Steven Spielberg feared COVID was “an extinction-level event”

The director’s concerns around the pandemic led him to make 'The Fabelmans'

Steven Spielberg has said he feared the COVID-19 pandemic was going to become an “extinction-level event”.

The director discussed the pandemic during an interview with The Daily Star newspaper, where he explained that he created his latest film The Fabelmans in response to his concerns.

“I was terrified [COVID] was an end-of-days, and epic-level event, I mean an extinction-level event, that was happening to the world,” Spielberg said. “If I got the chance to make one more movie, it was going to be this story.”


He added: “By the time I had serious discussions about writing [The Fabelmans], we lost 250,000 Americans to COVID. All the experts that were coming out and the denial from the White House that this wasn’t so bad, it was just like a passing flu epidemic.

“I really thought we were not heading in a good direction and this was not going to end well for many of us. And that just got me thinking about telling a story that has been on my mind. All my life I’ve thought about this.”

The Fabelmans is a semi-autobiographical story based on Spielberg’s adolescence and early years as a filmmaker. The story is told through fictional character Sammy (Gabriel LaBelle), who discovers how film can help him cope with his dysfunctional family.

The film’s cast includes Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Julia Butters, Judd Hirsch, Keeley Karsten and Robin Bartlett.

Earlier this month, LaBelle won Best Young Performer at the Critics’ Choice Awards for the role. The film also won Best Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes, with Spielberg picking up Best Director.

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