These ET Facts are Out of This World

On June 11, 1982, Steven Spielberg's cinematic classic ET: The Extraterrestrial premiered at cinemas across the country. 36 years later, it's still one of the most iconic films in cinema history. To celebrate the anniversary, the Trivia Today team brings you these five interesting facts about ET...


Drew Barrymore Wanted to Star in Poltergeist, Not ET. # Drew Barrymore, all grown up. Image source: WikiCommons Everyone knows that in addition to being a great movie, ET was a launching pad into Hollywood for a young Drew Barrymore who starred as Gertie in the film. But few people know that Barrymore originally auditioned for a different Spielberg film: Poltergeist. Spielberg wrote Poltergeist as an off-shoot of ET, and Barrymore was one of the first young actresses to try out for a role. However, Spielberg didn't feel like she was right for the role. Instead, he cast her in ET, and the rest is history.

The Winner of the "Best Picture" Oscar Thought ET Should Have Won. # Original poster for the film. Image Source: WikiCommons ET was nominated for nine Academy Awards in 1984 including both "Best Picture" and "Best Director" but lost both to Richard Attenborough's Gandhi. Following the win, Attenborough said, “I was certain that not only would E.T. win, but that it should win. It was inventive, powerful, [and] wonderful. I make more mundane movies.” That little bit of brown-nosing landed Attenborough a role in a future Speilberg film; he played John Hammond in Jurassic Park. 


Reese's Pieces Sales Went Up 65 Percent After the Film Was Released. Spielberg's original ET script called for Elliott to lure ET into the house with M&M's, but the company declined to be involved in the film. Turns out that was a big mistake. When The Hershey Company offered their new product, Reese's Pieces, as an alternative, Spielberg and his team graciously accepted. As a result of the film's success, Reese's Pieces' sales increased by 65 percent following the film's release.

ET Was Supposed to Be Over Ten Million Years Old. The alien was also genderless and an omnivore. An elderly woman who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day did the voice for the film, and a 2'10'' actor did all of the puppeteering, except for the kitchen scenes where ET was played by a 10-year-old boy who had no legs and had mastered walking on his hands. According to Spielberg, his face was modeled after the poet Carl Sandburg, a pug, and Albert Einstein put together.

Harrison Ford and Corey Feldman Were Both Supposed to Have Cameos in the Film. Both Scenes Were Cut. Ford was set to play Elliott's school principal, and Feldman was offered a role in the film, too. But during the rewriting and editing process, both roles were cut from the film. Spielberg felt especially bad about cutting out the young Feldman and promised him a role in his next film. The movie would end up being Gremlins—the film that put Feldman on the map. 

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