The Hidden History of “Gremlins”: An Interview with Joe Dante

The Hidden History of “Gremlins”: An Interview with Joe Dante February 23, 2015

at Film Comment:

…On Gremlins, it did become a problem, though, when Steven [Spielberg] had to sign off on everything. We had to get him to make up his mind. For example, we had a lot of different designs for Gizmo, and Steven always found fault with whatever they were. We were getting to the point where we really had to lock this down, or we weren’t going to make our dates. So we came up with the idea of giving Gizmo the color of Steven’s cocker spaniel, so that he would be happier with the design.

We had some pretty ropy designs—I mean, one looked just like Peter Ustinov. But we finally worked out the design for Gizmo. And we thought we had figured out how to get Gizmo through the first 25 minutes of the movie. At that point in the script, Gizmo turned into Stripe, the bad gremlin. But Steven liked Gizmo so much that about three or four weeks before shooting, he decided that Gizmo should not turn into the bad gremlin. Instead, Gizmo should be the hero’s friend, and he should stick around for the entire movie. We were flabbergasted. We had no idea how to make this little bucket of bolts appealing and realistic enough to be able to hold the screen for the entire picture.

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