Meeting Stephen Spielberg

My fellow Washington Area Film Critic Association member Kevin McCarthy lives a pretty awesome life. He travels to lavish hotels and kicks it with your favorite movie stars like you or I go to the grocery store. You’d want to hate, but the dude is one of the nicest and friendliest guys you’ll ever meet in the critic circles.Steven Spielberg pic

Kevin has a number of celebrity meetings, but I asked him to give me his favorite and right away he knew who that would be – his run-ins with Oscar-winning director Stephen Spielberg – one of the best filmmakers of all-time and the creative force behind classics like “Jaws,” Saving Private Ryan,” “Lincoln” and of course, “The Indiana Jones” trilogy. I’ll just keep pretending pod people  made “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Anyway, here’s Kevin:

Back on Dec. 4, 2011, I had the great honor of sitting down one-on-one with the legendary Steven Spielberg. As an aspiring filmmaker and a massive film nerd, I was flipping out when I booked the interview. 

I sat down and the interview started going really well. He had great answers and showed genuine interest in my questions. Once I received the wrap sign, I shook Mr. Spielberg’s hand and I asked for a picture. Right then, he started to speak and say that I should stop doing interviews and become a filmmaker. We sat and chatted for another couple of minutes about 8mm films and train sets. We got up to take the picture and the lighting was off so he wanted to take another one. The guys in the room were changing the lighting as if Spielberg was directing the picture. Once, we took the fourth and final picture, it was approved and good to go. Kevin and Stephen Spielberg

A week later, I had another interview booked with Mr. Spielberg.

The second interview went great and I essentially did back flips out of the room. I was just so excited that to be geeking out with one of the greatest directors of all time. As I sat in the hallway, collecting my thoughts, one of the timers from the room wanted to tell me what Spielberg said about me when I left the room.  These interviews are done in a junket style, meaning that the actor/director sits in a room all day and reporters go in and out for their interviews. So, the gentlemen who walked in after me was the one who heard what Spielberg said about me once I left the room. I was hoping that the cameras were already rolling when he said his comments about me. Once that gentlemen left the room, I stopped in the hall and asked if I could make a copy of his interview tape. And out of sheer luck, the camera had already turned out and you could hear Spielberg:

A month later, I ran into Steven Spielberg at the Critics Choice Awards and I thanked him for the two interviews. He then looked at me and said “Make a movie and send it to me … Have your people send it to my people.”

My jaw dropped, but the first thing I thought to say was “I don’t have people!” This was in January 2012. So I called up my two college friends, Josh Bass and Sean Metzger. Then from August to November, we wrote, shot and edited a short 12-minute movie. The movie has been sent off to Steven Spielberg and we are waiting/hoping he watches it.

Very cool encounter, right? So maybe one day soon you all can start checking out movies from Kevin McCarthy? If you’ve got your own celebrity encounter, I’d love to hear it. Drop me a line on Twitter @LylesMovieFiles or find me on Facebook.

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