The Fabelmans star reveals why change was made to one key scene
Gabriel LaBelle spoke to RadioTimes.com about a pivotal moment from Steven Spielberg's latest film. **Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Fabelmans.**
Despite being almost completely shut out of last week's BAFTA nominations, Steven Spielberg's semi-autobiographical drama The Fabelmans has fared much better with Oscar voters – landing seven nods, including one in the Best Picture category.
The film finally lands in UK cinemas this weekend, more than two months after it opened across the Atlantic, and ahead of its release, star Gabriel LaBelle spoke exclusively to RadioTimes.com about his leading role in the film, including details of a change made to one of the film's most pivotal scenes.
The scene in question occurs when his character Sammy Fabelman – who is based on Spielberg himself – is editing footage he shot from a family camping trip and spots hints that heavily suggest his mother Mitzi (Michelle Williams) is having an affair with his father's best friend Bennie (Seth Rogen).
It's a quietly powerful moment, with Sammy's devastation immediately apparent, but LaBelle revealed that the scene was initially scripted to be a little more outwardly dramatic.
"We shot that a few different ways because it's originally written Sammy has a panic attack when that happens," he explained. "But after looking at it the night before and waking up with it, by the time we got to it we tried it but it didn't feel quite right.
"[We felt] that it could be a lot simpler than how it was written and so we explored that scene a bit. But yeah – sometimes unspoken scenes are easier, and sometimes they're harder ... sometimes you can express yourself more easily with words. But in something like that, you really have to just be as real as possible."
The Fabelmans is by some distance LaBelle's most major credit to date, following small roles in 2018's The Predator and TV shows including iZombie and Brand New Cherry Flavor, and he said being surrounded by such a talented cast – not to mention one of Hollywood's greatest ever directors – was an immensely rewarding experience.
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"The really heavily emotional stuff is daunting to look at," he explained. "It's like you want to keep up with Michelle [Williams], Paul [Dano], and Judd [Hirsch]. You want to do your job, you don't want to be the person who is trailed behind – you want to show up ready.
"And that can be really hard when you're working long hours for three months on end, and you want to keep up with Paul and Michelle. It's like acting is a muscle that you kind of learn and develop - and stamina and strength, too. And Paul and Michelle have been doing it for so long."
LaBelle added: "You're running a marathon with a shoot like that. I tried to keep up with Paul and Michelle by sprinting, but you can't sprint a marathon. So it's about finding that balance, and you have to learn that yourself the hard way how to manage your energy. So yeah, all of it's very daunting, but you're learning so much, which is incredibly valuable."