As with any project involving Steven Spielberg and his Ambling Ent., there's extreme secrecy regarding exactly what happens in the Pepsi commercial that begins shooting in L.A. later this month featuring the famous visitor from outer space, E.T. But we have gleaned a few tidbits.
* According to Ambling spokesman Marvin Levy, E.T. will speak in the ads.
* The spots will promote "E.T." videocassettes, which MCA Home Video puts on sale Oct. 27. As the commercial sponsor of that campaign, Pepsi will offer a $5 rebate off the $24.95 price to buyers with a proof of purchase of two six-packs or three two-liter bottles of Pepsi product.
* The Pepsi/MCA sales campaign theme: "E.T. is coming home." The concept was created by Pepsi and its BBDO ad agency, according to Pepsi marketing manager Tod MacKenzie, but Spielberg is billed as the creative consultant.
* Casting director Loree Booth of TLC Productions is looking for a boy, aged 9-12, to play opposite E.T. But he need not necessarily look like Henry Thomas, who played E.T.'s pal Elliot in the movie.