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Steven Spielberg is back in creature-feature territory with
SUPER 8, which topped the box office this past weekend with an estimated
$37-million take and harks back to the films he directed and produced in the
1980s. Back then, cult-fave actress Jill Schoelen (of THE STEPFATHER, POPCORN
et al.) met with the filmmaker to be part of his oeuvre, and recalled the
experience during a recent interview with Fango.
“I had gone in for BACK TO THE FUTURE to play Michael J.
Fox’s girlfriend, and they kept me on hold for that for a long time, like two
months or something,” Schoelen tells us. “Claudia Wells ended up doing it, and
the final word was that I didn’t look all-American enough—I was too exotic! But
they kept bringing me in for anything Steven was doing; there were three movies
he was making around that time, THE GOONIES, BACK TO THE FUTURE and YOUNG
SHERLOCK HOLMES, and there was nothing right for me in GOONIES, but they kept
bringing me back. And eventually, at the last minute, they asked me to come in
to meet with Steven and [director] Barry Levinson for YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES;
they had practically given up on the idea of finding an American actress for
“I got a phone call after meeting with Barry that they
wanted to screen-test me,” she continues. “Barry was leaving a day or two later
to go to London, so Steven did it, and I’ll never forget that. One of my
favorite moments was driving in late for a meeting with Steven Spielberg! I
pulled my car up in the lot at Universal, and he was standing outside, waiting
for me. And when I got out of my car, he went to me and picked me up, and
twirled me around maybe three times. And it was like… [sighs] because, you
know, E.T. was everything to me at that time. So anyway, we just spent the
whole day together working on the scenes, and he said, “If this were up to
me…but I’m not the director.” He was so sweet, telling me, “I love you for this
part, I love you for this part.”
Sophie Ward wound up getting SHERLOCK HOLMES’ young female
lead, but Schoelen would soon land the role in THE STEPFATHER that would make
her a horror-fan favorite. She discusses her many genre credits in Fango #304,
on sale now.
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