Steve Spielberg’s 1982 film”E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” remains one of the most iconic sci-fi films of the 20th century. Lauded for its blend of adolescent humor with cutting social commentary, the story is a true testament to Spielberg’s genius as a filmmaker. However, what really drives the film are the performances.
Aside from Drew Barrymore, the cast of “E.T.” is hardly recognizable years later. Most notably, Henry Thomas, the child actor who quickly became the most famous kid in America after depicting Elliot in Spielberg’s classic. Thomas is still a working actor, best known for his recent work in Mike Flanagan’s “The Haunting of Hill House.” But in my eyes and I’m sure the rest of the film industry’s eyes as well, Thomas is and will always be the boy who protected E.T. from the government.
Here’s Thomas’ audition tape for the role of Elliot. For context, the scene he’s performing comes at the crux of the film, when a representative from the government asks to take E.T. away from Elliot. Thomas delivers an emotional, cathartic response, and the last comment from a producer says it all, “Ok kid, you got the job.”