Look back at the glimmering filmography of Steven Spielberg and you’ll appreciate the eclectic nature of the iconic American creative, taking to almost every genre to instil his influence. Whilst he dabbles with reality, Spielberg is arguably at his very best when he immerses himself in science fiction, creating such classics as Jurassic Park, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence and even Minority Report.
Look deeper, however, and you’ll see that Spielberg is quite the superstitious fellow, with his frequent foray into alien movies such as War of the Worlds, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, based on a very real-life paranoia.
The filmmaker explains this stance in a rare interview from 1977, conducted the very same year as Close Encounters Of The Third Kind was released. Telling the interviewer why he believes in all the UFO sightings and close encounters, the filmmaker explains: “There have been enough sober reports from very reliable, multiple witnesses, individuals who have all seen these things all over the world not just in this country but all through Canada all through France all through Brazil, Australia you name it”.
Each of Spielberg’s alien-associated movies touches on a new angle of the outer space curiosities, with E.T contextualising the arrival of an alien life form with the coming-of-age story of a young boy and War of the Worlds dealing with the violence of a fantastical alien attack. Meanwhile, Close Encounters is the filmmaker’s most blatant attempt at telling a realistic tale of close contact.
As the director explains: “Some of the people who have had UFO encounters do tell me that it’s very similar to the kinds of encounters that are in the film, of course the kinds of encounters that are in my film are based, in part, on the experience of a kind of cross-section of people throughout the country who claim to have has second-kind encounters and third kind encounters”.
Whilst he goes about representing aliens in a fairly normal fashion throughout each of his aforementioned movies, Spielberg went fully cosmic with the release of the fourth Indiana Jones film, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008, to the sheer disappointment of critics and audiences alike. Having long tip-toed along the edge of sci-fi, the end of the fourth film in the series jumped the proverbial sharp, showing Spielberg had gotten a bit too into his alien obsession.
Further clarifying his stance on the matter of aliens, Spielberg states in the interview, “I wouldn’t put it past this government that a cosmic watergate has been underway for the last 25 years at the same time”.
So superstitious was Spielberg of alien life that he even adds, “there is a rumour that was in U.S news and world report a number of months ago that Jimmy Carter might make some unsettling disclosures about the UFO phenomena sometime in December”.
Alas, we’re still waiting on that cosmic presidential speech.