Steven Spielberg compared to Charles Dickens

Screenwriter Tony Kushner has described director Steven Spielberg as a modern day Charles Dickens as the pair are both narrative geniuses

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Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg has been described as a modern day Charles Dickens by his long-time collaborator Tony Kushner.

The 60-year-old American screenwriter worked with Spielberg on 2005 film 'Munich' and 2012's 'Lincoln' and the pair have reunited to make 'The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara', an adaptation of David Kertzer's 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

To Kushner, Spielberg's body of work, which includes movies such as 'E.T.', 'Jaws' and 'Jurassic Park', is comparable to 19th century English writer Dickens who gave the world stories such as 'Oliver Twist', 'A Christmas Carol' and 'Great Expectations'.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph newspaper, Kushner said: "The reason I want to keep working with Steven is that he is always surprising me.

"I think it is not an exaggeration to compare him to Dickens - there is a narrative genius there, which isn't a word I use very often."

"With 'Lincoln', I wrote a 500-page screenplay, only the first fourth of which was about the fight of the 13th Amendment [the abolition of slavery]. I thought he would throw that out - it had the most political discussion - and go to the last section about Lincoln's trip down to the front-lines, which is incredibly epic - but the debate is what most interested him."

'The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara' is scheduled for release in 2017 and tells the story of the kidnapping of a young Jewish boy in Bologna, Italy, in 1858 who has been secretly baptized and taken from his family to be raised as a Catholic. However, his parents refuse to give up their son and battle to get him back pitting the Papacy against the democratic process and Italian unification as they fight for their child. .

For the project, Spielberg will be reunited with Mark Rylance once again who will play Pope Pius IX. The pair worked together on 'Bridge of Spies' and 'The BFG' and will do so again on 'Ready Player One'.

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