with an expectation that it will be released sometime in 2022.
Spielberg will now look to cast the remaining roles which include children at multiple age levels, one of which will play the part inspired by a young Spielberg.
Throughout the years, Spielberg has talked about how growing up in Arizona was an inspiration for so many of his films from story themes to actual characters. The 2017 HBO documentary came the closest to diving into his past but this film will be the first time Spielberg is truly able to give perspective on the early years of one of cinema’s greatest storytellers.
While his new retelling of West Side Story is not set to bow till the end of the year, Spielberg finished the film’s post-production last year but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the film to push to 2021. The delay did give Spielberg the time to figure out what that next film would be and he began zeroing in on what it would be at the end of 2020, playing with several ideas. By the top of 2021, he made the decision to tell his story on the big screen and began talking with talent about who would take part in the project, with Williams ultimately blowing him away after recent meetings.