Steven Spielberg will get a writing and producing credit on the upcoming supernatural thriller Poltergeist, but should he get a directing credit, too? Even though The Texas Chain Saw Massacre‘s Tobe Hooper is officially at the helm, there’s reports that Spielberg has been especially hands-on on set, so hands-on in fact that crew members claim he at least deserves a co-director credit.
The film is set in a California suburb. Late one night, Steven (Craig T. Nelson) and Diane Freeling (JoBeth Williams) catch their daughter Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) having a chat with their television set. Just some weird kid stuff, right? Not exactly. Turns out, there are evil spirits hanging out in there and they want to take Carol Anne with them.
Spielberg came up with the idea, rewrote drafts of the script and was heavily involved in storyboarding the film, but then expected to hand it over to Hooper entirely so he could go off and work on E.T., which is scheduled to begin shooting five weeks after principal photography on Poltergeist. However, it seems as though that never really happened. Apparently Hooper isn’t a particularly forceful leader so, as one might expect, that makes it easy for Spielberg to step in as he pleases.
As much as I love The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, letting Spielberg have a heavy hand on the production seems like a major plus to me. We’re talking about the guy who directed Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Raiders of the Lost Ark here. Plus, deep passion and a clear vision for the film could go a long way, especially when we’re expected to believe evil spirits are manipulating children using TVs.
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