E.T. Actor Matthew De Meritt Makes Rare Appearance for Film’s 40th Anniversary

Posted 2022/04/23 5 0

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On Thursday, April 21, 2022, a special screening of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a film about an alien stranded on Earth who just wants to go home, happened for the science-fiction film’s 40th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, the cast and crew of the beloved science-fiction hit gathered at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California, including Steven Spielberg, Dee Wallace, and other people associated with the film. However, per ET Online, the most significant appearance of the night was a rare red carpet outing for Matthew De Meritt, who is credited as one of the actors who helped bring E.T. to life in the film.

De Merritt was 11 years old and going through physical therapy after being born with no legs when Universal Studios and Spielberg contacted UCLA Medical Center for some people to do a screen test. “There was a fitting, and they took all my measurements, and they filmed me walking on my hands,” he reportedly recalled to The Mirror in 2002. “I’m not sure what they were thinking when they got me down there,” he added. “I’d never demonstrated to anybody that I could walk on my hands, and I don’t see how they could think I could comfortably fit inside a costume and walk around and make a convincing alien – but it kind of worked out that way.”

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Although moviegoers couldn’t see De Merritt, he is responsible for one of the most iconic movie scenes of all time: when E.T. drinks a beer. When speaking to The Mirror, he said, “It was hot, and Spielberg came up to me and asked if I was all right. Then he wanted to make sure I wouldn’t get hurt,, and he said: ‘Is there any way you could just walk straight into that cabinet there and just kinda fall on your butt and get back up, turn around, and for the grand finale fall smack on your face?'”

Drew Barrymore Recently Reunited with E.T. Mom Dee Wallace

Another E.T. actress also recently celebrated the film’s 40th anniversary: Drew Barrymore, who got her big break starring in the film at 7-years-old playing Gertie Taylor, the younger sister of Elliot (Henry Thomas) and Michael (Robert McNaughton). On Monday, Barrymore was reunited with her onscreen mother from E.T., Dee Wallace, on The Drew Barrymore Show, and the two women reminisced about their time on Spielberg’s set.

When Barrymore claimed that she “knew the deal” with the animatronic E.T. puppets, Wallace quickly rebutted, “Oh, do not believe that for a moment,” recalling a moment when she saw a young Barrymore trying to have a conversation with the E.T. puppet. “From that time on, [director Steven Spielberg] had two guys on E.T. at all times, so that any time you went over to talk to him, his eyes could work,, and his head could go up and down,, and he could respond to you,” she said.

Wallace also recalled a time on set when they were filming the scene when E.T. was on his deathbed, and she tried to prepare a young Barrymore for the scene. “I said, ‘OK Drew, now we’re going to go shoot the scene where E.T.’s dying, but you know he’s not really dying sweetheart. He’s acting, just like we are, OK?'” she said.

“And you looked at me, and you said, ‘I know, Dee. Do you think I’m stupid?'” said the Cujo actress. “So, I picked you up; we walked into the set. You took one look at E.T. and went (crying) ‘Ah, he’s dying, Dee! He’s dying.'”


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