To mark the anniversary and special edition Blu-ray release, executive producer Kathleen Kennedy shared her behind the scenes memories of the making of the film.
“We started out talking about a movie that was quite different. Steven and I had just started working together on ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and he said to me ‘There’s this wonderful man, J. Allen Hynek, who worked for the government where there were reports of UFOs and they were unexplained.’ He said, ‘There was this case in Kentucky called The Hopkinsville Case – go find out about that, because that might make an interesting movie.’ So I called and sure enough there was this really interesting case, which involved a family who claimed that they’d been visited by creatures from outer space.
They were all put under hypnosis individually, and they described exactly the same thing under hypnosis. We were fascinated by this…We brought John Sayles in and he wrote a script called ‘Watch the Skies’ about this alien invasion, essentially – it was still a small movie and not alien invasion the way that we think of movies today. We both were reading this script, and the very last image of the script is a little alien left alone, looking at the sky, watching a spaceship leave. Steven said, ‘I don’t want to make this movie – that’s the movie that I want to make!’ And that was really the genesis of ‘E.T.'”