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This photo released by DreamWorks shows Director Lasse Hallstrom on the set of DreamWorks Pictures' new film "The Hundred-Foot Journey," produced by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake. Spielberg asked Hallstrom to work with him more than a dozen years ago, but the Swedish filmmaker only recently accepted the invitation. (AP Photo/DreamWorks, Francois Duhamel)

Francois Duhamel, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

Hallstrom accepts Spielberg invite 12 years late

  • Article by: SANDY COHEN
  • Associated Press
  • August 5, 2014 - 11:20 AM

LOS ANGELES — Steven Spielberg asked Lasse Hallstrom to work with him more than a dozen years ago, but the Swedish filmmaker only recently accepted the invitation.

Hallstrom said he experienced "traumatic suffering" when he had to decline the chance to direct 2002's "Catch Me If You Can," which Spielberg went on to direct himself.

The trauma was finally resolved, Hallstrom said, when the two filmmakers joined forces on "The Hundred-Foot Journey," which Hallstrom directed and Spielberg produced, along with Oprah Winfrey and TED Talks producer Juliet Blake.

"I've been admiring him for a very long time," Hallstrom said of Spielberg, giddily noting the two are about the same age. (Hallstrom is 68, Spielberg is 67.)

"To work with him as a producer, that was heavenly," Hallstrom said during a recent interview to promote the film. "To have him in the editing room for a couple days giving his ideas on it, and to have his comments on the dailies, (was) really helpful. And good ideas for the script, too.

"So it was like we made it together, me and Steven Spielberg."

"The Hundred-Foot Journey" stars Helen Mirren as the prickly, prideful owner of a Michelin-rated French restaurant who bristles when an Indian family opens their own eatery across the street. The film opens Friday.

© 2014 Star Tribune