I just read this at Wikipedia
Indian director Satyajit Ray wrote a script entitled "The Alien" in 1967 with many similarities to E.T., and attempted to raise funds for its production in the late 1960s. After a falling out with a prospective producer, he lost interest in the project, and rejected later interest from Hollywood in the script. After E.T.'s release, Ray stated that "ET would not have been possible without my script of 'The Alien' being available throughout America in mimeographed copies." Spielberg claimed to be unaware of Ray's work, stating "I was a kid in high school when his script was circulating in Hollywood" when questioned about it in the press in 1982.And read the following here...
In 1967 Ray wrote the script to a science fiction film he wanted to make called The Alien. Peter Sellers was interested in the lead role, and Marlon Brando in the second lead. With those two stars on board, Columbia Pictures contracted to do the picture, but things did not go well from the start. Ray was alarmed to discover that producer Mike Wilson had copyrighted the script Ray had written in both their names.
When Ray went to Columbia's London offices for further negotiations, he found Wilson hosting lavish parties in his hotel suite for rock stars and assorted glitterati. Brando soon dropped out of the project and if Ray found Wilson's tactics disturbing, Columbia executives exacerbated the situation by suggesting that Wilson had appropriated his script fee. An attempt was made to bring in James Coburn to replace Brando, but by then Ray had had enough of the Hollywood machine and maneuverings.
He returned to Calcutta and abandoned The Alien project. Columbia tried to persuade him to take on the project again in the '70s and early '80s, but nothing came of it.
In 1982, when Steven Spielberg's blockbuster E.T. was released, the plot bore a striking similarity to Ray's script for The Alien, and was produced by the same company that had contracted with Ray in 1967. The similarity was considered by some, including Ray, to be more than mere coincidence. He told the Indian press that E.T. "Would not have been possible without my script of The Alien being available throughout America in mimeographed copies."
For his part Spielberg has denied plagiarizing Ray's script. "I was a kid in high school when his script was circulating in Hollywood," Spielberg told the press in 1982, when the issue was first raised. Whatever the truth may be, The Alien, if it had been made, certainly would have upstaged E.T., and probably Spielberg's previous effort, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as well--not to mention forced Ridley Scott to seek another title for his 1979 production, Alien.
And from Ray's wikipedia bio
In 1967, Ray wrote a script for a movie to be entitled "The Alien," with Columbia Pictures as producer for this planned US/India co-production, and Peter Sellers and Marlon Brando as the leading actors. However Ray was surprised to find that the script he had co-written had already been copyrighted and the fee appropriated. Marlon Brando dropped out of the project and though an attempt was made to bring James Coburn in his place, Ray became disillusioned and returned to Calcutta. Columbia expressed interest in reviving the project several times in the 70s and 80s but nothing came of it. When E.T. was released in 1982, many saw striking similarities in the movie to Ray's earlier script - Ray discussed the collapse of the project in a 1980 Sight & Sound feature, with further details revealed by Ray's biographer Andrew Robinson (in The Inner Eye, 1989). Ray believed that Spielberg's movie "would not have been possible without my script of The Alien being available throughout America in mimeographed copies."
Does anyone have the script? Has anyone at least read it? Has anyone heard this before?? Thanks!
ALSO: Supposedly more can be read about it in this book: Satyajit Ray: Beyond the Frame. Does anyone have this, too? What can you tell us? Thanks...