Jurassic Park Overlapped With Schindler's List In A Brutal Way For Steven Spielberg

1993 was a huge year for Steven Spielberg. Ever the workaholic, Spielberg had two major movies hit theaters in '93. The first was "Jurassic Park," which roared into multiplexes in June of that year. Then, in December, came "Schindler's List," Spielberg's Holocaust drama that finally won him a Best Director Oscar (it won Best Picture, too). Spielberg loves to work, and he would have other years where he released two films (like 2005, which saw the release of Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" and "Munich"). But making two massive movies like "Jurassic Park" and "Schindler's List" was not an easy feat. The productions ended up overlapping, and the jarring nature of the two projects — one the ultimate popcorn blockbuster, the other a brutal and serious portrait of the Holocaust — ended up taking a toll on the acclaimed director. 

After Spielberg finished principal photography on "Jurassic Park," he headed to Poland to shoot "Schindler's List." In Spielberg's mind, the main work on "Jurassic Park" was done. Except, of course, it wasn't. While shooting on the film had wrapped, the movie still needed to add digital dinosaurs that would be groundbreaking at the time. Which meant Spielberg had to approve shots featuring the dinos. This ultimately clashed with his work on "Schindler's List."

Spielberg got whiplash for his efforts

Spielberg told Entertainment Weekly: "Well, it was a bit like when you get rear-ended, and you don't have a headrest to prevent you from getting whiplash. I overlapped both productions." As Spielberg tells it, when he arrived in Poland, he became consumed by the darkness of the story he was telling with "Schindler's List," which features several harrowing, unflinching sequences. By day, he would shoot "Schindler's List." By night, he would return to his rented home in Poland and watch "dinosaur shots — sent from ILM to a big satellite dish in my backyard in Poland."

As Spielberg explained: 

"That's where the whiplash came in. The basic culture shock between two genres, one that I was putting every single fiber of my existence into, which was 'Schindler's List,' and another that in my mind was already in the can, but wasn't, which was approving dinosaur shots. It was a very painful transition, having to do both movies at the same time. I favored 'Schindler's List' way over 'Jurassic Park' at that point, yet I wasn't willing to defer the responsibility of approving effects shots to anybody other than my team and myself."

Spielberg could have pawned the work of approving the "Jurassic Park" shots off on someone else, but he opted to stay involved. Of course, that emotional toll paid off. "Jurassic Park" went on to become one of the biggest hits of Spielberg's career, while "Schindler's List" finally won him the Oscar he so craved.