Steven Spielberg’s ‘Bridge of Spies’


(Jaap Buitendijk/DreamWorks Pictures/Fox 2000 PIctures via AP)

In this image released by Disney, Tom Hanks appears in a scene from “Bridge of Spies.”

Neelou Goodarzi, Writer

In promoting his new spy thriller Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg participated in a conference call interview with college students from around the country.

Bridge of Spies is based on the true story of insurance lawyer James Donovan, and how he negotiated a spy swap between the United States and the USSR during the Cold War. It stars Tom Hanks as Donovan, Mark Rylance as Abel and as Austin Stowall as Powers.

They say a picture paints a thousand words, but this film paints a million. At times, the dialogue was sparse — almost nonexistent. Yet, everything that needed to be said, was said.

Through brilliant directing and creative vision from — among others — Steven Spielberg and Oscar-winning production designer Adam Stockhausen, this movie stands alone against some of the year’s best pictures.

One of the aspects that makes this film stand out is the attention to detail and color. “We find the color palate that will enhance our points of view,” said Spielberg.

“When the film evolves into a story that takes place behind the Iron Curtain in East Berlin, we went for grays and blues and greens as oppose to the warmer constant lighting.”

The film captures the emotional experience of these true events. It’s like experiencing the Cold War, as we follow James Donovan on his journey to return the captured men to their homelands. On the subject of historical relevance, Spielberg noted that, “there’s a lot of things about the movie that are relevant today. The movie is about spy craft.”

The events from the film are closely reminiscent of high tensions between countries like the U.S. and Russia. Spielberg expressed that, collectively, we should practice patience and acceptance like Donovan did in the film and in real life. “The real James Donovan… is a great example of what we need more of today, not only in the diplomatic world, but on Capitol Hill.”

Spielberg spoke highly of his colleague and friend, Tom Hanks, stating that, “Tom… is an honest actor… if he understands the character, he exists in clothing and in the persona of that character without having to work very hard.”

The pair has worked together on films such as Saving Private Ryan, where Spielberg admits they were both a little weary. “I’ve never really had to work with an actor who

I was friends with first, and there was jeopardy for me in getting into the professional world with somebody who I was very close to in the personal world.” Their bond, however, turned out to be a fulfilling and successful one.

When directing high-pressure films, even an Academy Award-winning director has his or her challenges. Spielberg noted that the most difficult scene to film was the big swap between the United States and the USSR. They shot the scene on the Glieanicke

Bridge, where the real spy swap occurred in 1962. According to Spielberg, the most challenging scenes are those “that must culminate in the drama of everyone’s stories — especially on one location which happened to be, symbolically, a bridge.”

Bridge of Spies premiered in theaters across the U.S. on Oct. 16 and has been well-received by critics and moviegoers alike.