Original ET puppet used in ET is disintegrating and can no longer be restored


The original puppet from the 1982 movie ET, the star of the film, is disintegrating and can no longer be restored.

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More than 40 years after ET captivated the world, the original model of the little alien is disintegrating and has even lost some fingers, leaving the puppet beyond restoration.

Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster, which featured Drew Barrymore, Henry Thomas, Robert Macnaughton, Dee Wallace, and many other famous faces, also featured 13 puppets playing ET, a friendly extraterrestrial accidentally left on Earth.

The filming model was created in 1981 by Italian Carlo Rambaldi, a master of special effects. Spielberg’s puppets included mechanical versions, costumes for actors, and a larger headpiece created for close-up shots.

In 2018, the puppets were unpacked from storage where they had been kept since the 1980s. Daniela, Rambaldi’s daughter, spoke to Mirror about the models deteriorating over time and restoration attempts.

“We have been trying to prevent the deterioration of these materials that, for the 1980s, were advanced but today are as fragile as a flower,” she said. “The skin was rotting, when you touched it, it was like touching a petal disintegrating in your hand.”

Leonardo Cruciano, another special effects expert, explained, “The latex was very dry and when you touched it, it fell apart. When we unpacked the boxes, we used gloves and very soft pillows. Just unpacking took a week. Unpacking the head took three days. At any moment, we could lose everything.”

According to Cruciano, the process was like assembling “a puzzle” and the team “needed a lot of patience.” He mentioned that some pieces were impossible to save or were lost, and the restoration was like assembling a mummy.”

According to the Mirror, before being “cleaned of dust, rust, and oils,” parts of ET were “sprayed with a latex fixative” and then reassembled. Despite all efforts, they were only able to save four of its fingers, as they were too delicate.

This content was created with the help of AI.

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