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Steven Spielberg almost quit directing after making Schindler's List

'It was the trauma of telling the story and forming the Shoah Foundation'

Jack Shepherd
Thursday 16 June 2016 09:29 BST
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Liam Neeson in Shindler's List
Liam Neeson in Shindler's List

Steven Spielberg will go down in history as one of Hollywood's most prolific directors; even now in his later life, he’s helming Disney films (BFG), blockbusters (Ready Player One, Indiana Jones 5), and documentaries (The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara).

However, there was a time when Spielberg almost gave up on directing altogether. Despite giving him two Oscars in 1994, after working on Schindler's List, he didn’t want to go back to work. "I just didn't," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I could not.”

Asked by the trade whether he was depressed, Spielberg - at first - said yes, before correcting himself: "I've never been depressed. I was sad and isolated, and as well-received and successful as that movie was, I think it was the trauma of telling the story and forming the Shoah Foundation. [Spielberg's non-profit organisation hoping to preserve the rememberance of the Holocaust]

"I started to wonder, was Schindler's List going to be the last film I would direct?"

Thankfully, for the movie going world, Spielberg was drawn back to Hollywood soon enough, the urge to work "seized me one day like a thunderbolt.I just needed time.” It was then, in 1997, that he returned to direct the sequel to Jurassic Park, The Lost World.

Read our retrospective of Spielberg’s prolific career.

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