Screen test: Take the Spielberg challenge

Test your knowledge in the big IoS quiz

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

'Jaws' in the 1970s; 'ET' in the 1980s; 'Jurassic Park' in the 1990s – every decade, Steven Spielberg, 65,  defines the era. His latest hit, an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's 'War Horse', took £4m on its first weekend in Britain and is nominated for five Baftas. Last night, he was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Producers Guild of America. But how much do you know about the man behind the clapper-board?

Answers at the bottom of the page


1. Like many geniuses, Steven Spielberg had an unorthodox start to his career. How did the young film geek sneak on to film locations to watch them being made?

a) By hiding in the catering trucks
b) By carrying a stepladder and pretending to be a rigger
c) By dressing in his father's suit and carrying a briefcase
d) By flirting with the security guards

2. How many years did it take him to complete his degree at California State University, Long Beach?

a) 11 years
b) 2 years
c) 3 years
d) 35 years

3. What did Spielberg use to scribble down a prenuptial agreement with first wife, Amy Irving, that made a judge dismiss it as void when they divorced in 1989?

a) A napkin
b) The back of his hand
c) A piece of loo roll
d) The first draft of Indiana Jones

4. Which Hollywood veteran turned politician made Spielberg (briefly) swap allegiance from the Democratic Party to endorse him?

a) Ronald Reagan
b) Fred Thompson
c) Arnold Schwarzenegger
d) Fred Grandy

5. Which film did his kids think he was "crazy" to turn down?

a) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
b) American Pie
c) The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
d) Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

6. Which two of the following are his goddaughters?

a) Drew Barrymore
b) Liv Tyler
c) Gwyneth Paltrow
d) Vanessa Paradis


Special effects

1. How was the slimy sound-effect of ET's waddling walk made?

a) Squelching welly boots in a muddy field
b) Moving a wet T-shirt stuffed with jelly
c) Stirring a vat of cold porridge
d) Someone chewing a hot dog noisily

2. The first mechanical shark used in Jaws earned the nickname "Flaws" after it kept sinking. How many mechanical prototypes did Spielberg get through in the film?

a) 3
b) 5
c) 8
d) 27

3. What were the chilled monkey-brains in the Temple of Doom made from?

a) Ketchup and spaghetti
b) Custard and raspberry sauce
c) Actual pickled monkey brains
d) Whipped cream and arrabbiata sauce

4. What was used to make the ripple effect in the glass of water, as the heavy-footed Tyrannosaurus Rex approached a car in Jurassic Park?

a) Guitar strings plucked inside the car
b) A snare drum under the bonnet
c) Computer animation
d) A man hitting the underside of the car with a stick

5. What was done to Haley Joel Osment every day to make him look less human for the film A.I. Artificial Intelligence, in which he played the cybertronic character David?

a) Squeezed lemon in his eyes to make them shinier
b) His skin was polished with beeswax
c) His clothes were vacuumed to remove dust
d) His face, arms and hands were shaved

6. In Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, what was done to make spiders crawl over Jones's ill-fated guide Satipo, played by Alfred Molina?

a) Molina was smeared with jam
b) A female spider was put on his chest
c) Dead flies were placed on his eyebrows
d) A spider's web was sewn into his costume


Behind the scenes

1. How did Spielberg ensure Audrey Hepburn didn't get dirt on her white costume in the 1989 film Always?

a) He had her carried on set on a stretcher
b) Made her change into her costume on set
c) Gave her a fireman's lift from her trailer
d) Made her wear a bib

2. When Julia Roberts played Tinkerbell in Hook, she had an assistant who did only one job. What was it?

a) Tinkering her bell
b) Mouthing her lines
c) Cleaning her feet
d) Telling her if she had food stuck between her teeth

3. During the filming of Saving Private Ryan, what favourable treatment was Matt Damon given to make sure the rest of the cast would resent him and convey it in their performances?

a) Spielberg gave him a hug every morning on set
b) He was given the biggest trailer
c) He was spared several days of gruelling army training
d) He was assigned a butler called Herbert

4. In Close Encounters of the Third Kind, what did Spielberg do to make three-year-old Barry Guiler, played by Cary Guffey, look shocked at the supposed arrival of extraterrestrials?

a) Got crew members dressed as a gorilla and a clown to jump out at him off camera
b) Shouted "boo" in his ear
c) Told him his mum was dead
d) Set off a firework inside the studio

5. What did George Lucas originally call Indiana Jones, before Spielberg stepped in, saying it didn't sound right?

a) Indiana Doom
b) Indiana Gonzalez
c) Indiana Smith
d) Indiana Nana

6. What natural disaster, which hit Hawaii during the jungle filming of Jurassic Park, resulted in crew getting involved in the rescue effort?

a) A tsunami
b) A hurricane
c) An earthquake
d) A coconut drought


Animals, monsters and aliens


1.Which of these films did Spielberg's own dog, a cocker spaniel called Elmer, star in?

a) Jaws
b) The Sugarland Express
c) Close Encounters
d) All of them

2. Which of these faces was ET's face NOT modelled on?

a) The poet Carl Sandburg
b) Albert Einstein
c) A pug dog
d) Danny DeVito

3. In Jurassic Park: The Lost World, which has twice the number of dinosaur scenes as the first film, which actor is supposed to have turned down the lead role, saying she would only appear if she could play the dinosaur?

a) Laura Dern
b) Meryl Streep
c) Emma Thompson
d) Juliette Binoche

4. What was the name of the childhood pet dog whom Spielberg tied a camera round to make a Super 8 film of his journey round town?

a) Rex
b) Tornado
c) Thunder
d) Bob

5. How many horses played Joey during the filming of War Horse?

a) 1
b) 6
c) 14
d) None

6. Which of these was NOT considered as an alternative for ET's voice before the husky voiced chain-smoker Pat Welsh was cast?

a) The snoring wife of the sound-effects man
b) A film professor burping
c) Racoons
d) A donkey braying




1. At the age of 17 Spielberg made his first feature-length film, Firelight, on a budget of $500. How much profit did it make?

a) $1
b) $100
c) $1,000
d) $1m

2. What is his highest grossing film, making more than $435m in its lifetime?

a) Jurassic Park
b) ET
c) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
d) Jaws

3. What did Spielberg do when he was 12 to fund his film-making?

a) Set up a car-washing business
b) A paper round
c) Set up a tree-planting business
d) Ran a jumble sale with George Lucas

4. What is the reported value of the Seven Seas – the 282ft yacht he recently bought, complete with screening room, helipad and gym?

a) $20m
b) $50m
c) $200m
d) $2,000m

5. Schindler's List, which had an estimated budget of $25m, is the most expensive black and white film ever made. Which film previously held that record for more than 30 years?

a) Night of the Hunter
b) Metropolis
c) Psycho
d) The Longest Day

6. In 2010, after taking home an estimated $107m, where did Spielberg rank among Hollywood's best-paid men?

a) 1st
b) 3rd
c) 10th
d) 26th

Answers (if required) Life 1 c 2 d 3 a 4 c 5 a 6 a, c Special effects 1 b 2 a 3 b 4 a 5 d 6 b Behind the scenes 1 a 2 c 3 c 4 a 5 c 6 b Animals etc 1 d 2 d 3 d 4 c 5 c 6 d Profits 1 a 2 b 3 c 4 c 5 d 6 b