arrives at the 2022 AFI Fest - "The Fabelmans" Closing Night Gala Premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 06, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/FilmMagic)
Movies - TV
Filming Close Encounters’ Climactic Scene Inspired Spielberg To Put Divorce Theme in E.T.
"E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" is about a friendly alien befriending a kid, but it’s also about a divorce-torn family. During a 40th anniversary screening of the film at the TCM Classic Film Festival, Steven Spielberg spoke about a climactic scene from “Close Encounters” that ended up putting the rest of the movie into perspective for him.
"Close Encounters" depicts a man departing from his family in an obsessive pursuit of scientific knowledge, and the idea of torn families was on Spielberg’s mind during production. "I was shooting the [climactic] scene and I suddenly thought, 'Wait a second. What if that little creature never went back to the ship? What if [...] [Richard] Dreyfuss goes and he stays?’”
Spielberg told James Lipton how that moment evoked the conflict between his parents. “E.T.” feels more personal given the perspectives of its child protagonists, as Spielberg said, "Divorce creates great responsibility. If you have siblings, we all take care of each other [in the wake of divorce]. And what if Elliott [...] for the first time in his life becomes responsible for a life form, to fill the gap in his heart?"