6/19/2012

Sigourney Weaver E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
The Internet thinks the E.T. sequel story is real. It's an obvious hoax. I'll explain why, plus, I have the full text of the treatment so you can read it yourself.

The movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial is important to the history of cinema. Roger Ebert wrote, "This is not simply a good movie. It is one of those movies that brush away our cautions and win our hearts." President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan were moved by the film after a screening at the White House on June 27, 1982. Princess Diana watched it and cried. The movie is so important that the United Nations gave Spielberg the U.N. Peace Medal. Everyone loves E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

The Internet exploded last week when a couple of websites reported a supposed story treatment for an sequel to E.T.. I don't buy it though.

I was all set to write a post called "Why the E.T. Sequel Would Have Destroyed Your Childhood' when I noticed something. It doesn't make sense. The story is violent, sadistic and horrid. It's literally full of typos and grammatical errors, plus it doesn't match Spielberg and Mathison's style of writing at all.

Could it be fake? Here are some questions to think about.

Where Did It Come From?
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

The only treatment available is a PDF file which says the date of the treatment is July 17, 1982. This is two days before a month after the movie opened in the U.S.

While many sites are saying this was just discovered, the file has a creation date of May, 5, 2002. Hollywood.com points out that the treatment's been around for a while. The earliest reference I can find is a review by FilmBuff.com. He gives a brief and unverified history of the document and adds the following observation: "While the treatment is obviously not much more than the skeleton of the proposed story, there are a few flaws inherent in the material. The biggest problem is that there isn’t much story material for a two hour film. Also, with the film’s title character, E.T., not appearing until the film’s climactic scenes, the movie runs the high risk of angering audiences who would be expecting him to be the focal point of the story.

"The idea for the evil offshoot of E.T.’s race can be traced back to another unrealized Spielberg project Night Skies. Conceived as a follow-up to Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Night Skies was to be the story of a family whose home is terrorized by aliens. Spielberg pitched the story to executives at Universal Studios as “Straw Dogs with aliens,” while screenwriter John Sayles, who had been hired to develop the script, has stated that he used the 1939 Henry Fonda western Drums Along The Mohawk as a model. Pre-production on the film had begun with up and coming special effects whiz Rick Baker designing the attacking aliens, when Spielberg decided to pull the plug on the project to instead concentrate on another story of aliens on Earth which would become E.T.. Spielberg would recycle the family-under-siege idea, substituting the aliens with the supernatural, for Poltergeist which he co-wrote and produced."

One commenter rightly points out that this sounds like a hoax and it does. Really, we have no idea where this document comes from.

Does It Fit With Spielberg's Vision Of The Film?
Henry Thomas (Elliott) E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
 Here's the first sample from the story: "The aliens onboard are EVIL. They have landed on Earth in response to distress signals designating its present coordinates. These aliens are searching for a stranded extratresstrial  [sic] named Zrek, who is sending a call for 'Help'.

"The evil creatures are carnivorous. Their leader, Korel, commands his crew to disperse into the forest to aquire [sic] food. As the squat aliens leave the gangplank, each one emits a hypnotic hum which has a paralyzing effect on the surrounding wildlife. These creatures are an albino fraction (mutation) of the same civilization E.T. belongs to. The two separate groups have been at war for decades!"

I'm not a Spielberg fanatic, but this doesn't sound right. In a 1982 interview for 20/20 he said the film is a "love story between a young boy and an 800 year-old-creature from outer space." What would motivate him to turn his love story into a horror film?

When asked about a sequel, Spielberg said, "Sequels can be very dangerous because they compromise your truth as an artist. I think a sequel to ET would do nothing but rob the original of its virginity. People only remember the latest episode, while the pilot tarnishes."

E.T. was warm, sweet and a tearjerker. There were rough parts, but it left you feeling good at the end. This sequel would have been terrifying. Imagine a sequel to Sound of Music where the family is chased by Freddy Krueger. There's a huge difference in tone. It doesn't make sense. 

What's With All Da Typos?
Henry Thomas (Elliott) E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
I understand E.T. was Mathison's second produced script, but why would she and Spielberg make a treatment so full of errors?

