The cast of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial reunited in Los Angeles this week with a very special guest joining in the fun.
Matthew De Merritt, now 52, was just 11 years old when he became one of three people to spend time inside the actual 4ft rubber E.T. suit in some of the most beloved scenes in the classic film.
On Thursday, he joined the likes of director Steven Spielberg and actress Dee Wallace – who played single mum Mary Taylor in the 1982 sci-fi favourite – to celebrate 40 years since the movie’s release.
Matthew was seen at LA’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Festival for a special screening, and he was pictured arriving on a skateboard which he uses to get around.
He looked to be great spirits as he caught up with Spielberg and other cast members including Dee, K.C. Martel (Greg) and Robert MacNaughton, who appeared alongside Drew Barrymore (Gertie) and Henry Thomas (Elliott) in the film as their older brother Michael.
Although Spielberg had already worked on the likes of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. was still a defining moment for him as a filmmaker.
The 1982 film – which followed recently-divorced Mary and her family, and how their lives got turned upside down when son Elliott discovered the titular alien – became the highest-grossing film of all time during its theatrical run.
It grossed $359 million in North America and $619 million worldwide, and the record stood over over a decade until Spielberg’s own Jurassic Park surpassed it in 1993.
While Matthew was in the suit for some key scenes (he’s credited with ‘Special E.T. movement’), it was also inhabited for other scenes by two people with dwarfism, ‘Little Pat’ Bilon and Tamara De Treaux, and Pat Welsh provided the voice.
Matthew previously told the Mirror: ‘There was a fitting and they took all my measurements and they filmed me walking on my hands.
‘I’m not sure what they were thinking when they got me down there. I’d never demonstrated to anybody that I could walk on my hands, and I don’t see how they could think I could comfortably fit inside a costume and walk around and make a convincing alien – but it kind of worked out that way.’
He explained that he was asked with certain scenes due to his own movements.
‘Spielberg asked me to do all the scenes where E.T. fell over or walked awkwardly. I had an awkward walk compared to Pat and Tamara because I was on my hands,’ he added.
‘Any scene where they wanted E.T. to fall over, they would use me.’
This included the famous beer scene, and he noted how Spielberg made sure he was safe before attempting any of the moves.
‘Spielberg wanted to make sure I wouldn’t get hurt,’ he noted. ‘He said: “Is there any way you could just walk straight into that cabinet there and just kinda fall on you butt and get back up, turn around and for the grand finale fall smack on your face?” ‘
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