Telling his own story was a new challenge for Steven Spielberg.

In a new interview with W Magazine, the iconic director opens up about making “The Fabelmans”, the Oscar-nominated fictionalized account of his own youth.

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Along with showing how Spielberg found his love of cinema and moviemaking, the film also exposes his late parents’ marital difficulties which eventually led to their divorce.

“During ‘Fabelmans’, I had to retain my objectivity, and that was difficult,” Spielberg says of making the film. “Subjectivity is a filmmaker’s greatest enemy, and I always try and stay in the mind of the audience, or the characters—but never too far away from either.”

“That takes some distance, and with this film, there were some scenes where I was reliving trauma—an instant replay of something that happened when I was 16 years old,” he continues. “Often it would take me five minutes or so to collect myself. I’d tap [cinematographer Janusz Kamiński] on the shoulder, and he’d know that I’d need a moment to compose myself.”

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Spielberg also talked about the process of casting the members of his own family with actors like Michelle Williams and Paul Dano and recreating his childhood memories.

“It was cathartic,” he admits. “We re-created the house I grew up in from blueprints and photographs, and we matched it exactly. I stepped into my childhood home! I wanted to ask everyone to leave me alone in the house, but I didn’t do that. I wanted to have a good cry, but I didn’t want to cry in front of my entire crew and cast on the first day of interior shooting. Instead, I turned around, and there was Paul looking like my dad and Michelle looking like my mom, and I just broke down. Paul and Michelle came over and hugged me, and I will never forget that moment: The family was forged in those few seconds.”

Asked if he would ever consider a sequel to “The Fabelmans”, following his further journey as a filmmaker, Spielberg said, “I never say never, but I don’t know what to do next. I was so emotionally invested in ‘The Fabelmans’, I left a vast body of water between myself and the next project. I didn’t plan ahead at all. I haven’t found my passion. And I can’t work without passion. I won’t.”