Immediately after finishing “Jaws,” Spielberg places all of his creative energies into his next project, a film about extraterrestrials. Today, aliens are an obvious choice for sci-fi films and television shows, but they were considered fringe back in the ’70s, which meant the young director was risking his newfound success and popularity by focusing on such a wacky topic. Regardless, Spielberg told BFI that he was fascinated by the idea of a superior, alien species, and threw himself into researching the topic:
“I read everything on the market, including the clippings from the National Inquirer and the wire services, and even tried to get into the Blue Book archives, long before the project was declassified, to no avail. I was mainly inspired when I began to meet people who had had experiences, and I realised that just about every fifth person I talked to had looked up at the sky at some point in their lives, and seen something that was not easy to explain … It was this direct contact, the interviews, that got me interested in making the movie. I interviewed enough people to know that all of them could not possibly be lying.”
Meeting with contactees and hearing their incredible stories is undoubtedly a very powerful experience, and had a profound effect on the director. These interviews, and the documented experiences of other abductees in books and newspapers, helped the young director create the classic “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
In this interview, Spielberg insists that he’s never had any direct encounters with extraterrestrials, but he’s certainly had some spooky experiences in his life.