The Fables takes a look at the life of its own director Steven Spielberg, through the lens of fictional characters going through experiences similar to those of the prolific filmmaker. Not only does it explore Spielberg’s younger years as he discovered a love of film, but it also delves into his family’s history and personal details, with Paul Dano playing Burt Fabelman. Burt’s The Fablesversion of Spielberg’s real-life father Arnold, with the character representing Arnold’s resistance to support his son in pursuing a career in film art. Dano spoke to ComicBook.com about working on The Fablesa movie he releases after he played The Riddler The batter earlier this year.
“I’m so lucky to have had Burt’s antidote in a way and made a movie about family and something that was really guided by love and a man of integrity and decency, and there’s something very classically American about it,” said Dano , then asked about the experience of moving from Riddler to Burt Fabelman. “So this was really about, ‘How do I build a life? How can this life that’s been lived based on Arnold, Steven’s father?’ And it’s still hard for me to fully digest that Steven would want me to play his father. And it really makes sense for someone like Steven to see that. I mean, oddly enough, one of the things he said when we first met, he was like, “I just loved Escape from Dannemora,’ and ‘I had read the script.’ How do you come from Escape from Dannemora to Bert? I was like, ‘That’s kind of cool.'” Escape from Dannemora saw Dano star with Benicio del Toro and Patricia Arquette for a TV miniseries about a prison guard who falls in love with two inmates and eventually helps them escape.
While Dano claimed not to know if he will return in The Riddler The batter sequels or spin-offs, he did share his enthusiasm for working with DC Comics to publish a story detailing his character’s history. “I love it,” Dano said. “I’m working with this great artist Stefan Subic, a Serbian artist, his first comic here. I really like his work. The first issue just came out, the next one will be out later in December. So I’ll keep an eye out for that .”
It contains several series The Fables where Dano can bring heavy intensity through his emotional performances, but the inspiring story of Spielberg’s young life, adapted by Sam Fabelman, calls for a little more levity than Batman or dannemora in Dano’s case. Dano’s presence as Burt brings heart to the film and propels a very personal story alongside Gabriel LaBelle as Sam Fabelman and Michelle Williams as Mitzi Fabelman.
“It started with that courage [Steven] wanting to tell the story in the first place,” Dano said of playing a role that delves into heavy, often precise details of Spielberg’s family life. “And from our very first meeting, which I was really nervous about, meeting him, he was so open and vulnerable and kind of honest and naked and emotionally intuitive, that it opens the door for you to… In fact, you have no choice but to embrace what he gives you and take that courage and yourself… As soon as he told me about it there are only so many jobs that really make your heart skip a beat. Like, ‘Oh, this is beautiful. There’s something here, and I get to be a part of it.'”
The Fables, like its cast and filmmakers, is a movie-loving movie-goer. While showing Spielberg’s early journey to becoming a filmmaker, audiences will see the moment when Sam Fabelman falls so in love with film that he’s ready to take the plunge into a film career. For Dano, a number of artists and titles similarly drove him to pursue acting. “There are many along the way and they’re changing and they keep coming,” Dano said. “Growing up in New York when I was a kid, I think it was actually going to the theater and feeling like when the lights went down the curtain would open, and just the moment of anticipation and how big that was feeling.” That magical moment of being blown away by such a narrative experience can be seen in The Fables with a sequence featuring Dano as Burt taking LaBelle’s Sam to the movies for the first time.
“I think there was a kind of first wave of Jim Carrey love that I don’t think I was anything like, but I felt relieved by whatever juice was there,” Dano added. “And then I think I see Jack Nicholson’s work and stuff like that Five easy pieces, I started to say, ‘Okay, that’s something that would be nice if I could ever strive for that.’ But then I fell in love with movies and wanted to make them.”
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