Movies aren't just a career for Steven Spielberg, they've long been an "escape" from a learning disability he didn't even realize he had: dyslexia.
For the first time, the great director is talking about his battles with dyslexia, how it instilled terror in him during his elementary school days thanks to constant teasing from his classmates, and how he and his band of fellow misfits even became his inspiration for writing The Goonies.
In a sit down with the website Friends of Quinn, which acts as a resource for young adults with learning disabilities, Spielberg revealed he was diagnosed with dyslexia five years ago and learned he had been living with the disability his whole life.
"[It] explained a lot of things. It was like the last puzzle part in a tremendous mystery that I kept to myself all of these years," the 66-year-old filmmaker said.
As a child growing up in the 1950s, he was a slow reader, which resulted in his being bullied by other kids to the point where he dreaded going to school.
"In my case I was unable to read for at least two years. I was two years behind the rest of my class," Spielberg recalled. "I was embarrassed to stand up in front of the class and read."
But no one could tell either him or his parents what the problem was, as very little research on dyslexia had been done at the time. So the E.T. mastermind said he "dealt with it by making movies."
Not surprisingly, the bullying and the friendships in junior high he formed with other outcasts whom he called the "Goon Squad" inspired 1985's The Goonies, for which he came up with the story and executive produced.
"But I never felt like a victim," added Spielberg. "Movies really helped me, saved me from shame…and I think making movies was my great escape and that's how I was able to get away from all of that."
The Oscar winner added that his dyslexia still affects him. For instance, it takes him longer to read a script that most people can read rather quickly. But his reading comprehension is excellent, he added.
Spielberg's next film, Lincoln, hits theaters Nov. 9.