"I don't think anything I do is ever in service of changing my image, because I like my image," he says, cringing at the suggestion he's trying to shirk his rep as a soft touch. "And I've been celebrated for that image. It is not like people have condemned me and said, 'You have to be darker. You have to be darker. We are sick and tired of E.T., and we are sick and tired of Raiders. We are sick and tired of all these silly movies,' you know. So, I am taking a chance by exploring a path that came from a realization one day that I was no longer afraid of the dark. I was attracted to it, as a matter of fact."
He's revving up for a long talk about making dark movies about virtual sex and virtual murder. Spielberg's about to open up, to turn this prefab chitchat into a thoughtful conversation about violence and sex, about why he quit making graphic video games full of gore, about why he...
"Speaking of Raiders," interrupts the guy with the A.I. watch, "are you going to be directing the new one?"
"Oooh, when does that start?"
"It starts shooting May of 2004."
Yeah, pal. Start making your travel plans now.