Spielberg’s Double Features

I was a bit sad to read that John Williams is not doing the score for Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One”, but the reason is because he is doing the score for Spielberg’s other film “The Papers”, which is in post-production at the same time!

The last time I can recall Spielberg doing two films at the same time was “Jurassic Park” and “Schindler’s List” in 1993. It was notable because both films were nominated and won Oscars in the same year (7 wins for Schindler and 3 wins for Jurassic) and I remember this crazy story where Spielberg was editing Jurassic Park at night while filming Schindler’s list during the day.

So then I wondered, are these the only times that Spielberg has done two films at once? I looked through IMDB and saw that this is a regular occurrence.

  • 1997 — “Amistad” and “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”
  • 2002 — “Catch Me If You Can” and “Minority Report”
  • 2005 — “Munich” and “War of the Worlds”
  • 2011 — “War Horse” and “The Adventures of Tintin”

They all seem to pair a historical film with a sci-fi/fantasy film and the two in 2011 were both released on the same day (December 23, 2011). Not sure if this was a result after the incredible success of “Jurassic Park” and “Schindler’s List” (he never did two feature length films in a year before that) or if it’s a right brain, left brain thing type of thing, where he needs both parts of his mind going at once, but nonetheless it’s impressive that he remains so prolific and can keep up this insane pace of film making, even as he enters his 7th decade.

But looking back at each of those pairs of films, John Williams was right there with Spielberg, scoring both films each time. Maybe this time the overlap was just too close and to be fair John Williams is now 85 years old versus Spielberg, who is 70, and I’m sure they wanted to do it again one more time, as John Williams was originally attached to “Ready Player One” when the project was initially announced. But alas, it was not meant to be and Alan Silvestri is a worthy replacement for “Ready Player One”.

It’s amazing to see these masters continue to be creative for so long and it’s something to be inspired by as I look at my own career. It makes me believe that the core of who you are and what inspires you to get up each day doesn’t change as you get older and the only thing that will stop you from doing what you want to do is if your body is no longer able to do what you want it to do, which is an excellent reminder to take good care of your health, so that you can continue doing what you love for as long as you can.