Flashback: 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial'

by David Weiner 3:15 PM PDT, June 09, 2012
Playing Flashback: 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial'

E.T. the Extra-terrestrial celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with a special edition Blu-ray out now, and we've unearthed some great vintage interviews with a young Drew Barrymore and Henry Thomas reminiscing about the film, along with footage of Steven Spielberg directing scenes on the set of the iconic movie at the same time that he was putting the finishing touches on Poltergeist.

Video: ET Flashback: 'Poltergeist'

"It does not stand for 'elapsed time;' it stands for 'extra-terrestrial,'" joked Spielberg to Entertainment Tonight. "It's a very warm adventure story, and it's a relationship story; the unusual aspect of this relationship is it's between a person and a creature, not between two people. … I think it's probably one of the most exciting experiences I've had making a movie up until now."

Three years after it became a worldwide box office phenomenon, E.T. the Extra-terrestrial was poised for re-release in theaters, and we brought Drew and Henry back to the suburban, Tujunga, CA neighborhood where they filmed the movie. There, they discussed fond memories of the set, from bike riding to food fights, and, more importantly, reflected on how the film had changed their lives.

"I've changed a lot, but I'll always be the same in spirit," said an adorably precocious Drew back in August of '85. Asked how many times she'd watched the movie, she replied, "I've seen it 28 times I think, maybe 30."

Related: Drew Barrymore Details 'Perfect' Wedding

"I couldn't do the things that a year ago would seem, you know, the easiest things to do," said a serious Henry about losing his anonymity. "They say, 'There's the kid from E.T., let's go ask for his autograph.' … I couldn't be in the public eye for a while."

While filming the sci-fi adventure tale, did the kids have any idea that the film would become such a phenomenon?

Video: ET Flashback: The 'Ghostbusters' Premiere

"We thought it was just going to be any old movie," said Drew, while Henry pondered, "It was basically just a film we had done and had a lot of fun on. I don't really think that much about box office hits and all that. It just matters how you think you did, and how the film turned out overall."

Happy 30th anniversary, E.T.... Phone home!