Steven Spielberg has said he regrets editing the weapons from «ET the Extra-Terrestrial.» The director made the remarks while taking part in a master class at the Time 100 Summit.
The 1982 theatrical cut of the popular film includes a scene of officers chasing young children with guns. Spielberg edited out the weapons for the film’s 20th anniversary release, replacing the firearms with walkie talkies.
«That was a mistake,» Spielberg said. “I never should have done that. ‘ET’ is a product of his era. No film should be reviewed based on the lenses we are now, whether willingly or forced to look through them.»
«‘ET’ was a movie where I was sensitive to the fact that federal agents would approach children with exposed firearms and I thought about trading weapons for walkie talkies… Years went by and I traded my own points of view,» Spielberg continued. “I should never have messed with my own work files, and I don’t recommend anyone do that. All of our movies are kind of a sign of where we were when we made them, what the world was like, and what the world was getting when we put those stories out. So I’m really sorry to have that out there.»
Spielberg’s regret over the censorship of «ET» led the Time 100 moderator to mention recent news about books by Roald Dahl and other authors being censored for offensive language and republished with language considered more inclusive by today’s standards.
“Nobody should try to take chocolate away from Willy Wonka! Ever!» Spielberg joked. He added on a more serious note: «To me, it’s sacrosanct. It’s our history, it’s our cultural heritage. I don’t believe in censorship like that.»
Spielberg most recently directed «The Fabelmans,» which was nominated for seven Oscars, including best picture and best director. Next up for the filmmaker could be a remake of Steve McQueen’s 1968 action thriller «Bullitt,» starring Bradley Cooper.