October 1, 2022
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The Studio ‘Scam’ That Started Steven Spielberg’s Film Career

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Frank Abagnale Jr. pulled off a lot of cons in his career, including as a lawyer, sociology professor, doctor, and pilot. But could he pull off being a filmmaker? In an interview with IGN, Steven Spielberg joked that the con man could have pulled it off if he wanted to. “That’s one thing he could do today,” Spielberg said while reflecting on his time with the real Frank Abagnale Jr. “He could walk right past the [Universal Studios] guard, convince the guard of anything. And he wanted to.”

Long before “Catch Me If You Can” or his blockbusters like “E.T.” and “Jurassic Park,” Spielberg was just a kid with a film camera who wanted to make movies. He spent much of his youth preparing for a career in the film industry. Spielberg said:

“I was 15, or 16. I was in high school. I was spending a summer in California with my second cousins. And I wanted to be a director really bad. I was making a lot of 8mm home movies, since I was 12, making little dramas and comedies with the neighborhood kids.”

But it was a studio tour during that summer in California that changed Spielberg’s life forever. It’s the summer he became a studio executive … sort of.



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