WATCH: 10-Year-Old Henry Thomas Books the Job in ‘E.T.’

One advantage child actors may have over their adult counterparts is the ability to believe extraordinary circumstances. Take the audition tape below; a grown-up may have a hard time imagining their best friend is an alien being taken away by the government, but for 10-year-old actor Henry Thomas, the world of “E.T.” immediately becomes a reality.

After his off-screen scene partner explains what’s going on in the scene, Thomas begins reacting, staring at the reader with unwavering focus. You can tell he’s immersed in the scene’s conflict even before the tears start falling down his face. It’s such a tour de force display of emotion—(Thomas later revealed he drew on a painful real-life memory to capture his young character’s trauma)—that in the final few seconds of the video, someone (probably director Steven Spielberg!) declares, “OK kid, you got the job.” And deservedly so!

Want to see more? Check out “9 Great Actors’ Audition Tapes!