Thursday, September 13, 2007

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the fourth film in the Indiana Jones series, which is planned to be released worldwide on May 22, 2008.[1] The film was in development hell since the release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with various screenwriters and false production starts. Shooting finally commenced on June 18, 2007, and Harrison Ford returned to play the title role. The film will be set in 1957[2] and features an older Indiana Jones.[3]

During the late 1970s, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg made a deal with Paramount Pictures for five films about Indiana Jones.[4] Following the theatrical release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, Lucas decided to let the series end as he felt he could not think of a good plot device to drive the next installment.[5] Lucas came up with an idea for a fourth film during production of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television series,[6] and in 1992, he hired Jeb Stuart to write a screenplay.[7] In 1995, Lucas called Last Crusade writer Jeffrey Boam back to pen another draft.[8] Lucas came up with a MacGuffin, but Spielberg and Harrison Ford balked as it was too similar to the previous films, and spent two years reworking it into something more acceptable.[5] Spielberg wanted to make the film because it was a chance to reunite with Lucas and Ford—with whom he had had a positive experience making the first three films.[9] He also wanted to make the film in order to please his children,[10] as well as the Indiana Jones fans.[11]

M. Night Shyamalan was hired as Boam's replacement for an intended 2002 shoot,[10] but he left because of what Ford described as "the failure of George and Steven to attend to him."[12] Shyamalan was overwhelmed writing a sequel to a film he loved like Raiders of the Lost Ark, and admitted it was difficult to get Ford, Spielberg, and Lucas to focus.[13] Lucas admitted he would not be able to give the project his full attention until he completed the final Star Wars film in 2005.[14] Afterwards, Stephen Gaghan[14] and Tom Stoppard[15] were approached to write a new screenplay.

With a title already planned,[16] Frank Darabont, who wrote several episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles,[17] was hired in May 2002 to write.[18] Darabont's screenplay was set in the 1950s, after the demise of the Nazi regime,[19] and featured cameos from Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) and Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw).[20] It did not have Jones' son.[21] In December 2002, Spielberg said he planned to shoot two films before filming Indiana Jones 4 in 2004 for a 2005 release. He also dismissed the possibility of shooting it digitally.[22] All of this unravelled in February 2004 when Lucas rejected the draft for reasons unknown,[23] although Spielberg called it the best since Raiders of the Lost Ark.[24]

Jeff Nathanson was hired in October 2004 to write a completely new script.[25] In October 2005, Lucas rejected Nathanson's draft.[26] As 2006 began, Harrison Ford declared that if the film was not made by 2008, then the filmmakers should drop the idea altogether.[27] Spielberg confirmed Indiana Jones 4 as his next film, calling it "the sweet dessert I give those who had to chow down on the bitter herbs that I've used in Munich",[28] and David Koepp was hired to polish the screenplay.[29] Koepp tried not to make his work a "fan script", in that he hoped to avoid any trivial references to the previous films, saying "That's tempting, because you've seen the movie a hundred times and you know all the dialogue, but no human being remembers exactly what they said 25 years ago word for word, much less make reference to it. So you try to put aside the other movies and yet be in the spirit of them."[3]
The production crew converts a storefront in downtown New Haven, Connecticut to be used in a scene set to take place in the 1950s
The production crew converts a storefront in downtown New Haven, Connecticut to be used in a scene set to take place in the 1950s

On December 29, 2006, Lucas confirmed that he, Spielberg and Koepp finished the script, and that Indiana Jones 4 would commence filming in 2007.[30] Filming began on June 18, 2007[31] at Deming, New Mexico, for scenes in Morocco.[32] An extensive chase scene was shot between June 28-July 7 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut,[2] which doubled as Indiana Jones' Marshall College.[32] They moved to Hawaii, shooting twenty percent of the film for three weeks[33] on private property, keeping production secretive.[32] Hawaii stands in for a South American rainforest.[33] Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the biggest film shot in Hawaii since Waterworld, and will generate $22 million to $45 million in the local economy.[34] Shooting is now based at Downey, California,[35] where fifty percent of the film will be shot.[33]

Producer Frank Marshall stated in 2003 that the film would not rely on CGI, and use traditional special effects and stuntwork so as to be consistent with the previous films.[36] He reiterated this in 2006.[5] Ford is performing many of his stunts.[33] While shooting War of the Worlds in late 2004, Spielberg met with stunt coordinator Vic Armstrong, who doubled for Ford in the previous films, to discuss three action sequences he had envisioned.[5] However, Armstrong was filming The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor during shooting of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, so Dan Bradley was hired in his stead.[37]

No comments: