Steven Spielberg Collaborators Reveal His Talent for Gift Giving: “He’s Thoughtful in Every Way”

Steven Spielberg Collaborators Reveal His Talent for Gift Giving: “He’s Thoughtful in Every Way”
Feb 2023

Stars of 'The Fabelmans' reveal the gifts Spielberg gave them during and after production on the deeply personal film.

As any one of his close collaborators will tell you, legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg has another rare gift for, well, giving gifts.

"He's thoughtful in every way," says Michelle Williams, the Oscar-nominated star of The Fabelmans, who plays a character inspired by Spielberg's mother. "I turned 41 on the set and he gave me a birthday cake from The Milky Way, his mother's restaurant. There's always beautiful meaning behind whatever he sends your way."

Getting a cake from his mother's shop for the woman playing his mother is a nice touch, and Williams, like many on Spielberg's Fabelmans team, are finding out that it's pretty much par for the course when it comes to working with him. Jeff Goldblum once confessed that when they wrapped the original Jurassic Park, Spielberg gifted the cast full-sized velociraptors.

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Everything Everywhere All at Once Oscar nominee Ke Huy Quan, who worked with Spielberg on the actor's big-screen debut as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, told The Guardian that Spielberg still sends him gifts every Christmas. Per reports, Spielberg also gifted each member of the cast of his 1989 film Always a brand-new Mazda Miata. The cast included Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, Brad Johnson, John Goodman, Keith David, Marg Helgenberger and Audrey Hepburn in her final performance.

Though they haven't received automobiles, Williams' Fabelmans co-stars also weighed in and revealed they, too, have received touching presents. "He gave me a film projector and a Fabelmans sleeping bag for wrap gifts," says Julia Butters. "I watched Poltergeist as our first movie using the projector from inside my sleeping bag. That was amazing. He's an amazing gift-giver, not just with his presence but with his presents.

Adds Gabriel LaBelle: "He sent me some camera equipment and very nice letters. And after a few [awards shows, his people] sent me bagels from a bakery and then cupcakes."

Paul Dano kept his gifts private but offers this: "This was a film about family and that was the vibration of how we celebrated it -- through gifts, thanks and all of that."

-- Additional reporting by Kirsten Chuba

This story first appeared in the Feb. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.