Melissa Mathison wrote the perfect screenplay for E.T.
Is there a movie that defined your youth? For me, it was watching E.T. in my aunt's basement, being pretty much terrified at the last half hour when the government shows up and causes a ruckus. I must have seen that movie at least once a month for over five years, and I was terrified every time. I watched it as an adult last week and still was on the edge of my seat.
The movie was written by Melissa Mathison and directed by Steven Spielberg. Not only was it a hit, but it was the movie that really changed everything for Spielberg. It solidified him as a box office king and showed that he could masterfully showcase emotions, humor, and grandeur all while walking the tightrope of tone and coming-of-age stories.
So what are some writing and directing dips we can gather from the movie?
Check out this video from Behind the Curtain, and let's talk after the jump.
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BbsRZ3Bxv4
I'm sitting here holding a stuffed E.T. from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in my lap as I write this article. I'm definitely a big fan, and I think the screenplay is one of the best ever written.
For the uninitiated, this 1982 American science fiction tells the story of Elliott, a boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, called E.T., who is stranded on earth. The film stars Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, and Drew Barrymore. The concept was based on an imaginary companion Spielberg created after his parents' divorce in 1980.
The whole thing started as a horror movie. E.T. was going to terrorize the family. But like all good ideas, they got worked on for a while and adjusted as necessary.
Spielberg and Mathison worked tirelessly to tweak and perfect the idea, bringing out the emotional elements and really mining what it was like to be a child not in control of your own family or the outside world.
When it came time to make the movie, filming took place from September to December 1981 on a budget of $10.5 million. Spielberg was working to define who he was in Hollywood. And he wanted to tap into a new way to look at aliens. To get emotional performances from the cast, he shot the whole movie in chronological order, allowing their bonds and love to build and helping the kids live the story.
Released on June 11, 1982, by Universal Pictures, E.T. was an immediate blockbuster. It made so much money it was the highest-grossing film of all time, even surpassing Star Wars. It held that spot until Jurassic Park came out and took the crown.
By the end of its theatrical run, E.T. had grossed $359 million in North America and $619 million worldwide. The film was re-released in 1985 and 2002, earning another $60 million and $68 million.
It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning four. And it became a household favorite, with people everywhere talking about how much they enjoyed the story and passing it down to the next generations.
What was your favorite part of the video? Let us know in the comments.
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