The four-time Oscar-nominated actress revealed that “The Fabelmans” director Spielberg still sends her photos of his parents, Leah Adler and Arnold Spielberg, over a year after wrapping production on his autobiographical film. Williams plays Mitzi, based on Adler, while Paul Dano is Spielberg’s surrogate father as Burt Fabelman.
“We’re still talking about his parents. We were just texting about his parents,” Williams said during the MoMA Contenders series panel post-screening. “I am still getting family photos, things I have never seen, and the archives and the memories and the love.”
“The Fabelmans” production concluded in September 2021, with the film now opening in theaters November 11.
Williams shared that “there was nothing I couldn’t ask” Spielberg about his upbringing, while co-star Gabriel LaBelle, who plays Spielberg’s insert Sammy Fabelman, added that everything in the film really happened to the auteur.
“There are huge acts of love and courage to sort of open yourself up to so many people staring at you,” Emmy winner Williams said. “The love just continues and the experiences just continue…He’s very attached to his childhood and he brings that into work.”
Williams addressed the heightened emotions on set, saying, “It’s like an extended, feverish state of play for 12 hours. His energy, I think you feel like you’re coming to set every day on the tip of your toes and he’s 75 years old running faster than you and driving harder than you are. Every day you are just in this state of perpetual readiness.”
Williams’ co-star Seth Rogen agreed, noting that Spielberg is “hyper-focused” on perfecting each shot.
“No one was talking about anything other than the movie at all times, basically,” Rogen said. “There was almost never conversation about what we were doing. That’s not how movies are often. Sometimes it feels like making the movie is one of the many things happening, weirdly. He’s cutting and he comes back being like, ‘We need a shot. I just saw the scene.'”
Williams previously told People magazine that she and Spielberg “love each other a lot” after collaborating on the personal film.
“Every time that we’re sort of brought back together and we get to see each other again, it’s like coming home,” Williams said. “To live as this person for this period of time was really…I learned a lot, and I hope I take a little bit of that love of life with me.”