Steven Spielberg helped Drew Barrymore believe E.T was real while filming E.T the Extra-Terrestrial. It has been 40 years since Spielberg’s iconic sci-fi family adventure arrived in theaters and warmed the hearts of audiences, leading to its impressive $794 million box office haul. Telling the story of an abandoned alien who befriends a group of children on Earth, the movie follows the children’s efforts to return him to his home planet before government agents can capture him.
Among E.T’s cast of child actors, Drew Barrymore played Gertie, the younger sister of Elliot (Henry Thomas) and Michael (Robert McNaughton). In the years since, Barrymore has gone on to become a household name among audiences. Most recently, she is the host of The Drew Barrymore Show, where the Charlie’s Angels star has hosted reunions with former co-stars.
Now, in a special episode airing October 31, Barrymore re-united with her former E.T family. Hosting Thomas, McNaughton, and Dee Wallace, who played Gertie’s mother Mary in the movie, she discusses their experiences making the now-iconic movie. During the special, Barrymore revealed that her reactions to the groundbreaking animatronic alien may not have been entirely acting. In a clip posted by the official Twitter account for The Drew Barrymore Show, Barrymore said “I believed E.T. was real… I really, really loved him in a profound way.” Her fellow cast members confirmed this, with Thomas adding:
“The first thing I remember is that we were on stage, and it was quite cold on the stage, and you asked the wardrobe lady if you could have a scarf for E.T.’s neck because he was gonna get cold, so you wrapped the scarf around his neck.”
Drew Barrymore’s E.T. Role Remains Iconic
Though having made her film debut with the William Hurt-led Altered States, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial largely remains one of the most iconic roles in Barrymore’s filmography. While better known to some for her work in the Charlie’s Angels movies and performing alongside Adam Sandler in the likes of The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates and Blended, her supporting role in Spielberg’s beloved sci-fi family adventure remains one of her most iconic roles in her filmography, having expertly captured both the scared nature of a young girl encountering an alien being, as well as a curious one for a being from another planet. Interestingly, Barrymore’s account of believing E.T. was real isn’t the only to say such, as Wallace also previously shared that multiple E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial stars found the young star interacting with the puppet in between scenes.
Children have often been at the heart of Spielberg movies, with the filmmaker navigating the challenge of directing kids, as Key Huy Quan’s Indiana Jones audition story reveals, Spielberg knows how to balance the difficult duties of directing while addressing the needs of his young performers. Knowing that Gertie’s affection for E.T in the movie came from a very sincere place because of Barrymore’s belief and Spielberg’s encouragement adds an endearing dimension to her performance. As cutting edge as the effects on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial were, it was the performances of the actors that sold the character to moviegoers and, 40 years later, E.T is still as real to audiences as he was to a young Drew Barrymore.
Source: The Drew Barrymore Show
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