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Without this cult actor, Steven Spielberg’s ET could never have seen the light of day

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Major work of cinema, AND by Steven Spielberg is still a source of inspiration for many films today. But did you know that without the help of this iconic actor of Hollywood cinema, the film might never have been released? Explanations.

A landmark of cinema

Released on June 11, 1982 by Universal Pictures, AND. was immediately successful, exceeding Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope to become the highest-grossing film of all time, before Jurassic Parkanother Steven Spielberg film surpassed him in 1993.

Acclaimed by the public and acclaimed by critics, AND has now become a cult film of the 1980s, and a symbol of pop culture, thanks in particular to one of its iconic scenes (the one where Elliott’s bike flies through the air). Awarded 4 Oscars, it was reissued in 1985, then again in 2002 on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, with modified shots and additional scenes.

Thanks WHO ?

But all this would (perhaps) never have seen the light of day without the presence and support of an iconic Hollywood actor: Harrison Ford. How ? While the two men were on the set ofIndiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) in Tunisia, the script of AND was then half written, and Spielberg then needed a screenwriter to help him finish his project. That turns out well, Melissa Mathison, girlfriend of the interpreter of Indiana Jones, is a screenwriter and is present on the scene. Unfortunately, she declines the offer of the master of cinema:

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I had mapped out the majority of the story and needed a scriptwriter to write it with me, or to write it from my basic idea. I was shooting in Tunisia with Harrison Ford, and his girlfriend Melissa Mathison was there with us… We were talking and I told her about my idea of ​​ET She ​​replied: ”I’m retired, I don’t write anymore . It no longer interests me. It’s too hard. “She declined my proposal. »

Spielberg will then turn to Ford to try to convince his girlfriend to join his proposal. The two men being very close.

He said to me, ”Let me talk to him”. The next day she came back to me. “OK, Harrison seems very excited about this project. What did I miss? ”I guess I didn’t tell her the story very well, because when I did it again, she was very touched and committed to writing it, right in the middle of the Tunisian desert.

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A deleted scene

When we know the impact of the film today, the American director can thank his foal. The 79-year-old actor also found his friend later to shoot a small scene in the film, which will ultimately be cut during editing.

Indeed, in this famous sequence, Harrison Ford who plays the principal of young Elliot’s school, summons the young boy to his office after an incident. However, very little of the actor is seen on screen (his back, hands and feet can be seen) and only his voice is recognizable.

We cut the scene. But Henry Thomas (the 10-year-old actor who played Elliot, editor’s note) was able to meet Harrison who had been his hero since he had seen Indiana Jones a year earlier, Spielberg confessed during an interview for Entertainment Weekly.

Here is the scene in question above, taken from the depths of YouTube:

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