Acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg has opened up about how the famed science fiction movie E.T. impacted his personal life. During a panel at the TCM Classic Film Festival (via Variety) to celebrate the movie’s 40th anniversary Spielberg revealed that while filming E.T., he started to consider how he may want to be a father as well as a big-time Hollywood director.
Often regarded as one of the best movies of all time, E.T. tells the story of a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) who befriends a poor and lonely alien who has been left behind on earth by his friends and family by mistake. Starring Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace, and Peter Coyote, the family movie sees the two working together to get the extra-terrestrial home. While helming the family-driven story, a flip was switched in Spielberg, who at that time had never considered being a father due to his busy schedule as a director.
“I didn’t want to have kids because it was not a kind of equation that made sense for me as I went from movie to movie to movie, script to script… It never occurred to me till halfway through E.T.: I was a parent on that film,” Spielberg explained.
“I was literally feeling like I was very protective of Henry (Thomas) and Mike (McNaughton) and my whole cast, and especially Drew (Barrymore), who was only six years old. And I started thinking, ‘Well, maybe this could be my real life someday,'” he continued. “It was the first time that it occurred to me that maybe I could be a dad. And maybe, in a way, a director is a dad or a mom. I really felt that that would be my big production.”
Spielberg was then jokingly asked if he did follow through and become a father after his on-set realisation. “I have seven kids and six grandchildren. So E.T. worked for me very well,” the acclaimed filmmaker answered.
Spielberg hasn’t slowed down in his career despite being a family man. In 2021 he helmed the musical West Side Story, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. Currently, he is working on a semi-autobiographical film based on his own childhood growing up in Arizona titled The Fabelmans.