Getting the casting for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film The Fabelmans just right was crucial. The semi-autobiographical drama focuses largely on the famed director’s upbringing in the United States after World War II and how he reconciled differences with his family to follow his dream of becoming a filmmaker.
He used a stand-in, Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle), to examine the ways in which his mother’s artistic sensibilities and his father’s methodical approach to life had shaped his own, especially in light of the gulf that had developed between them.
So, it was crucial for Steven Spielberg to cast actors who could portray not simply their appearances but also their personalities and attitudes. He told The Hollywood Reporter that Paul Dano best embodies his late father Arnold Spielberg.
It may seem out of character for Dano to assume the role of Spielberg’s mild-mannered, kindly father, given some of his more recent performances. His portrayal of The Riddler in Matt Reeves’ The Batman was one of the more unsettling onscreen portrayals of the character.
From There Will Be Blood and Twelve Years a Slave to the even stranger Swiss Army Man, he had always favored more serious and offbeat roles. He is not unfamiliar with comedic roles, having previously starred in the romantic comedy Ruby Sparks. After hearing rumors about Dano’s fury while not in character, Spielberg asked him about portraying the role of his father.
When requested to participate in a Zoom conversation with Spielberg for the film, Dano stated he was really anxious. He commented, “My heart did leap. I just could see it” when he was cast as the filmmaker’s father in The Fabelmans. The director, on the first call with him, also knew he had made the correct choice and got tearful because of how much the actor reminded him of his father.
Dano, it seems, made no sacrifices in his attempt to represent Spielberg’s father convincingly. They spent a lot of time talking about Zoom, and the actor even tried to understand Arnold’s perspective. He became interested in electronics while on set and ordered a crystal radio set to put together; this sparked a lifelong passion for engineering.
Throughout his award-winning career, he has shown that he can adapt to a broad variety of parts, but given the significance of this picture to Spielberg, it appears that Dano has gone above and beyond to ensure that he is the best possible match for the character.
To Learn Even More About the Fabelmans
Movie stars include Dano, LaBelle, and Michelle Williams, who plays Spielberg’s mother Leah Adler, Mitzi Fabelman. Jeannie Berlin, Julia Butters, Robin Bartlett, and Keeley Karsten round out the cast, which also includes Seth Rogen and Judd Hirsch. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and recent West Side Story partner Tony Kushner collaborated with Spielberg on writing and producing his passion project.
The Fabelmans, starring Dano as Spielberg’s dad, will premiere in limited cinemas on November 11 and then hit a wider audience on November 23 in time for the holidays. See the teaser down below.