LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The original animatronic model used to bring big-eyed alien ET to life in Steven Spielberg’s tear-jerker movie is up for auction.
The extra-friendly extra-terrestrial, whose glowing finger and childlike innocence melted hearts in 1982, became a touchstone of cinema history as audiences welled up over the creature’s bond with an Earthling – and his desperate desire to go home again.
Now the model Spielberg’s team used to create movie magic can be yours – if you’ve got USD2-USD3 million to spare.
With 85 mechanical joints, nearly everything moves, from the eyes, to the neck, and of course that pointy finger that was held aloft as ET informed his new friend Elliot that he wanted to “phone home”.
A team of puppeteers helped bring the alien to life opposite Elliot (Henry Thomas) and his little sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore), said executive director of Julien’s Auctions Martin Nolan.
Movie makers “had to work day and night to create what you see… because it’s not just about creating visuals”, he said.
“It also had to be a working creature. I mean, Drew Barrymore who was the little girl – the sister in the movie – she actually believed that he was a living species.”
If USD3 million is a little rich for your blood, but the idea of getting away from it all has appeal, you could always bid on one of the bicycles Elliot and his friends used as they tried to elude the police.
A specially designed BMX bike, which flew across the setting sun in the movie, is expected to fetch up to USD50,000.
And if pedalling is not your thing, but zipping through the sky sounds attractive enough, how about a Nimbus 2000 Hero Broom, from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? Yours for around USD100,000.
The haul of movie memorabilia – which also includes lightsabers from the Star Wars franchise, the staff that Charlton Heston used to part the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments and Robert De Niro’s Raging Bull boxing gloves – goes under the hammer this weekend in Beverly Hills.