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30 years on, Spielberg calls ‘Schindler’s List’ his best film

The Hollywood Reporter interviewed the Jewish director about the 1993 film, which is considered one of the most important movies about the Holocaust.

Actor Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler From the film “Schindler’s List,” directed by Steven Spielberg. Source: Screenshot.
Actor Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler From the film “Schindler’s List,” directed by Steven Spielberg. Source: Screenshot.

Robin Williams knew how hard it was for Steven Spielberg to shoot “Schindler’s List”; the comedian would call the director every Friday. “He’d call me on the phone and do comedy for me,” Spielberg told the Hollywood Reporter. “Whether it was after 10 minutes or 20 minutes, when he heard me give the biggest laugh, he’d hang up on me.”

The interview, pegged to the 30-year-anniversary of the Holocaust film, which Spielberg shot in 1993, includes much behind-the-scenes information that might be news to many.

Mel Gibson—years before he would go on an antisemitic rant after being pulled over by a Los Angeles police officer for driving under the influence—wanted to play Schindler.

“Mel Gibson’s name came up. He was interested. His agent put him forward. But it wasn’t going to happen,” said agent Michael Ovitz, who was involved with the film. “Steven wanted a non-movie star for the part.”

“It’s the best movie I’ve ever made,” Spielberg told the magazine. “I am not going to say it’s the best movie I ever will make. But currently, it’s the work I’m proudest of.”

In December, the Shoah Foundation of the University of Southern California, founded by Spielberg, started collecting the testimonies of Israeli survivors of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

The foundation is best known for its work documenting the stories of more than 56,000 Holocaust survivors since its founding in 1994.

“I never imagined I would see such unspeakable barbarity against Jews in my lifetime,” Spielberg said at the time.

“Both initiatives—recording interviews with survivors of the October 7 attacks and the ongoing collection of Holocaust testimony—seek to fulfill our promise to survivors: that their stories would be recorded and shared in the effort to preserve history and to work toward a world without antisemitism or hate of any kind. We must remain united and steadfast in these efforts,” he added.

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