What next for Steven Spielberg?

Lincoln, Interstellar, Indiana Jones 5, Bond 23, Bourne 4, Jurassic Park 4? - We discuss and predict.

It hasn't particularly been a happy year of development for Steven Spielberg. For the umpteeth time, he has waived the chance to make a Abraham Lincoln biopic with Liam Neeson(I wrote that he was too afraid to make it earlier this year) and his disdained decisions to remake the classics Harvey and Oldboy have both withered and died recently. Harvey in particular must kill him because that one got close, real close. Filming was just a matter of months away but he couldn't lock down on an actor he wanted, and he's done with that one. But a defiant Spielberg is reportedly wanting to film something quick next year, something to get him back into the live action gig after making Tintin with Peter Jackson. Which is all well and good but it almost certainly means his biopic of Lincoln, written by his Munich scribe Tony Kushner, will not be filmed early next year. Spielberg's just not in the right mindset to say... "let's go and make something amazing" with that film, and one wonders if he ever will be. abrhaam as lincolm

Spielberg; if you don't wanna make Lincoln, then stand aside and let someone else realise Liam Neeson's dream. We all know that Spielberg doesn't have the same creative drive that he had in the 80s and 90s, and Lincoln being his big "Mount Everest" (aka Saving Private Ryan or Schlinder's List) of his twilight years, haunts him every night in his sleep. His Schlinder's List one-sheet must hang over the same way a successful piece of art must haunt an aging painter, who can't quite find that creative spark he once had to create a masterpiece. Another few that I can kill in quick succession are Jurassic Park 4 (called a dead franchise 12 months ago) and his 3-month flirtation project The Trial of the Chicago 7 (as he's moved way on from that). Much more likely for Spielberg is a fifth Indiana Jones adventure, as unfortunate as that sounds for us but not for Paramount's bank balance. Over the summer we heard that Spielberg had "cracked the story" for a next Indiana Jones adventure he would make with George Lucas, and that Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf were excited to get back into the series. indy4may8-17Indiana Jones 5 won't take long to setup, and could film next Summer if the pieces fall in the right place. Spielberg is in danger of becoming the "family friendly" director for the rest of his career and if he's happy with that, then good on him, he had a good run. And his family friendly movies can be great, I mean who doesn't love E.T. but he hasn't hit a home run in this genre for a while now. Indy IV was such a nosedive. A second possible safe bet for his next movie is The 39 Clues, a kids adventure book series that mixes Indy Jones and National Treasure which last September, Spielberg hired Jeff Nathanson to adapt into a feature script. That one could be ready to go as a family fun movie...
€œThe story of the books revolves around the mega-rich Cahill family, who can trace their ancestry back to both Napoleon and Houdini, and whose matriarch, Grace, changes her will on her death bed. She offers each of her descendants the choice of a clue to the €œsource of the family€™s powers€, which presumably means money. That, or some Da Vinci Code-like secret.€
39_cluesThe book series is basically Da Vinci Code for kids.Back in July, Spielberg also became excited by Paul Attanasio€™s (The Sum of All Fears, Donnie Brasco) script for a modern day re-imaging of Matt Helm, a 60€™s €œcounter agent€ (not strictly a spy, more Jack Ryan than 007) of the post World War II-Cold War Era whose 27 novels written by Donald Hamilton had him taking down the world€™s most dangerous spies. This one has a script ready, and just needs to be cast for what would be Spielberg's North by Northwest, in a way, as I don't think anyone would expect him to make a super-serious spy film with his current mindset. This one is likely to be more tongue-in-cheek than the Bourne series, closer to a 60s Bond movie than that. George Clooney could be his Cary Grant. matt-hleHelm is described by Wiki as €œtough-minded, pragmatic, and competent€ but is also an out of shape 36 year old in the early books, whose best days are behind him. Spielberg was ready to begin development on this before the Harvey script fell in his lap a week later, and he went with that instead. It would only take a few meetings for this one to be a go. Speaking of Bourne, after Paul Greengrass' exit from the series, there is a rare window of opportunity for Universal to grab Spielberg. Minority Report was almost a Ludlum novel set in space, it's an interesting combination to think about. Then of course the 007 series needs a new director for Bond 23 but we know MGM are having troubles at the moment and are probably in no position to talk to anyone about the job. Judi Dench recently told MTV News that she doesn't expect to be needed for a new Bond film until Spring 2011. Of course the whole irony of the Spielberg downtime in 2009, hunting to find something else to keep him occupied instead of Lincoln is that Spielberg has had in his property for over three years a killer idea, a killer concept, and the right genre for him to make his big comeback. The movie is of course Interstellar, a science fiction/time travel movie written by Jonathan Nolan, a big part of the Nolan movies success' (he came up with the short story for Memento and co-wrote scripts for The Prestige and The Dark Knight). wormholeWonder if Spielberg's dilly-dalliance might eventually see the sci-fi project Jonah Nolan wrote, end up in the hands of his brother Chris? That one is a Paramount movie and was ignited by a theory from Kip S. Thorne about the reality of wormwholes and how they can be used to travel through time. Much like Lincoln, I just wanna grab Spielberg and tell him that if he doesn't think he will ever make the movie THEN MOVE ON, and leave it for someone else to make. A Jonathan Nolan written movie about wormwholes and time travel is way to good to sit on the shelf rotting. No doubt Spielberg will be spending Christmas this year opening the envelopes on more new scripts than advent calendar doors but let's hope his flirting with remaking two classics this year is out of his system, and any rehash that falls into his lap this time goes straight into the trash can.

Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.