Steven Spielberg admits COVID fears forced him to make The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg was determine to shoot 'The Fabelmans' because of his fears over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 76-year-old filmmaker has opened up on his desire to bring the semi-autobiographical coming of age drama - which is loosely based on his own life - to the big screen, and he admitted he was concerned that the global health crisis would scupper his plans.

He told the 'SmartLess' podcast: "I was terrified this was an end-of-days, an epic-level event, I mean an extinction-level event, that was happening to the world.

"By the time I had serious discussions about writing this, we'd lost 250,000 Americans to COVID.

"And I was actually saying to my family that if there was one thing I was able to leave behind, if I got the chance to make one more movie, it was going to be this story."

Spielberg explained how it was the first time he had felt pressured to write a script.

He said: "I've never had that feeling until now, until the pandemic. Like all of us I was riveted at the time to what all the anchors were saying on all the different news outlets.

"And all the experts that were coming out and the denial from the White House that this wasn't so bad, it was just like a passing flu epidemic."

The personal project is one Spielberg has had in his mind "all his life", and he didn't want to risk missing his chance.

He added: "I really thought we were not heading in a good direction and this was not going to end well for many of us.

"And that just got me thinking about telling a story that has been on my mind. All my life I've thought about this."