EXCLUSIVE: Following a lengthy search, Steven Spielberg has found the actor tasked with playing the young filmmaker inspired by the legendary director. Sources tell Deadline that Gabriel LaBelle is in negotiations to play the young, aspiring filmmaker at the center of Spielberg’s upcoming film, which is loosely based on his childhood.
Michelle Williams is already set playing a role inspired by Spielberg’s mom, but with a separate and original voice, while Seth Rogen is aboard to play his favorite uncle. Paul Dano is set to play the character inspired by Spielberg’s father.
Given how personal the story is, this also will mark the first time since 2001’s A.I. that Spielberg will partake in screenwriting duties, co-writing the script with Tony Kushner, who has penned several Spielberg movies. The film will start shooting this summer with an expectation it will be released sometime in 2022. Spielberg, Kushner and Kristie Macosko Krieger are producers.
The casting of the film has been one of the more secretive processes surrounding any project in town, and while Spielberg had an idea of who he wanted for each adult part, he has taken his time meeting with children at multiple age levels for the main leads of the film. Once a deal is set, the hope is to start production later this summer.
Throughout the years, Spielberg has talked about how growing up in Arizona was an inspiration for so many of his films from story themes to actual characters. The 2017 HBO documentary Spielberg came the closest to diving into his past, but this will be the first time Spielberg is truly able to give perspective on the early years of one of cinema’s greatest storytellers.
For LaBelle, the role marks his largest part to date having previously appeared in Dead Shack and The Predator. He is set to play the younger version of Jon Bernthal in Showtime’s upcoming series adaptation of American Gigolo. He is repped by Play Management, Canopy Media Partners and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern
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