See 40 facts about the movie “ET – The Extraterrestrial”

“ET – The Extraterrestrial” was nominated for nine Oscar categories, and it came out with four awards: Best Soundtrack, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.

To honor the anniversary of the movie classic, check out 40 fun facts about the film:

1 – Spielberg shot most of the film at a child’s eye level, to provide even more connections between Elliott and ET.

two – The concept of the story was based on an imaginary friend that the director created after his parents’ divorce in 1960. However, the screenplay was written by Melissa Mathison – who died in 2015 of cancer.

3 – Much of the script for ET was written during the filming breaks of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981).

4 – The ET’s face was designed using the faces of poet Carl Sandburg and scientist Albert Einstein as a mold.

5 – During the auditions, Harry Thomas thought about the day his dog had died to express sadness.

6 – He did so well that Spielberg cried and offered Harry the role of Elliott right away.

7 – Matthew De Meritt was the one who brought the alien in the movie to life.

8 – The actor, who was born without legs, was cast at age 11 to play the character.

9 – Two other actors who were featured at the time are Tamara De Treaux and Pat Bilon, who both had dwarfism.

10 – The two were discovered by the production team in a California hospital, while they were undergoing physical therapy.

11 – Drew Barrymore was 7 years old when he starred in the role of Elliot’s sister Gertie.

12 – At one point in the film, Gertie looks at ET and says, “I don’t like their feet.” This line was improvised by Barrymore and referred to the grouping of strings coming out of the character’s puppet.

13 – She also improvised the line “Give me a break!” after Elliott said only little kids could see ET

14 – After several attempts to build the film’s score, Spielberg encouraged John Williams to conduct the orchestra in the same way he would at a concert.

15 – The end of the film was one of the most significant musical experiences of the composer’s career.

16 – Spielberg even re-edited the film to match the music.

17 – The result won John Williams the Oscar for Best Original Score in 1983.

18 – In total, “ET” was nominated for 9 Oscar categories and won 4.

19 – During one season of filming, Drew Barrymore was forgetting the character’s lines, which irritated Spielberg to the point that the director yelled at her.

20 – Soon after, Spielberg discovered that the actress had filmed the scenes with a high fever. Feeling guilty, he hugged her and apologized.

21 – The producers had asked that the M&Ms brand of chocolates be used to attract ET, but the company denied the request, fearing that the character’s characterization would scare children.

22 – Reese’s Pieces candy were used instead and sales of the products soared.

23 – Due to the great success, many brands started asking for their products to be used in movies.

24 – In June 1982, Spielberg gave a personal screening of the film at the White House to then-President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan.

25 – Spielberg worked simultaneously on ‘ET The Extraterrestrial’ and the horror ‘Poltergeist: The Phenomenon’ (which was directed by Tobe Hooper but produced by Spielberg).

26 – Both were created to complement each other: ‘ET’ represented suburban dreams, while ‘Poltergeits’, suburban nightmares.

27 – Years later, Drew Barrymore posed for the American “Playboy” in 1995.

28 – The communicator used by ET in the film actually worked and was built by Henry Feinberg, an expert in science and technology.

29 – During filming, Harrison Ford made a small cameo as the principal of Elliot’s school.

30 – However, in the final edit of the film, Spielberg decided to cut all the scenes in which he appeared, feeling that the character was expendable and only served to distract the audience from the main story.

31 – In the VHS version of “ET – The Extraterrestrial” the tape came in a green cover, exactly to differentiate the original copies from the pirates.

32 – ET was re-released in theaters in 2002 as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations.

33 – The version contained 5 minutes of new footage, which was left out of the original version.

34 – New special effects and a digital remaster were performed throughout the film.

35 – Henry Thomas followed his film career and acted in features such as “Heroes Have No Age” (1984), “Legends of the Passion” (1994), “Gangs of New York” (2002), “Dear John” (2010) and “Doctor Sleep” (2019).

36 – In 2018, Thomas participated in the Netflix series “The Haunting of Hill House”. The actor is currently 50 years old.

37 – Drew Barrymore has starred in dozens of films, of various genres, including the hits “Scream” (1997), Charlie’s Angels” (2000), “As If It Were the First Time” (2004) and “Fantastic Girl” (2009).

38 – The actress, currently 47 years old, also participated in the series “Santa Clarita Diet”, on Netflix.

39 – Robert MacNaughton, who played Michael, Elliot’s older brother, did not pursue his acting career further. He works as a postal worker in the United States.

40 – Dee Wallace, the interpreter of Mary, mother of Elliot and his brothers, continued acting in successful TV series, such as “Taxi”. In 2016, she participated in episodes of “Supernatural”.

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