Home Entertainment Corey Feldman Lost A Big E.T. Role, But A Steven Spielberg Promise...

Corey Feldman Lost A Big E.T. Role, But A Steven Spielberg Promise Put Him In Gremlins

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It took several years for the story of “E.T.” to take shape, let alone get made. Initially, Spielberg conceived of a far more horror-oriented alien invasion movie entitled “Night Skies,” a concept which he hired writer John Sayles (who had written the “Jaws” knock-off “Piranha” for director Joe Dante) to flesh out into a script. After working on “Night Skies” for a while, Spielberg and another writer, Melissa Mathison, honed in on the script’s relationship between a boy and a friendly alien, wanting to make a movie about just that instead.

After Spielberg and Mathison developed “E.T.,” Feldman auditioned for the film and won a lead role. As he explained in the recent oral history of “Gremlins” at The Ringer, however, things changed, leading to Spielberg’s fateful promise:

“He wanted me to be one of the two stars of the movie. And then he went dark and he just kind of disappeared for three months. And then all of a sudden, we get a call. […] He’s like, ‘Unfortunately, I have some sad news. There’s been a major rewrite of the script. And we’ve decided to change the idea that this movie is about a little boy and his friend who discover an alien, and we’ve made it a little boy who discovers the alien on his own and tries to hide it from his family. So unfortunately, whatever part you are going to be doing as the best friend, it’s going to be cut down to a day or two, and we think that would be a waste of your efforts. So I would advise you to withdraw from the role. And I promise if you do that, I will give you a lead role in whatever my next film is that has a kid in it.'”



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