Harrison Ford’s cameo in ‘ET’ as the school principal

Having successfully retrieved the Ark of the Covenant from the clutches of the Nazi party as Indiana Jones in 1981, Harrison Ford calmed himself down for a small role in Steven Spielberg’s next film, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. 

After the scene in which scores of frogs are released in a classroom, Elliot’s sent to the principal’s office by a pair of nurses. Ford played the principal, who gives Elliot a speech about having “His whole life ahead of him” while the boy levitates in a chair. We don’t see Ford’s face, but his voice is immediately recognisable – too recognisable for Spielberg, perhaps, since this scene was deleted from the finished movie after the director voiced the concern that audiences would be too distracted by the sudden appearance of Indiana Jones.

The loss of the scene was probably just as well, since Ford seems ill at ease in a role that’s entirely free from his trademark cynicism and grump; “Well, tomorrow’s the first day of the rest of your life,” his principal simpers in a creepily flat tone. The dim lighting and weird over-the-shoulder camera angle, meanwhile, makes Ford look more like a Bond villain than a schoolteacher. Even poor Elliot seems a little frightened.

“Uh, may we go now?” he asks, before sprinting out of the office like his hair’s on fire.

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