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Frank Darabont’s Lost Indiana Jones Script

Frank Darabont has an impressive resume: Not only did he develop the critically acclaimed Walking Dead TV show, he’s also a three-time Oscar nominee, having directed The Green Mile (1999) and The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Recently his script for the fourth Indiana Jones movie surfaced on the Internet.

Writer, producer and director Frank Darabont. 

Reinventing an Icon
Darabont, who previously worked with George Lucas as a script writer on the The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones television show, was hired to write a script in May 2002. The script, called Indiana Jones and the City of Gods, had Indy being pursued by ex-Nazis in the 1950s. For Darabont it would be no easy task to follow Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (a film that many felt effectively wrapped up the franchise) but his script did that, and then some.

Darabont finished his script toward the end of 2003 and presented it to Steven Spielberg. Spielberg, who thought up the story concept for the fourth film, loved the script. George Lucas, however, who created Indiana Jones, didn’t like it.

Spielberg and Lucas had long discussions about the story – both had issue with the 1950s setting, and that it ignored the Cold War. After some additional reflection, Spielberg (who had also received an Oscar for Schindler’s List) decided it would be inappropriate to satirize Nazis in the next Indiana Jones movie. Harrison Ford too, who played Indiana Jones, also felt the franchise had “wore the Nazis out.”

Grab a box of tissues and get ready to cry over what could have been…

Sadly, neither felt Darabont’s script was what they were looking for. Eventually, Lucas took over the script-writing duties and other screen writers came on too, with Russians becoming Indy’s main enemy, although one of Darabont’s story concepts remained: Marion Ravenwood as Indy’s love interest.

Script Writing 101
Fans have badmouthed Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull since it was released, and story elements played a huge part in that – including the scene at the beginning of the movie where Indy saves himself from a nuclear blast by hiding in a refrigerator. Writing for the screen is a craft that takes years to develop, but film camp can provide a great start and learning script writing can be a great asset for beginning filmmakers.

Check out Frank Darabont’s Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods script and see what goes into making the written word come to life on the big screen. It’s a craft that can pay off big; at last count, the Indiana Jones franchise has grossed over a billion dollars.

George Lucas, Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg on the set of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.

The Future of Indiana Jones
So what lies ahead for Indiana Jones? Is a fifth film in the works? Inside sources say yes, that Speilberg and Lucas “have a story that they like and they’re working on it.” As for rumors that Shia LaBeouf will take over the franchise, don’t hold your breath for that one to come true.

In a recent interview with Time magazine when he was asked about passing the proverbial torch (or in this case, hat) to LaBeouf in the next movie, Ford replied, “What are you talking about? It’s mine. I would love to do another Indiana Jones movie. George Lucas is working on an idea now. Shia can get his own hat. I earned that hat.”


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

Making Raiders of the Lost Ark & The Future of Indiana Jones

Earlier this week, Hero Complex (an affiliate site for The Los Angeles Times), hosted a special screening at L.A. Live of Raiders of the Lost Ark to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film. Tickets to the free event went fast – not only because it offered fans an opportunity to see a newly remastered version of the movie, but as an added bonus, because of the Q&A session following the presentation with director Steven Spielberg.

 ”I’m making ten pictures a year as a producer. What are you doing?” Spielberg addresses the crowd at L.A. Live. 

The event offered great insight into a number of things related to the Indy franchise, and a rare look inside Spielberg’s relationship with longtime best friend and industry colleague, George Lucas.

“George Doesn’t Text”
One incredibly interesting nugget of information from the event: Lucas, who helms possibly the greatest sci-fi franchise of all time (Star Wars), doesn’t use technology much in his daily life. “George doesn’t text or e-mail…ever,” said Spielberg. “He’s a phoner. With George, it’s either by phone or face-to-face.”

The two formed a friendship long before working on Raiders of the Lost Ark, but Lucas first pitched the idea for Indy to Spielberg when the two were vacationing in Hawaii during the opening weekend of the first Star Wars film in 1977.

Lucas was fearful that Star Wars would be a failure, so he escaped to Hawaii with Spielberg to wait out the box office results. “He sprung this concept that he had on me, called Raiders of the Lost Ark, about this intrepid sort of gravedigger/archaeologist going after somewhat paranormal antiquities from all over the world. He didn’t outline the story, because he didn’t really have the story. But he had the genre, he had the idea and he had the homage it would pay to all the old Republic serials. We made a deal right there on the beach to do this movie.”

