The original model used for E.T. from the cult classic 1982 film sold at auction last weekend for $2.56 million.
The mechatronic model of the beloved alien from Steven Spielberg‘s “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” was among 1,300 Hollywood artifacts auctioned off at Julien’s Auctions’ “Icons and Idols: Hollywood” event in partnership with Turner Classic Movies, per NPR.
According to the description, the model includes 85 points of movement and features E.T.’s signature extended neck that helped bring the alien to life. The design of this character earned Italian special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi his third Academy Award for visual effects in 1983.
Since there was no modern-day CGI when “E.T.” was made, twelve animators used the model to create the alien’s facial expressions and motion, as The Daily Wire originally reported.
“One of the rarest and most remarkable pieces of Hollywood memorabilia ever to come to auction, Julien’s is honored to present one of the actual, last surviving, authentic animatronic E.T.’s used during the making of the beloved and cherished blockbuster film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, which captured the hearts of audiences across the world,” the auction website wrote of their headline piece.
“We all kind of regard him as a living breathing organism, he’s a real creature, I think for me, in my experience, he is the eighth wonder of the movie world,” Spielberg said, according to the auction site.
Rambaldi supposedly chose for E.T. to have a long neck as an “empathic” way for him to relate to humans. The design was modeled after the artist’s personal paintings, NPR noted. Rambaldi’s original model of E.T. that was used for character concept visualization sold previously at auction for $125,000.
“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. 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,” Executive director of Julien’s Auctions Martin Nolan echoed.
Other items from the 1982 movie sold as well, including the Kuwahara BMX bike used in the movie by a stunt rider. That piece went for well above the expected amount, TMZ reported, snagging $115,200.