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As A.l. Artificial Intelligence hits the cinemas, STEVEN SPIELBERG talks about Stanley Kubrick, Harry Potter and the lure of a mechanical lover. Words: Marlene von ArxllFA

is June and the always-working Steyen Spielberg is short on time. 'l‘oday he won't even attend the premiere sereening oi'.rl.l.. He turns up at the Xieglield Theater in New York (‘ity just to do the red earpet. though he shows no sign ol‘ pressure. lie is the Zen master of movie moguls: he’s seen it all. A few interyiews and he’ll be back working on .llinmiiy Report. a sei-l‘i thriller starring Tom Cruise. But despite his workload. he always has time to remember Stanley Kubrick.

At a nearby hotel. he recalls the time when the two of them first met in late—70s London. Kubriek was building the set for The Shining at lilstree Studios. Spielberg was planning Raiders ()f The Lost Ark. ‘\\'hen I walked on the set. there was a sehlumpy little man with a thiek beard and pants that didn't fit and a sweater that was at least two sizes too big seul'l‘ling around in house shoes.‘ Spielberg says of his lirst eneounter oi the Kubriek kind. ‘\\'e didn't shake hands formally. He had a periseope \‘iewlinder in his hands he had just inyented and he went straight to ask me ill wanted to see what he just built and how he worked his angles.‘ Kubriek later inyited Spielberg for dinner and they remained friends until Kubriek‘s death in NW).

Spielberg denies that his eolleague. liying in a self-imposed exile. was a reeluse. “He was not the Howard llughes ol' einema at all. Nobody gaye him enough credit for being one of the most htimoi'ous indiyiduals around. He eould pull your leg and you wouldn‘t know it until you got home. We talked about teehnology. family and mostly movies and why some of them were more sueeessi‘ul than others.‘ And with a smile he adds: 'lle was a brain drain. he sueked my mind dry with all his questions.’