Before the musical West Side Story, Steven Spielberg tackled comedy, especially with Stop me if you can.
Steven Spielberg’s cinema is synonymous with more mature and dark works of the early 2000s, as evidenced by AI Artificial intelligence, Minority Report and War of the Worlds, all imbued with the impact of September 11 on American fiction. But between his two collaborations with Tom Cruise, the filmmaker has granted himself a luminous parenthesis, abandoning the superhuman capacities of the star of Mission : Impossible to find Tom Hanks, the ordinary hero who experiences extraordinary things in his cinema.
And that he’s an immigrant stuck in an airport (The terminal), a lawyer defending a Soviet spy (The Bridge of Spies), or a journalist who brings out the truth (Pentagon Papers). In Stop me if you can, it is Leonardo DiCaprio who embodies an extraordinary young prodigy, in the guise of the crook Frank Abagnale Jr., while he is on the verge of losing his eternal youth in Martin Scorsese. A game of cat and mouse where Tom Hanks pursues the succession of a generation that runs faster than him, in a meeting of the third kind between two Spielbergian heroes.
A colorful film
Encounter of the fourth kind
To play Frank Abagnale Jr., whose autobiography serves as the genesis of the project, Spielberg’s choice to hire Leonardo DiCaprio is now obvious. Yet his first choice was not the interpreter of the brother of Gilbert Grape, but rather his sidekick Johnny Depp, the other young actor rising from this time in Hollywood. But Depp finally declined the offer returned to DiCaprio, still retained on the set of Gangs of New York. His first mature and violent role with Martin Scorsese, thanks to which he will definitely become a man, by chaining Aviator and Infiltrators.
The extended shootings delayed filming, to the point where the late James Gandolfini, originally cast as Carl Hanratty, was forced to give up the role and leave it to Tom Hanks. This idea – a note of intention – to make two generations collide thus seems to already animate the first choices of Spielberg. And it is to believe that chance does things well, so much the alchemy between his second choices works of the fire of god on the screen, in large part thanks to the generational gap which separates them, despite similar careers on many aspects.
After debuting in American sitcoms, they were very quickly spotted as the young prodigies of their respective eras. First in the comedy for Hanks, where his performance as a child stuck in an adult body earned him his first Oscar nomination, for Big. A role that was only the first of a long list of characters crossing his career, to which he infused this normality that makes him so empathetic, that of an ordinary American, but who does extraordinary things. A gay, HIV-positive and activist lawyer in Philadelphia or an autistic who crosses American history as he crosses the country in a marathon in Forrest Gump.
The role of his life
After his double Oscar consecration, he went on to perform roles where he achieved the extraordinary with his physique of common mortals. An astronaut in Apollo 13, a children’s toy in Toy Story, a WWII soldier in We have to save the soldier Ryan or a Fedex delivery man who finds himself alone on a desert island in Alone in the world.