Hollywood Nepo Babies: Spielberg on his Daughter Destry Feature Directing Debut

Spielberg Comments on Daughter Destry Following in His Footsteps with Directorial Debut on Project “With Respectable Budget”

‘The Fabelmans’ filmmaker drops by ‘Smartless’ to chat with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes about his awards contender, his creative influences and daughter Destry’s talents behind the camera.

Spielberg says “it’s exciting for the whole family” that daughter Destry Allyn Spielberg is following in his footsteps by closing a deal to make her feature directorial debut.
The subject came up when filmmaker dropped by the Smartless podcast to chat with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes. On the new episode, that debuted Monday, Spielberg opens up during a chat about a range of subjects including family, his new film, creative influences, staging, shot direction and even how he clashed with young actor early on in his career while directing TV.

“I’m so excited about that,” said Spielberg, who then detailed how she got the gig by crediting her short film, Let Me Go (The Right Way), that premiered at Tribeca last year.

It stars Hopper Penn and Brian D’Arcy James from a script by Owen King. “She was hired based on short film. She made a wonderful short film, which I adored, and the producers behind the John Wick series saw it and gave her a movie — with respectable budget, too. So, it’s exciting for the whole family.”

Spielberg’s Fabelmans is coming-of-age story inspired by his youth and much of the film focuses on his early passion for filmmaking and how he was supported and encouraged on that creative journey by his parents. His comments on Smartless show encouragement for his own daughter.

Bateman, Emmy Award-winning director, asked if Destry grew up as a bit of “a set rat” on her father’s films. “Has she been shadowing you for a long time?” he asked to which Spielberg confirmed. Though horses were Destry’s first passion. “For most of her life she was in love with the equestrian arts. She was fantastic hunter jumper and she had horses ever since she was three years old, and we all thought that she was going for the Junior Olympics, that she was going to follow Jessica Springsteen, Bruce’s daughter, and really gonna make this a career.”

Because of her talents behind the camera, Spielberg figured she might be the only one of his seven children to directly follow in his footsteps but “all of my kids are, in one fashion or another, in the arts.”

Though his comments come on the heels of New York Magazine’s viral cover story about Hollywood’s “nepo babies,” that was pretty much old news to Destry who confronted the subject in the fall of 2021 when news broke about her short film.

Destry went live on Instagram and addressed the swirl when a question came in from a follower about her burgeoning career behind the camera.

“I have literally been trying to get in the film industry for over 7 years now,” she said at the time. “No matter who you are, it is fucking hard. It is hard. My parents…don’t give us work.”

Destry first tried to break into acting but after not landing any gigs, she took matters into her own hands. “I’m not just going to wait around for someone to give me my shot. If I can find people who want to make a movie, I’ll make a movie.”