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“I just couldn’t find it inside me”: Steven Spielberg Gave Up $182M Robert De Niro Movie To Martin Scorsese After Director Backed Out Of His Plans For Schindler’s List

Steven Spielberg Gave Up $182M Robert De Niro Movie To Martin Scorsese After Director Backed Out Of His Plans For Schindler's List

Schindler’s List is and will probably be Steven Spielberg’s most celebrated and illustrious movie of all time. It was also the movie that made him an Oscar winner for the very first time. To have somebody else direct that movie would have been an abhorrent crime, for even the fans agree that it is hard to recreate the magic Spielberg did.

Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg
Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg

However, as it turns out, he even wasn’t supposed to make the movie in the first place. It was Martin Scorsese who would have been Schindler’s List’s director as Spielberg was busy developing Scorsese’s movie Cape Fear starring Robert De Niro. Fortunately, things didn’t go as planned and Spielberg eventually ended up helming his Oscar-winning movie starring Liam Neeson.

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Steven Spielberg Directing Schindler’s List Was Unplanned

Cape Fear
Cape Fear

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Steven Spielberg‘s Schindler’s List is a masterpiece that beautifully captures the harrowing reality of the Holocaust with utmost authenticity. The cast and crew have on multiple occasions retold the director’s dedication and commitment to the project. Thus, to imagine anyone else directing such a poignant yet haunting tale is imaginable, for Spielberg’s ability and talent are truly unparalleled in this world.

But back in the 1980’s the celebrated director was busy developing Cape Fear, a dark and violent tale of a convicted r*pist and his maniac obssession to terrorize the very lawyers who defended him. It was this movie that eventually ended up with Robert De Niro in lead, directed by Martin Scorsese.

But this switch up was accidental since Spielberg originally wanted Scorsese to direct Schindler’s List. But due to Scorsese’s then-recent controversy with the movie The Last Temptation of Christ, he had to let it go. Just then, Spielberg, who had decided to drop out of Cape Fear, had the brilliant idea of the directors switching movies, which ultimately resulted in two wonderful cinematic masterpieces.

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Why Steven Spielberg Chose To Direct Schindler’s List Instead Of Cape Fear?

Schindler's List
Schindler’s List

Looking at Cape Fear and the disturbing tale it showcases, one can already figure out that it isn’t a movie that would suit Spielberg. Even the Oscar-winning director had similar thoughts, and hence decided to drop out of it. As per Far Out Magazine, he once stated,

“I wasn’t in the mood; it’s as simple as that…I just couldn’t find it inside me to make a scary movie about a family being preyed on by a maniac.”

Instead, he chose to direct Schindler’s List, even though he had some reservations about helming a holocaust based movie. Speaking about his decision to swap projects with Scorsese, he remarked (Far Out Magazine),

“I was drawn to it because of the paradoxical nature of the character…what would drive a man like this to suddenly take everything he had earned and put it all in the service of saving these lives?”

And thus such switch up resulted in too amazing directors creating two amzing movies that continue to intrigue and amaze viewers to this day.

Both Schindler’s List and Cape Fear can be rented on YouTube.

Source: Far Out Magazine

Written by Maria Sultan

A recent political science graduate, Maria can often be found deeply immersed in a book or creating art. A political science fanatic and history lover, content writing is one of her many hobbies. From international relations to entertainment, her pen is not restricted to any one domain. In her free time, she can often be found debating about the nuance of politics, history, or art or found binge watching her favourite kdramas, anime or series.