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When it first opened in the summer of 1982, Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was an instant hit with audiences around the globe. Viewers couldn't help but love with the titular visitor from beyond the stars who wanted nothing more than to collect some plant specimens and head home in his glowing spaceship. Javier Bardem, on the other hand, may have fallen in love a little too much.
Recently speaking with Vogue, the Dune and Being the Ricardos actor was asked about his "childhood movie crush," to which he responded with E.T. (something he and Harry Vanderspeigle share in common). "I remember the day I saw the film three times in a row," he said. "I remember when I met Steven Spielberg. He’s such a wonderful man. What an artist."
Bardem recently teamed up with the legendary filmmaker for Cortés y Moctezuma, a historical miniseries about Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes. Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment was attached to the project, which was being written by Oscar-winner Steve Zaillian (Schindler's List, American Gangster). Bardem was all set to executive produce alongside Gael García Bernal (Old) and Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), but the ambitious production was canceled in late 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"I met Steven Spielberg and I told him, 'I've seen E.T. 24 times onscreen in theaters," Bardem said during an on-camera interview in 2018. "And the second movie that I saw the most [was] Raiders of the Lost Ark ... He's great, funny, nice, caring, humble."
Despite his great love of E.T., the actor actually turned down an opportunity to work with the director on 2002's Minority Report. He had been offered the part of Danny Witwer that ultimately went to Colin Farrell.
"I was scared," Bardem admitted, later adding: "I didn't speak English enough ... He gave me this opportunity and I felt like, 'No, I can't do this now because it's not gonna be fun for me. I'm not going to enjoy it. I'm going to be stuck in the pressure of being in a big movie with you, speaking a foreign language that I don't control.' You would think that [an actor] who nobody knows rejecting Steven Spielberg [would make him angry]. Well, I'll let you know, he was so nice, so generous, so understanding. So like, 'Of course, you don't see yourself [in the part], it's fine. It will be some other time.' He was so caring, that I was very impressed. It shows you that the real people with real talent usually are great people. They're very humble and very grounded and very in touch with empathy."