Though Henry Thomas has only acted infrequently after his stunning performance in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (which was first released thirty-three years ago today), few child actors ever pulled off such a memorable performance as Thomas (although adorable five year-old Drew Barrymore did just as well in the same film).
Although hundreds of boys auditioned for the role of Elliot, Thomas ended up with the role after he cried convincingly in an improvised audition. Thomas thought about the day his pet dog had died in order to make himself cry. The story has it that Thomas’ crying made director Steven Spielberg cry too. You can hear the emotion in Spielberg’s voice when he tells Thomas that he won the role.
Check out the clip!