12 Movies That Were Almost Directed By Steven Spielberg

11. Rain Man

Harry Potter

The project in a nutshell: An original screenplay by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass, about an arrogant hustler who, following the death of his father, discovers he has an autistic savant older brother.

When was Spielberg attached: Early in the film's development in 1987, Spielberg worked closely with Morrow and Bass to develop the script.

Who ended up directing it: Barry Levinson. The film, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, was a big hit on release in December 1988, and cleaned up at the Oscars shortly thereafter, winning Best Picture, Best Director for Levinson, Best Actor for Hoffman, and Best Original Screenplay for Morrow and Bass.

What happened: Rain Man was a project which, by all accounts, Spielberg was deeply invested in. It also would have given him the chance to direct Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, both of whom he was eager to work with.

However, production on the film would have overlapped with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, so Spielberg was forced to withdraw, something he has since professed regrets about.


Ben Bussey hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.