It makes sense that Steven Spielberg would choose to make a movie out of Frank Abagnale’s life. When one examines the lives of Abagnale and Spielberg many similarities between the two men become apparent. It is these similarities that allowed Spielberg to connect to the story and turn Abagnale’s life into an award-winning film.
One similarity between Abagnale and Spielberg is there affinity for cons. It is a well-known fact that Abagnale faked many different professions at a young age. However, Spielberg also pulled off his own caper as a child. As an aspiring young filmmaker he visited family in California for the summer. He ended up sneaking into the Universal Studios lot by impersonating a director. He even set up his own office and stuck around until people actually gave him work to do (Lehman ). Spielberg’s interest in cons and charming criminals attracted him to the story of Catch Me if You Can. He claims, “Personally, I have always loved movies about sensational rogues, like the Newman/Redford classics 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' and 'The Sting. ' They were breaking the law, but you had to love them for their moxie.” (Catch Me If You Can: Production Notes).
Spielberg’s home life as a child was another factor in his decision to tell Frank Abagnale’s story. As a child his father was more concerned with work than his family and eventually his parents were divorced. Spielberg was estranged from his father for 15 years after that traumatic incident. This period in his life has had a major influence on his career as most of his films contain some degree of a broken home either from an absent father or a divorce. This clearly parallels to Frank’s life as he also comes from a divorced home with a father who is absent (if only because Frank runs away). These similarities in family history allowed Spielberg to connect to the script and invest himself in making this movie.