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Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial has remained an American science fiction classic for four decades in no small part because the title creature works so well. You can feel its ability to emote, to react to the actors around it, and to bring a genuine sense of heart and vulnerability to the story alongside the human cast. The film achieved this thanks to the visual effects work of the great Carlo Rambaldi, who built a detailed, extremely articulated "mechatronic" model to bring E.T. to life. Now that model could be yours, if you've got a couple of million dollars lying around.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the E.T. "Hero" model is the centerpiece of a new auction of Hollywood props and memorabilia that will go on sale from Julien's and Turner Classic Movies just before Christmas later this year. Though it no longer has the alien's skin, the model (which can be viewed at THR's website) is still recognizably E.T.; from its big expressive eyes to its long neck, all the beautiful articulation built into the figure is on full display. The item is expected to fetch between two and three million dollars.
“We could not be more honored than to work with the family of Carlo Rambaldi, caretakers of one of the most incredible pop culture figures in the history of Hollywood — E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s, said in a statement. “Rambaldi was a pioneer in the field, and his artistry brought unreal characters to life in a way that has never been replicated with modern-day visual effects.”
Rambaldi and fellow effects wizards Dennis Muren and Kenneth Smith won an Academy Award for their contributions to E.T., and while the title creature isn't the only major effect in the film, it still is the centerpiece that holds the whole thing together. It's so beloved, in fact, that when Spielberg himself went back and tried to enhance various aspects of the film with CGI years later, even the director himself termed the effort a failure and banished the recut forever.
The E.T. model and several other famous Hollywood props, including a Nimbus 2000 broom from the Harry Potter film series and Moses' staff from The Ten Commandments, will go on sale in a live auction Dec. 17-18 in Beverly Hills and online at the Julien's website.
Of course, if you don't have the necessary cash, you can always just relive the magic by watching E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, now streaming on Peacock.