In the age of YouTube, it’s not uncommon for old audition tapes to surface online and go viral. But even so, Henry Thomas’ audition tape for E.T. is something of a rarity. Just 10-years-old at the time, Thomas gives the sort of raw, emotional performance that you’d ordinarily expect from, say, Al Pacino. It’s possible that he’s even better here than he is in the finished film.
“Okay, kid, you got the job,” Spielberg says after only three minutes, and it’s easy to understand why.