Making Raiders of the Lost Ark wasn’t easy. This was a generation before CGI, but Spielberg also revealed the re-mastered print (and version soon to be released on Blu-ray) would not include computer effects or other computer-generated trickery, which is popular with filmmakers and those interested in learning digital filmmaking.

The Future of Indy
Raiders of the Lost Ark went on to become one of the greatest films ever. The movie starred Harrison Ford in his first major role since playing Han Solo in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and the film still continues to be popular today. Raiders will soon be re-released on video. Currently the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archeology exhibit in Montreal showcases props from the actual film, but also reveals the stories behind real archeological sites like Peru’s Machu Picchu and Cambodia’s Ankgor Wat.

In addition to objects from ancient Peru, Egypt and Iraq, the exhibit features the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders and the Holy Grail from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, all at home together and on display in a Hangar 51/temple-inspired space.

But that’s not all Indy has up his sleeve. In conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the film and the Blu-ray release, Hasbro is also releasing a special collector’s pack of Indiana Jones figures. The Indiana Jones “Lost Wave” Collector’s Pack will unearth an entire set of “lost” fan-favorites, including Indy in German Disguise and Sapito (Alfred Molina’s first big-screen role). Don’t remember the character of Sapito? He was the the guy at the beginning that told Indy, “Throw me the idol — I throw you the whip!”

Back to LA Live, where Spielberg’s impression of Lucas was also downright funny. On the possibility of Indy 4, and working with George Lucas again, Spielberg had this to say, “We talk about it, yes. And we’re hopeful.”

We’re hopeful, too. Our favorite Indy flick? The original Raiders, of course. What’s yours?


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

Making Indiana Jones: The World’s Greatest Adventurer Turns 30

Originally named “Indiana Smith” (they changed his name on the first day of production), Indiana Jones was born thirty years ago on the movie screens of America. Harrison Ford played Dr. Jones, or “The Man in the Hat,” as 1981′s adventurous archeologist was called. Director Steven Spielberg yelled, “Action!” while his friend and production partner George Lucas oversaw the story. The movie was a cinematic touchstone. And not an easy movie to make:

Harrison Ford on the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

On Location with Indy A grueling location shoot in Tunisia, France and England almost sent the star to the hospital – twice. Once when a Nazi plane rolled over his knee (Ford wrapped his leg in some ice and kept shooting), and another time when Ford and the crew came down with a horrible stomach flu. (Spielberg didn’t get sick because he brought his own food: cans of Spaghetti-O’s.)

“We named the dog Indiana.” George Lucas named the character after his dog. The same dog was also the inspiration for Chewbacca of Star Wars. Yet, as the star whose name would grace the movie marquee, George Lucas didn’t want Harrison Ford starring in his movie because the actor had already appeared in Lucas’ American Graffiti and Star Wars. Ford was, however, Spielberg’s first choice.

Improvise “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage,” was a line ad-libbed by Ford. It was’t in the script. Neither was the famous scene where Indy shoots down a wild-eyed swordsman. Ford was supposed to use the whip and take the sword out of the attacker’s hand, but he had gotten food poisoning and was too exhausted to perform the stunt. After several unsuccessful attempts, it was Harrison Ford that suggested that “shooting the sucker” would be easier on Indy. Spielberg agreed, the cameras rolled and the rest was movie history.

Movie Milestones Raiders was the first film Spielberg ever shot in the UK. The film also marked Alfred Molina’s silver-screen debut. The sequel to Raiders, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, was the first movie ever to carry a PG-13 rating because of its violence.

This is how I feel every time I watch Pawn Stars.

Remaking the Classic Serial Adventure Great, iconic adventure movies that stand the test of time, like Raiders of the Lost Ark, don’t come around very often. Making a great movie takes a lot work. But the technology today gives filmmakers an edge. If you’ve got a dream for a great movie or want to learn how to make movies period, you should start your adventure in Digital Moviemaking. By getting training for Final Cut X, you could make an incredible film. Summer camps at Stanford University can help you master the craft of filmmaking, like Indy wields a whip.

Indiana Jones is a movie icon and hero, he’s an everyman that makes us love the movies even more. Happy 30th, Indy!


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments