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Feature: Indiana Jones 4

Article opener

After years in the wilderness, Indiana Jones is finally back on the big screen in new adventure Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. We’ve got the inside story from all those involved, starting with director Steven Spielberg…

Twenty-seven years. Three globe-spanning quests. One grizzled hero who has left his mark indelibly on the cinematic landscape. And after nearly two decades of waiting, that first action hero has found his way back to the big-screen for his most highly anticipated adventure yet; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – finally, finally at a cinema near you now!

In fact, by the time you’re reading this, the world will undoubtedly have had its say about the Indy – indeed, it’s difficult to remember a film so heavily discussed before its release, and it’s certainly on a par with Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in terms of fan expectation. But, for director Steven Spielberg, it was merely another step along a familiar path. “I wasn’t trying to make this movie bigger or better,” the iconic film-maker states, relaxed and unruffled just weeks before the film makes its global début at the Cannes Film Festival. “I wanted this to be a blood relative to the other three ‘Raiders’ pictures – which is what I love to call them. The world knows them as ‘Indiana Jones’ films. I call them ‘Raiders’ pictures.”

Given that it’s taken an astonishing 19 years to get the whip-cracking archaeologist back on our screens, one could have been forgiven for thinking Indiana had been consigned to cinematic history. In fact, the film-maker himself admits he thought Indy has had his final adventure. “I shot Indiana Jones riding a horse into the sunset [the final scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade] because I thought that brought the curtain down on the story,” Spielberg admits. “And in nostalgic way that was fine with me at the time. [But] there were some people who weren’t fine with [the end of the franchise] – and this movie really started with the fans.”

Someone else who was aware of the fans’ demand for a fourth Indiana Jones was the man himself, star Harrison Ford, who Spielberg reveals was essential to getting this show on the road. “Harrison called me and said, ‘Why don’t we make another one of these pictures? There’s a fan base out there that wants it,’ the director explains. “He was tenacious. He called George [Lucas] and George got to thinking about it, and then George called me and said, ‘Well, Steve, what do you want to do? It could be fun to make another movie.’ I have to give the credit to Harrison for starting the ball rolling, and then to George for working to get me to consider the possibility for at least one more story.”

Mention his leading man, and Spielberg clearly lights up. It’s clear he has a great deal of respect for the star he has known ever since Ford hit the big screen as space adventurer Han Solo in 1977’s Star Wars – directed by Spielberg’s good friend George Lucas – and it’s to Ford that Spielberg credits the very existence not just of this latest Indy film, but of the franchise as a whole. “More important than my directing it, more important than all the writers that came in, more important than almost the sum of its parts, was the fact that this series would not have been as successful as it was if it were not for Harrison Ford playing that role. Harrison is at home in the skin of Indiana Jones.”

by Adrienne Curtis

Read full and extensive coverage of the film in
Film Review (Sum)

Indiana Jones © Paramount Pictures
Feature © Visual Imagination 2008. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Film Review (Sum), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Sum)
#697, Summer 2008
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