Movie Talk

‘E.T.’ turns 30: Get a behind-the-scenes look at a young Drew Barrymore

Movie Talk

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Drew Barrymore, left, and Dee Wallace in 'E.T.' (Photo: Universal Pictures)

At just six years old, Drew Barrymore made her indelible mark on American cinema as an observant, opinionated pig-tailed little girl named Gertie, the first among her siblings to figure out that E.T. wants to "phone home."

The 1982 film "E.T.", now a classic, is one of the biggest box office successes of all time. And much of that is thanks to Barrymore's unforgettable performance.

When it came to crying on cue, she easily conjured the tears, remembers costar Dee Wallace, who recently spoke with Yahoo! Movies about playing Gertie's mother. During the sequence toward the end of the film when E.T. dies, "we pick [Drew] up and walk in, she takes one look at E.T. and totally loses it," Wallace recalls.

A newly-unearthed documentary about the making of "E.T." that appears in a 30th anniversary edition Blu-ray/DVD that comes out today reveals more: Barrymore continues crying after director Steven Spielberg yells "cut." The famed director then consoles her after the scene in a never-before-seen candid moment.

Watch Dee Wallace talk to Yahoo! Movies about filming 'E.T.':

Before that scene, Wallace, who says she was very protective of Barrymore during filming, did her best to prepare the child actress for the big emotions to come: "I went to get her and I said, 'Okay Drew, we're going to do the scene where E.T.'s dying. Now, E.T.'s just acting, right, like we are..." Wallace recalls, adding Barrymore's adorably indignant reaction to her scene prep: "[Drew replied,] 'I know Dee, do you think I'm stupid.'"

[Related: Henry Thomas on 'E.T.' 30 years later]

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(Photo: Universal Pictures)

The documentary is truly eye opening -- revealing Spielberg's charismatic personality behind the camera, his intuitive way with the film's many child actors -- including Henry Thomas, who played Elliott -- and his special relationship with a young Barrymore.

Spielberg is Barrymore's real-life godfather, a designation that reportedly came after the making of the 1982 film. It's hard to imagine, but the role of Gertie could have gone to Juliette Lewis, who is reported to have auditioned for the part, and then was told by her father, who is also an actor, to turn it down.

Spielberg went to great lengths to make the experience as authentic as possible for his predominantly young cast, shooting the film in its exact story sequence -- something that is rarely done in Hollywood -- and hiding the inner-constitution of E.T. from them. It all especially benefited the cast's youngest member -- Barrymore.  "We never saw people going in-and-out of the costume," Wallace recalls. "The guys that ran [E.T.] when he was on the hydraulics system were put behind walls with monitors because Drew would walk up and start talking to E.T." she further explains.

[Yahoo! Movies Giveaway: 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial' Blu-ray Prize Pack]

Between the documentary and Wallace's recollections, it's clear Barrymore served as inspiration for the classic film's spirit. "She always had that presence of 'I know who I am and I know what I'm going to do and I know what I am doing.' It was just innately who she is," Wallace says of Barrymore. And as it turns out, her line about E.T. -- "I don't like his feet" -- was her own ad-libbed addition, Spielberg recently revealed, to the surprise of Barrymore herself.

Now 37 and a new mother, Barrymore has often said her memories of making "E.T." are all positive. She even recently admitted she can't wait to screen the film for her daughter Olive, born just a few weeks ago, when the time comes.

Watch 'E.T.' Blu-ray Bonus Video:
Drew Barrymore On Set Elliott Theme Song

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