She hasn’t reached high school yet, but 13 Julia Butters is already building any actor’s dream career. At 10, she steals scenes opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantinoit is Once upon a time… in Hollywood. It was on this set that Butters met for the first time Steven Spielberg, who chose her as her older sister’s proxy in her memoir film, The Fablemans.
“I saw Steven walking around the valet [at Universal Studios]. I waved at him through the window, he waved at me and I freaked out,” Butters says. vanity lounge during a recent Zoom. “That was my only interaction with Steven Spielberg, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is the closest I can get to him. “”
His prediction has not aged well. Several years later, Spielberg and Tony KushnerThe script for, emblazoned with the Amblin Entertainment logo, came to him. “I was so excited,” Butters says. “I just remember saying, ‘Don’t blow it up. You must do your best. You must do your best. We have to make it worth it. And it turned out to be worth it. »
After getting the role of Reggie, inspired by Spielberg’s real sister Anna, Butters only had one question: “Is there a monkey in this movie?” The actor watched Spielberg, a 2017 HBO documentary about the legendary filmmaker, which recounts the time his mother spontaneously brought home a pet monkey. “I had that joke on set where that’s what made me want to do the movie,” she says. “That was the deal – if there was a monkey, I would work on it.” And what was it like sharing the screen with an orangutan? Said Butters, “Crystal was Phone an amazing actress.
Spielberg’s love for his sister is clear throughout The Fabelmans, shown through details and observations too specific to be made up – from his comparison of the family moving to northern California to being “parachuted into the land of the giant redwoods” to asking when “Sammy” plans to make movies with roles for girls. Although often on the periphery, Reggie’s protectiveness of his mother, Mitzi (played by michelle williams), perforated. During a camping trip, she protects her drunk mother, dancing by the fire in a transparent nightgown, from prying eyes. And after learning about her parents’ breakup, she finds it must be difficult for their mother to be “loved by someone who worships her” like their father does.
“She feels responsible for being kind of a mother while her mom plays and dances and has fun and lives her life,” Butters tells me of Reggie. “His mother has such a way of being – that innocence, it’s like a breath of fresh air. She feels young and young and happy. She just radiates such a glow. Reggie really wants to protect that and keep that fire going. alight.
Butters, who plays Reggie aged 13 to 16, has also become attached to her on screen Fabelmans family—Williams as the free-spirited mother Mitzi, Paul Dano as father Arnold, his sisters Natalie (Keeley Karsten) and Lisa (Sophie Kopera), and Gabriel LaBelle, who plays the Spielberg-inspired character of Sammy. “We’ve all built a safe space where you can speak your mind if you’re feeling anxious, sad, or happy,” Butters says. “And I think that was really important with such an intense set,” added his young teammates, “We were all thrilled that we had achieved our dreams working with Steven.”
When I ask Butters if she was afraid to meet the real Anne, who, after the period depicted in the film, would continue to co-write and produce Big, featuring tom hank, she pauses. “I get nervous about everything, so that’s a pretty fun question.” Butters, who played a child with obsessive-compulsive disorder on the ABC sitcom American Housewife, says she struggles with her own anxieties, which made their own appearance on the set of The Fabelmans.
One day, a scene involving Reggie and Sammy having a quick joke while washing the dishes was placed in front of Butters, who was in the middle of schoolwork, just 30 minutes before it was supposed to be filmed. “I had a hard time getting it out on set,” she recalled. “I was super anxious because I was on a Steven Spielberg set and I really wanted to do my best. So of course when I couldn’t get it I got frustrated with myself. And I fought until I was shaking.