These aren't typos. Some words are consistently misspelled. Words that end in "ful" like "tearful" and "handful" both end in two "ls." This is the action of someone that doesn't know how to spell, not the work of an accomplished and award-winning writer. The treatment has no less than nine obvious typos. No one would ever submit this to a studio.

Everyone says the story treatment is a terrible idea. Were Spielberg and Mathison dumb enough to think this would work? I find it hard to believe.

Plus, the author of the document is "Steven Spielberg and Malissa Mathison." She misspelled her own name.

Our Images Of The Aliens Would Have Been Changed Forever
Drew Barrymore (Getie) E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

We only got brief glimpses of the aliens outside of E.T. We assumed they were all friendly, kind and giving. This film would have killed that. The aliens in the sequel are all cruel, evil and sadistic creatures.

One line reads: "Elliott advances in a friendly gesture but barely escapes being bitten, or even killed, by the alien's razor-sharp teeth! Several of the aliens bare their fangs from time to time to show they mean business." 

Besides the description of the aliens there are scenes of the aliens literally torturing the children. This takes up most of the story. 

"In the hours that follow, Elliott and his companions are questioned extensively." it reads. "But the aliens will not accept the truth in their responses. While one child is interrogated, another is being examined. Gertie is crying and calling for Mary and E.T. for help. The others endure (as their war-gaming experiences have tought [sic] them)."

That makes no sense. What kind of game teaches you how to survive torture from aliens? Actually, the E.T. videogame was pretty bad, so maybe it does work.

It goes on, "It is now time for Elliott to be questioned. The aliens show no mercy when he replies with the truth. The questioning process intensifies when they learn from his memory that he has dealt directly with Zrek. The pain is tremendous for Elliott and he breaks down and begins screaming for E.T.'s help. Elliott blacks out - but the echos of his last cry can be heard from a distance. At this point we follow, upward, the echoing cry for E.T. into the cosmos where the painfull [sic] cry seems to die."


Here's the full text of the story treatment. Please keep in mind that my spell-checker exploded with this thing, but I've verified the spelling as best as I can from the original document. Yes, the spelling and grammar is really that bad.

E.T. II: NOCTURNAL FEARS
BY
STEVEN SPIELBERG AND MELISSA MATHISON

STORY TREATMENT
JULY 17. 1982

E.T. II: Nocturnal FEARS

In the night sky there is an emotion churning about. The stars twinkle blankly, expressionless as if to say that something is wrong. There is a slight breeze disturbing the the [sic] treetops - or is it?

Through gnarled branches we gaze upon a familiar sight. In what seemed like only the blink of an eye, something has penetrated the night sky and nearly avoided our attention.
A small noise, followed by streaks of stray light, further acknowledge its pressence [sic]. A door is being opened, on the giant ornamental Mothership now resting in the forest clearing.
A door opens and extends outward to make a ramp. Light pours from within and a figure emerges as a silhouette.

The creature moves in a familiar fashion - a waddle.
---
School has now come to an end for Elliott, Michael, Gertie and their many friends. For most youngsters, summer is something to look forward to. This is not the case for a handfull [sic] of children this summer! Summer is, unfortunately, a continuation and concentration of feelings and thoughts the previous months only hinted to. For these few kids, summer promises only one thing...LONLINESS [sic]. This is the first of many summers without their little alien friend, nicknamed E.T.. Hard as it is, the children cope...

Elliott, Michael and Gertie are closer to one another since E.T. came into their lives. They have a special sort of relationship now. But as always, time tends to blur memories and Elliott's mother, Mary, is still waiting for that process to begin. So far, however, E.T. is as popular today as he ever was!

---

The spaceship, nestled in the forest clearing surrounded by massive Redwoods, seems to be showing signs of life. Movement can be detected within the ship.

The aliens onboard are EVIL. They have landed on Earth in response to distress signals designating its present coordinates. These aliens are searching for a stranded extratresstrial [sic] named Zrek, who is sending a call for "Help".

The evil creatures are carnivorous. Their leader, Korel, commands his crew to disperse into the forest to aquire [sic] food. As the squat aliens leave the gangplank, each one emits a hypnotic hum which has a paralyzing effect on the surrounding wildlife. These creatures are an albino fraction (mutation) of the same civilization E.T. belongs to. The two separate groups have been at war for decades!

