Sathyajit Ray

In 1967 he wrote a script for a movie entitled “The Alien”. Columbia Pictures was in talks to produce it. Peter Sellers and Marlon Brando were supposed to be up for the leading roles. However, Ray was surprised to find that the script he had co-written had already been copyrighted and the fee appropriated. Brando dropped out of the project and, though an attempt was made to bring James Coburn in to replace him, Ray was disillusioned, had enough of Hollywood machinations and returned to Calcutta. Columbia was interested in reviving the project in the 1970s and 1980s but nothing came of it. When “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” was released in 1982, many saw striking similarities in the film to Ray’s earlier script. Ray himself believed that Steven Spielbergs movie “would not have been possible without my script of ‘The Alien’ being available throughout America in mimeographed copies.” Spielberg denied this by saying, “I was a kid in high school when this script was circulating in Hollywood”.

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