The 76-year-old filmmaker recalled what it was like having Barrymore on the set of his cult classic science-fiction film, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982), when she was just seven years old. The actress said in an interview published in Vulture that Spielberg was “the only person in my life to this day that ever was a parental figure.”
The Academy Award winner eventually became Barrymore’s godfather after declining her request that he step in as her dad. Her birth father, the late actor John Drew Barrymore, was abusive and an alcoholic, the outlet noted.
Spielberg didn’t shatter the little girl’s illusion that E.T. was real and not just a robot. He even said to have kept operators on hand so Barrymore could eat lunch with her “co-star.”
“I didn’t want to burst the bubble,” Spielberg said of keeping up the ruse. “So I simply said, ‘It’s okay, E.T. is so special E.T. has eight assistants. I am the director, I only have one.”
The article also noted how Spielberg would tell Barrymore to remove her bright red lipstick when she showed up on set. The actress previously described her tumultuous childhood, which included using marijuana when she was ten and snorting cocaine at 12. Barrymore did her first stint in rehab at 12 years old.
“She was staying up way past her bedtime, going to places she should have only been hearing about, and living a life at a very tender age that I think robbed her of her childhood,” Spielberg told the publication. “Yet I felt very helpless because I wasn’t her dad. I could only kind of be a consigliere to her.”
Barrymore also spent time with Spielberg and his family “on weekends; he gave her a cat she named Gertie and took her to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.”
During the same interview, Barrymore spoke about her tumultuous relationship with her mother, Jaid Barrymore. The actress accused tabloid outlets of twisting her words when they reported that Barrymore was looking forward to her mom’s death, as The Daily Wire previously reported.