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‘E.T.’ was inspired by the divorce of Steven Spielberg’s parents.
The 75-year-old director was at the helm of the 1982 sci-fi fantasy film – which told the story of a boy and his siblings who befriend an extraterrestrial dubbed E.T who has been left behind on Earth – and claimed that the end scene made him think of his parents Arnold and Leah, who divorced in 1966, and had been working on a script about it when he decided to make it into a story about children.
He said: “What if that little creature never went back to the ship? What if the creature was part of a foreign-exchange program? What if I turn my story about divorce into a story about children, a family, trying to fill the great need and creating such responsibility?”
The veteran director – who was married to actress Amy Irving from 1985 until 1989 and has son Max with her but is currently married to Kate Capshaw and has Mikaela, 26, with her – went on to explain that divorce creates “great responsibility” and was inspired to use his experiences of divorce with his siblings Anne, Sue and Nancy in the script for his multi-Academy Award winning film.
Speaking at at a special 40th anniversary celebration during the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival’s opening night, he said: “”A divorce creates great responsibility, especially if you have siblings; we all take care of each other What if Elliott, or the kid – I hadn’t dreamed up his name yet – needed to, for the first time in his life, become responsible for a life form to fill the gap in his heart? I had been working on an actual literal script about my parents’ separation and divorce and I had been working on ideas about that and what it did to my sisters and myself.”