Spielberg’s ET based on Ray’s story - Fusion - WeRIndia

Spielberg’s ET based on Satyajit Ray’s story?

Spielberg’s ET based on Satyajit Ray’s story?

It has now been 26 years since Satyajit Ray passed away in 1992. Satyajit Ray was an Indian filmmaker, screenwriter, author, music composer, and graphic artist. He is widely recognized as one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century.

However, one significant idea of his never managed to make the screen: his children’s film “The Alien”. Rumors have been raised that the Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster film, “E.T. the Extraterrestrial”, was actually a plagiarized version of Satyajit Ray’s script for “The Alien”.

Although Ray’s film was never fully made, the copies of its script did continue to circulate in the United States after the project had been abandoned.

For over a century, the idea of alien life has captivated human interest, and it has been an ever-popular theme in speculative fiction. At first, aliens were portrayed as violent invaders whose only purpose was to destroy humankind and take over our planet.

However, as time went on, more people started to portray aliens as friendly and benevolent. Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. the Extraterrestrial” was one of the most noteworthy works to reverse the trend.

However, the story about a young boy who secretly befriends a kind alien who could heal and make plants bloom sounded strangely similar to Ray’s script for his unmade movie.

Ray had first spoken about “The Alien” to his friend, fellow sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke. When Clarke said that his screenplay was promising, Ray sent it to Columbia Pictures to be made into a film. Columbia Pictures came on board for this US-India co-production, and the lead roles were cast.

However, Ray lost hope in the project when he found out that Mike Wilson had copyrighted the screenplay, without having played any part in creating it. Marlon Brando, who was playing one of the lead roles, also dropped out of the project.

Ray was further shocked and heartbroken when he saw Spielberg’s “E.T. the Extraterrestrial” 15 years later, noting its similarities to “The Alien”.

Although Spielberg has denied the claim that he ripped off Ray’s script, his friend, fellow director Martin Scorsese, has said otherwise. Although people will sadly never be able to see Ray’s film on screen, there are still many more of his films to watch and enjoy today.

Image Credit: GianAngelo Pistoia / CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Image Reference: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Steven_Spielberg_-_GianAngelo_Pistoia_1.jpg

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