Steven Spielberg Plans To Direct TV, Inspired By Mare Of Easttown

At a time where movies seem to be getting longer and longer, it's common to look at some of them and wonder, "Could this have been a miniseries instead?" That's almost exactly what happened with Quentin Tarantino's 2015 film "The Hateful Eight," which ended up being turned into a four-part miniseries in 2019. If you're someone who prefers your fiction in 40 to 50-minute chunks instead of 160 minutes at a time, the extended miniseries version is probably the best choice.

Something along these lines almost happened with Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning 2012 film "Lincoln," a 150 minute period drama that most people agree was pretty terrific, if also a movie that required a little patience. Speaking on the Smartless podcast (via The Playlist), Spielberg explained that he almost reworked the film for the small screen. "I was willing to do 'Lincoln' as a six-hour [show] because I couldn't raise all the financing for it," he said. "No one believed in it [...] I went around town and everyone turned me down."

Considering how successful and critically acclaimed plenty of miniseries have been over the years, and how perfect the format seems to be for period dramas specifically, there's a real chance that the TV version of "Lincoln" could have been just as good (and perhaps even a little better) than the movie we got. "Tony Kushner's first draft was 150 pages, so I had the goods!" Spielberg added. "I had the material. I don't know if I could have talked Daniel Day-Lewis into doing six hours, but I was on the brink of that."

He wouldn't be the first to do it

"I do have an appetite for long-form, and someday, I will direct a long-form series," Steven Spielberg continued. "I mean, if someone would have brought me 'Mare of Easttown,' I would have done that. [...] That was a beautifully directed story." Developed by Brad Ingelsby, the crime drama miniseries "Mare of Easttown" was a critical darling back in 2021 — one that was notable in that it starred Kate Winslet, an Oscar-winner better known for her performances in film, not television.

Spielberg would hardly be the first big-name director to try his hand at making a TV series after a long, illustrious career of making movies. "The Matrix" and "Cloud Atlas" filmmakers Lana and Lilly Wachowski previously made the transition to the small screen with "Sense8," the ambitious (if divisive) sci-fi series that they and J. Michael Straczynski developed for Netflix in 2015. Even everyone's favorite cranky grandpa director, Ridley Scott, helmed the first two episodes of the sci-fi series "Raised by Wolves" for HBO Max in 2020.

Circling back to Quentin Tarantino, the filmmaker similarly announced plans to make an eight-episode TV series back in 2022. We still don't know what the show will be about, though the switch to TV feels like it might be a perfect fit for him, seeing as his movies have only grown longer and more novel-like in structure over the course of his career. Spielberg's own plans for making a TV show are even more vague that Tarantino's (remember, he hasn't actually committed to anything just yet), but it would certainly be exciting to see what he can pull off in a longer format. After all, he's spent decades creating wonders on the big screen; it's high time we got to watch him work his magic on TV.