Korel approaches the top of the gangplank and raises his frail arms outward as his yellow heart-light summons his crew back to the Mothership. For A moment the aliens are paralyzed themselves. The tiny creatures eventually look up with their large, expressive red eyes and begin their orderly processional back up into the spaceship.

Inside the craft is a vast assortment of large plants and animal-like beasts in cages of light - obviously specimens from past voyages.

---

At Elliott's home we see him climbing onto his roof to check E.T.'s COMMUNICATOR, which has been anchored down and sending messages into space ever since E.T. left Earth.

Elliott's father returned from New Mexico months before and filed for divorce and moved back to New Mexico. But Elliott's family has seen harder times. And the fact that Mary has been dating Dr. Keys,  since they let just before E.T. left, has eased the strain considerably.

One, thing is certain...everybody under this household's roof has somethingin [sic] common - E.T.!  Keys has told his story time and time again about his first meeting with the tiny, confused E.T.. It is a story full of emotion, surprise and mystery. Keys never plays down how important that experience was to the direction his life took from then on. Keys admits his life ambitions were channeled toward more positive and rewarding goals. He didn't continue to live in a dream-world of hope that he would one day meet his spacefriend again, like he fears Elliot and his friends are now. Keys insists he chose to pursue medicine and science because of E.T..

Recently, Elliott has been sensing something he cannot explain. His umbrella COMMUNICATOR is reacting strangely now. He thinks it could be receiving a message from space!

In his room, Elliott is searching for something. On his wall is the Polaroid snapshot of himself with Michael and E.T.  on Halloween night. Above his bed we see E.T.'s clay planets suspended by wire from the ceiling. Elliott emerges from the closet with a pot. His face becomes sad. The Geranium is still dead. He puts the pot on his dresser and sits on his bed, thinking.

Later, Elliot jumps up happy and races through his house. Es. finds Michael and Gertie and makes them promise their *most excellent promise* that they will tell nobody what they are about to do. Having finished that, Elliott callshis [sic] D&D buddies Steve, Tyler and Greg and tells them to ride their bicycles to the forest clearing because E.T. could be coming back!

---

There have been numerous reports of unexplained cattle mutilations in the surrounding countryside.

---

At the clearing we sense danger. We see shadows and undefined formslurking [sic] in the nearby forest. Night is falling and in the distance we hear a camotion [sic]. Elliot and his friends are converging on the clearing unaware of any trouble. They arrive and dismount their bicycles.

In awe, everyone gazes upon the dark contours of the massive space machine. Suddenly the figure of Korel appears in an illuminated porthole. Telepathically Korel speaks to the children asking the whereabouts of the fugitive alien, Zrek. The children reply honestly that..."He's gone home!". Korel becomes angry, believing that they are lying.

When the children regain their senses, they are surrounded by the evil alien creatures who were  hiding in the forest. The creatures are carrying some kind of dagger. Elliott advances in a friendly gesture but barely escapes being bitten, or even killed, by the alien's razor-sharp teeth! Several of the aliens bare their fangs from time to time to show they mean business. Korel orders that the children be brought aboard. Reluctantly Elliott and his friends follow.

In the hours that follow, Elliott and his companions are questioned extensively. But the aliens will not accept the truth in their responses. While one child is interrogated, another is being examined. Gertie is crying and calling for Mary and E.T. for help. The others endure (as their war-gaming experiences have tought [sic] them).

---

At Elliott's home, Mary is arriving from an extended date with Dr. Keys. They enter the empty house and proceed to investigate further why nobody is home. It is past 11:00p.m..

---

It is now time for Elliott to be questioned. The aliens show no mercy when he replies with the truth. The questioning process intensifies when they learn from his memory that he has dealt 
directly with Zrek. The pain is tremendous for Elliott and he breaks down and begins screaming for E.T.'s help. Elliott blacks out - but the echos of his last cry can be heard from a distance. At this point we follow, upward, the echoing cry for E.T. into the cosmos where the painfull [sic] cry seems to die.


---

In the meantime, Keys and Mary decide not to call the police yet. They hear a strange noise coming from - somewhere. They finally realize that the sound is coring from the roof.

Mary leads the way to Elliott's room where there is a trap door leading to the attic. From there, Keys climbs out a window and up to the rooftop. He witnesses a bizzare [sic] sight...the COMMUNICATOR is vibrating crazily and rotating to a new position. The keyboard read-out is repeating the same entry: "E.T. HELP ELLIOTT SOON".

