What famous characters inspired the face of ‘ET, the extraterrestrial’?

On June 11, 1982, the film with which Steven Spielberg was crowned the undisputed King Midas of Hollywood was released in the United States – in Spain it would arrive on December 6 of the same year. ET the alien told a beautiful story of friendship between a terrified alien abandoned on Earth and Elliot, a lonely boy played by Henry Thomas who hides him in his house to prevent scientists and the police from finding him.


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DRAFTING

Scripted by Melissa Mathison and under the astonishing musical baton of John Williams, the director drew on the imaginary friend he created as a child after his parents’ divorce to compose a timeless classic that led families to queue endless lines in droves. theaters and that it reaped a worldwide box office success that swept the already exorbitant figures of Star Wars (1977) of his friend George Lucas.

Elliot and ET fly by bike in the famous scene from the movie directed by Steven Spielberg

Elliot and ET fly by bike in the famous scene from the movie directed by Steven Spielberg

Universal pictures

With a budget of $ 10.5 million, it reached about $ 800 million worldwide. In fact, it was the highest grossing in movie history until the premiere of Jurassic Park in 1993, also directed by Spielberg.

“ET was the friend, the father or the brother that I never had or felt that I was losing,” said the director regarding his “most personal” film. And is that the film about the adorable alien made millions of children raise their finger pointing to the stars to say that “phone, my caaaaasa”.

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ET was the friend, father or brother that I never had or felt like losing



Steven SpielbergDirector

One of the challenges Spielberg encountered when creating his friendly alien was the shape of his face. If to achieve the peculiar voice of ET he counted on the contributions of his own voice, as well as that of the actress Debra Winger and especially that of the announcer Pat Welsh, who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, in addition to animal sounds, to create the face of the endearing alien, the director was clear that it had to be something different from the usual representations of aliens.

The protagonists of 'ET, the extraterrestrial' with the screenwriter Melissa Mathison and Steven Spielberg on the 20th anniversary of the film

The protagonists of ‘ET, the extraterrestrial’ with the screenwriter Melissa Mathison and Steven Spielberg on the 20th anniversary of the film

Third parties

It had to be a face that the audience could empathize with, something “so anatomically different that the audience could never think there was a person in a suit with a zipper on the back.” For his part, Mathison imagined him as a “soft and muddy” being, in keeping with the character’s attraction to botany.

In the end, Spielberg asked special effects expert Carlos Rimbaldi, with whom he had already worked on Encounters in the third phase, to help him with the design. While they were working on the final version, the creator of Shark He claimed that he was heavily influenced by some photographic portraits of scientist Albert Einstein, writer Ernest Hemingway, and poet Carl Sandburg, so the lovable ET turned out to be a mix of all of them.

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The protagonists of 'ET, the extraterrestrial' with the screenwriter Melissa Mathison and Steven Spielberg on the 20th anniversary of the film

Nominated for nine Oscars, the film was made with four statuettes: soundtrack, sound, sound editing and visual effects. It also won the Golden Globe for best film. Almost 40 years after its premiere, ET the alien continues to excite young and old with his magic and his story full of sincere feelings.

Spielberg asked special effects expert Carlos Rimbaldi to help him with the design of the endearing alien.

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