In 1980, Steven Spielberg was painfully sitting alone in a tent somewhere in the desert of Tunisia. The director is only 34 years old and shoots Raiders of the Lost Ark, a blockbuster adventure that launches the Indiana Jones franchise in North Africa, with hits such as Jaws and Close Encounters of the Unknown already under his belt. Was there.
But that night, his mind continues to return to his own childhood loneliness, the fictional friends he created to deal with, and the pain he felt when his parents split when he was a teenager. I did.
“It was a childhood fantasy to talk about my best friend,” Spielberg explained in a 1996 documentary. “A special friend who saves the boy from the sadness of divorce.” That special friend will be the famous star of Spielberg’s next movie, ETthe Extra-Terrestrial. It didn’t take long for the big, shining little alien, released 40 years ago on June 11, 1982, to become everyone’s new best friend.
The movie quickly jumped beyond Star Wars and became the highest-selling movie ever. This record lasted for more than a decade before Spielberg broke it at Jurassic Park in 1993.
The witty, peace-loving ET, loved by both critics and the audience, became a true pop culture phenomenon, and his wise old eyes were immediately stared at by all possible commodities. He rode Universal Studios Florida to promote BT in the UK and even inspired his own playground jokes. What does ET stand for? Because he has small legs.
It was a time when movies about space were everywhere. Both the Close Encounters of the Unknown and the release of Star Wars in 1977 marked the start of a very popular cultural movement, so even James Bond, who is normally detained on Earth, got on track at Moonraker in 1979. I did. Spielberg’s first idea for follow-up of the encounter with the unknown was a project called Night Sky.
He asked writer John Sayles to write a script based on the acclaimed “Meeting of Kelly Hopkinsville.” This is the 1955 incident in which a Kentucky family claimed to be frightened by a gremlin-like alien. “When I read the script, I didn’t feel it was the movie I wanted to direct,” Spielberg later recalled. “It was too violent. At that time, everything changed in my mind.”
Spielberg reconsidered aliens as a race of galactic botanists who take plant samples, believing that intelligent life traveling from planet to planet in space is not always malicious. However, there was an important element of the night sky that Spielberg wanted to maintain. The idea is that one of the aliens gets stuck on Earth.
He discussed the concept with screenwriter Melissa Mathison, who was on the Raiders set in relation to movie star Harrison Ford. Mathieson co-authored The Black Stallion in 1979 on the friendship between boys and horses. After revealing her overview with her Spielberg, she wrote the first draft titled ETand Me in just eight weeks.
The director brought the film to Universal Studios only after the passage of Columbia Pictures, which had an encounter with the unknown. Colombia’s marketing and research department has concluded that the film’s commercial potential is limited and is a failure of the “reject the Beatles” size ratio.
Spielberg relied on Carlo Rambaldi, a special effects artist for the encounter with the unknown, to properly create adorable aliens and provide photos of poet Carl Sandburg, physicist Albert Einstein, and writer Ernest Hemingway. And let me know the oversized and intelligent eyes of ET. Next, there was the issue of putting together the cast of the child actors.
Hundreds of actors auditioned for the lead role in Elliott, a sensitive substitute for young Spielberg. Some of them eventually went to Henry Thomas. Henry Thomas shed real tears in the light of his dead dog. The famous clip for his audition has now been watched over 26 million times on YouTube, and Spielberg tells a 9-year-old kid, “OK, you got a job.”
Robert MacNaughton returns to audition eight times to play his brother Michael, and six-year-old Drew Barrymore intends to abandon Spielberg’s legacy of Hollywood family film actors, instead already standing in front of a punk band. I got the role of Garty by saying that.
“After a while, I realized she didn’t have a punk rock band,” recalled the director at a recent commemorative event in Los Angeles. “But if she can believe, she can believe that this mechanical creature could be a real extraterrestrial.”
The film was an intimate work by Spielberg’s standards, shot in Los Angeles County and the San Fernando Valley in just 61 days. For the soundtrack, he turned to his regular collaborator, John Williams. John Williams produced an impressive score comparable to the work of Jaws and the Lost Ark Raiders.
ET premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 26, 1982. It was greeted by a flood of tears, as well as the customary and protracted applause of the festival. After seeing the movie for the first time, Henry Thomas suggested that the audience be given a “crying towel,” but Drew Barrymore later said: Applies. “
Novelist Martin Amis writes that he saw ET in a movie theater. In 120 minutes he felt as if he had a year of love life with desire and despair, passion and weakness. “
Of the many celebrity fans in the movie, no one was as enthusiastic as Michael Jackson. He recorded an audiobook version of the movie released in November. This is the same month as his huge sixth album thriller.
In December he appeared on the cover of Evony with ET, telling the magazine how much he was associated with aliens. “He gives love and wants love in return. That’s me,” Jackson said. “And he has that superpower that can lift and fly him whenever he wants to escape from things on Earth, and I can equate it. He and I have many points. Is similar. “
Even after 40 years, the effects of ET will continue for a long time. Netflix’s Stranger Things is a cast of kids in the 80’s who play Dungeons & Dragons and escape from malicious authorities on their bikes, openly in the movie, just as Elliott once put the ET in the front basket. I am indebted to you.
Meanwhile, thanks to the short appearance of Phantom Menace in the Galactic Senate in 1999, ET seeds are now part of the Star Wars universe. Known as “Assodians,” they were represented by one senator, Grebleips, in the Senate. This is Spielberg’s reverse spelling.
For Spielberg himself, ET changed his life in countless ways. First, the fact that he earned $ 500,000 a day from box office revenue and a share of merchandise sales at the peak of movie popularity in 1982 is not important.
But it also influenced him in a more subtle and profound way. Despite the old show business maxim about not working with kids and animals, Spielberg found himself excited to oversee his young cast. While filming the Halloween sequence, Spielberg spent a day dressed as an old lady with the joy of being a child actor.
“There were no children in the early 80’s,” he said in 1996. Inspired by the dissolution of his parents’ marriage, the film urged Spielberg to have his own child. This is a personal heritage worthy of the greatest family movie of all time.