Keys calls Mary to the roof. When she arrives to read the message, they embrace and go back through the attic, into Elliott's room. Mary turns around and sees the Geranium blooming to  life. She lets out a feeble yelp and begins to cry. Keys and Mary are now aware of what has been happening. They go to their car and head for the forest clearing.

---

Elliott is mentally and phyiscally [sic] drained now.

Because he is no longer of any use to the aliens, they carry his limp body to a light cage where Michael and Gertie are already resting.

Suddenly we hear a strange resonating hum throughout the ship, yet it is not coming from within the ship. All the evil aliens freeze. A hatch opens to reveal E.T. with glowing finger raised 
and his heart-light pulsating.

Elliott awakes inmediately [sic]. E.T. advances toward the captives and deactivates the light cages. He and Elliott embrace with tears in their eyes.

Elliott, Michael, Gertie, Steve, Tyler and Greg leave the EVIL Mothership and wait for E.T. to come out after re-programming the alien's navigation controls. E.T. exits the ship and rejoins 
his faithfull [sic] friends.

Soon after, Mary and Keys arrive and are reunited again with the magical little alien named E.T.. After saying their tearfull [sic] goodbyes, E.T.'s own Mothership decends [sic] from the Heavens to take the place of the evil ship that is now enroute [sic] to a remote corner of the galaxy.

There is HOPE in everyones' [sic] eyes as they all, again, behold the picturesque departure of their favorite alien. Dreams can come true!

-THE END- 

What a load of garbage.

Via io9

Do you think this story treatment is real? Are you a Spielberg fan? Does this sound like something he would develop?

[Image Source: gerrygreek.tumbler.com, hollywood.com, madisonavenuejournal.com]

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16 comments:

PT Dilloway said...

Given his recent track record, nothing would surprise me with Spielberg as long as he was getting paid for it. He'd probably just attach his name as "Executive Producer" and then sit back and count the money like with the horrible Transformers movies.

Anyway, I might be one of the few people who hated ET. It was so fracking BORING.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not a chance. The story wrapped up and there's nothing else that needs to be told. Besides, thirty years later?
And how could anyone hate ET?

Michael Offutt said...

I loved E.T. I would hate it if this movie got a sequel. It was complete as told.

Maurice Mitchell said...

PT. I haven't seen the movie in a while, so I can't say if it's held up. Still a classic of film though. So say we all!

Maurice Mitchell said...

Alex this "story treatment" adds nothing to the story except E.T.s name. And a dumb one at that.

Tony Laplume, Sith Architect said...

Sounds like Gremlins.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Michael, people have rumored about a sequel, but I can't see Spielberg doing it. What's left to say?

Anna Smith said...

E.T is awesome but a sequel would probably cause me to stop watching movies, I think! It would clearly be about making money and that's just not on! :)

Maurice Mitchell said...

Tony it does sound gremlin-esque now that you mention it.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Anna, I don't believe Spielberg is dumb enough to make a sequel.

The Golden Eagle said...

Making a sequel to E.T. does seem like a strange idea.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Yeah Golden Eagle, even of the idea of a sequel were true I can't see it being this.

jeremy [retro-zombie] said...

Well ET... could come back to visit... I can say honestly as a kid I loved it, as an adult [sort-of] I could pass. Though ET was in one of the new Star Wars films... that is good enough for me... my suggestion to remakes or sequels if you cannot get everyone from the first film, don't waste your time... then work on a great script, not just something for fodder.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Well said Jeremy. If they did try to make an E.T. sequel without Drew Barrymore and Spielberg directing it wouldn't even get out of the gate. That's why the Ghostbusters sequel is in limbo. Without Bill Murray no one will see it.

Mike Morkes said...

I actually did read a sort-of sequel to E.T. book I bought from Scholastic Books as a kid. It was pretty dull, as it never had Elliott or E.T. in the same place. E.T. literally grew a spaceship from some kind of turnip and defied his leaders to return to earth to help Elliott with his struggles with puberty. Awful, awful stuff.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Mike, I heard about that book. Book of a Green Planet. I never read it, but it sounds awful. Turnip?!

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