Steven Spielberg has COVID, skips Gotham Awards

Steven Spielberg was scheduled to present Michelle Williams with her cast tribute at the Gotham Awards on Monday but had to say goodbye because he has COVID.

diversity learned the director of The Fabelmans had tested positive before the red carpet opened for the annual gala, but Paul Dano confirmed the news as he replaced Spielberg for the Williams tribute.

Dano, who plays Spielberg’s father in The Fabelmans alongside Williams as his mother, recalled speaking to Williams at events for the film about their early days in Hollywood.

“Michelle said, ‘I remember just driving around town looking for work,'” he said. “And I was like, ‘Imagine if this teenage girl knew that midway through her career with Gothams she was going to receive a tribute award from none other than Steven Spielberg, and what would she have thought?'”

He continued, “Then I thought, ‘Well, what if we had to tell this girl that Steven has COVID?’ She would say, ‘What is COVID?’ and that ‘Paul Dano wanted to introduce you?’ She’d be like, ‘Who the hell is Paul Dano?’”

Spielberg was also scheduled to be interviewed by his old pal Martin Scorsese at a DGA screening of The Fabelmans while he was in New York for the Gothams. That has been postponed.

When The Fabelmans premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, Spielberg told a press conference that the pandemic prompted him to make the deeply personal film. “I remember as the death toll mounted, we followed the reports of what was happening across the country and around the world, and I kept thinking, ‘What is this going to mean for humanity? How far will this pandemic actually take us?’” he said. “And I was like, ‘This is something I need to get out of myself now.'”

So Spielberg used the free time he had during the height of COVID to hop on Zoom and co-write the screenplay with Tony Kushner. The end product not only paid homage to Williams’ work as Spielberg’s mother, but also put him right in the running for the awards. Steven Spielberg has COVID, skips Gotham Awards

Charles Jones

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