Alien Choreography: Before the advent of CGI, film aliens were either animatronic models, or actors dressed in creature suits. Known as an alien specialist in Hollywood, Caprice is best known as the Hands of E.T. Not only did she instruct the operators of the creature in Mime & Physical Characterization, and pose for the famous E.T. poster, but she wore latex E.T. gloves and lay at the creature’s feet with her hands raised into frame for 90% of the film.
Steven Spielberg and Producer Kathy Kennedy speak about Caprice’s work in video: Making E.T.’s Hands
Henry J Thomas Jr. spoke about Caprice’s work during British ITV interview from Happy 30th Birthday E.T:
“One of the best things that Spielberg did — something that really helped my performance — was to hire mime Caprice Rothe.”
Mitchell Suskin, the Visual Effects Supervisor for E.T. and Cocoon has this to say about Caprice’s work:
“On both productions I hired Caprice Rothe to work with us to develop a unique sense of movement for “alien” creatures involved, and to help direct that movement… Working under great pressure, and with often enigmatic instructions, she demonstrated great talent as both a performer and a teacher, and great patience as a human being.
On E.T., we gave her a pile of rubber and steel, and ten technicians to pull the levers, and she gave us a living creature. She taught the techs how movement is perceived by an audience, and coached them to work together to make E.T. a believable character. (In fact, once she got the team rehearsed, we often forgot that E.T. was not a real live thing.)
On Cocoon, we asked her to take four petite actresses with a minimum of wardrobe and make-up, and create a unique and recognizable personna through movement. The result was graceful, attractive, and delicate – definitely a new concept for science fiction…”