In a new interview with Blumhouse, Wish Upon director John Leonetti has casually reopened the discussion surrounding one of Hollywood's longest-running rumors: that it was Steven Spielberg, not Tobe Hooper, who actually directed Poltergeist.
Surely you've heard this one before; you may've even heard a few different versions of the tale over the years. This one, which Leonetti claims to have knowledge of because his brother, Matthew Leonetti, was the DP on Poltergeist, presents the circumstances in a fairly straightforward manner. Says Leonetti (as quoted by The Playlist):
“The really cool thing about Poltergeist – I’ll never forget the very first time I walked on the shooting set, there were 4 x 8 foam core boards with 8 ½ by 11 storyboards on them, and I’d never seen anything like that before. It was a very intense, very fun, very technical movie to work on. There’s a lot going on. And candidly…Steven Spielberg directed that movie. There’s no question."
Leonetti goes on to say:
“Hooper was so nice and just happy to be there. He creatively had input. Steven developed the movie, and it was his to direct, except there was anticipation of a director’s strike, so he was ‘the producer’ but really he directed it in case there was going to be a strike and Tobe was cool with that. It wasn’t anything against Tobe. Every once in a while, he would actually leave the set and let Tobe do a few things just because. But really, Steven directed it."
As you might expect, both Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg have long denied this bit of gossip, but that certainly hasn't prevented it from making headlines every few years or so. This one seems destined to continue knocking around until...well, let's be realistic: this one's probably gonna go on forever. Its unprovability is as fascinating as its salaciousness (indeed, at this point I'd be disappointed if either Spielberg or Hooper copped to it).
Where do you folks stand on this one? Think the rumor's legit? Think it's just a Hollywood urban legend that got way out of hand? Sound off in the comments below.