Steven Spielberg

Minority Report

Interviewed by Alec Cawthorne

Apart from being a film noir thriller, was "Minority Report" intended to be a warning?

Science fiction loves to warn. Remember, science fiction's always been the kind of first level alert to think about things to come. It's easier for an audience to take warnings from sci-fi without feeling that we're preaching to them. Every science fiction movie I have ever seen, any one that's worth its weight in celluloid, warns us about things that ultimately come true.

You almost play against type, casting Tom Cruise as the character of John Anderton...

I think my first direction to Tom was, "No smiling!" I think I told him, "You'll smile three times in this film. I'm not even sure where those three times will be. We'll discover those times together."

What do you get from Tom as an actor?

He's very experimental, and he's very prone to wanting to have the director say, "Let's go off what you prepared and memorized, and let's go off script and try something new." He loves that. He lives for that. If a day goes by where I haven't given something to Tom that wasn't in the screenplay, he'll say, "Where's my prize?" Tom was always encouraging me to explore along with him and find things for him to do that were new and he hadn't done before.

"Minority Report" doesn't feel like a Steven Spielberg film - is that a compliment or an insult?

Well, it's probably a compliment. I'm kind of tired of myself. It would be great if it was somebody else's movie and I just happened to make it. That would be fun. I wouldn't mind that.

You've moved into an area you haven't been in before...

I haven't been in this kind of gritty area my entire life. I mean, there's certainly a lot of grit in "Saving Private Ryan", and it certainly is a different kind of solemnity in "Schindler's List". But this is a kind of entertaining grit.

Have you enough life left to tackle all the ideas that are likely to come your way?

Well, I don't think about writing my memoirs, because I'm pretty active making movies still. And being a real person in real life. I've read a lot of people's memoirs and it always signals some kind of ending, and I don't think in terms of endings. I think in terms of chapters. Every time I finish a movie, it's a chapter. When one of my kids graduates from school, that's a chapter. I let my wife [Kate Capshaw] write all the books. I just think that the important thing for me to do is to keep doing what I've been doing all these years. I love it, why should I stop?