Renowned film director Steven Spielberg has voiced his regret over making “woke edits” to one of his iconic films, citing concerns around censorship in classic works. The filmmaker, who has helmed some of cinema’s most iconic films including Jaws, E.T. and Jurassic Park, has faced criticism for his decision to re-edit the 1982 family favourite, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, to remove scenes featuring guns.
During an interview with NBC News, Spielberg spoke candidly about the process of revisiting the beloved classic and revealed his regret at making the changes. “When I did E.T., I actually digitised five shots where E.T. went from being a puppet to a digital puppet, but I also did a few things that were politically correct,” he said. “I myself was responsible for removing the guns from the cops in the airport chase scene. It was okay for Raiders of the Lost Ark to show melting Nazis but not okay to show cops with guns in their hands?”
Spielberg went on to explain how the decision to make the edits was influenced by public opinion and political correctness, a factor that he now feels was a mistake. “When people are asked to change classic works, I’m not sure if they’re always going to feel their best instincts,” he said. “I think there’s something to be said for not adjusting anything in a work of art for reasons of fashion, politics, or censorship.”
The director added that the current wave of “cancel culture” and demands for censorship in the entertainment industry have made him wary of making further edits to his classic films. “I start to think to myself, ‘Wait a minute, don’t we have the right to have our history?’” he said. “Shouldn’t we have the right to hold onto our past without it being completely vetted?”
Spielberg’s comments come amidst a growing debate around censorship and the “woke” culture in Hollywood, with many viewers and critics calling for greater diversity and representation in film and television. The director’s decision to speak out against these issues has sparked a mixed response, with some applauding his commitment to artistic integrity while others criticize his lack of progressiveness.
Regardless of this discourse, Spielberg’s comments are a reminder that art, including film, should not be censored or altered to suit prevailing political currents or societal trends. Classic films like E.T. are a part of our cultural heritage, and should be preserved in their original form – an important lesson that we all need to remember.