How E.T. got his looks
Melissa Mathison (writer) The basic idea was that he be child size. And physically unattractive. His loveability was not about how he looked. The adults would find him scary looking. But the kids, they saw inside rather than outside. The eyes were a big part. I remember Kathy Kennedy getting big into the eyes.
Kathleen Kennedy From the moment Steven started talking about this character, he constantly focused on how important the eyes were going to be. I went to the Jules Stein Eye Institute, met with a doctor and his assistant, and they pulled out all these real human eyeballs [in a display]. They were used as reference to paint glass eyeballs, so you got a real sense of the detail. I took several boxes of glass eyeballs and went running onto the set of ''Poltergeist'' to show Steven.... There was this wonderful woman that the Institute employed, who [we got] to make E.T.'s eyes and to paint them with the kind of detail they do for human beings.
Image Credit: ET: Everett Collection
For the 20th anniversary of ''E.T.,'' the filmmakers and stars recall their incredible journey