This transcript of George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg, and Larry Kasdan coming up with ideas for the Indiana Jones series is so engrossing. As I’ve mentioned before, those were some of my favorite movies as a kid (still are), and it’s almost unbelievable how many scenes are laid out word for word in this conversation they have. It’s also fascinating to see which ideas didn’t make it through. If you’re a fan of Indy, you’ll dig it. Be warned, though: it’s really long.
This is AWESOME. It’s easy to bag on George Lucas’s storytelling skills after the Star Wars prequels debacle, but this transcript shows him at the peak of his game. Although it is a little interesting how formulaic it is, how he’s reduced it to an equation where cliffhangers occur every twenty minutes, etc. The difference here, I suppose, is that he KNOWS it’s a formula, and embraces it, while a lot of “storytellers” today muck about with the pieces, and craft formulaic plots without really understanding the arithmetic of what they’re doing. Like their craft or not, Lucas and Spielberg are irrefutable masters of it.
It’s interesting to spot which things manifest themselves in Raiders part and parcel (like the famous rolling boulder sequence), and which things sort of fell by the wayside or trickled down into the sequels: all the Orientalism and Shanghai scenes from Temple of Doom, the Marlene Dietrich-style German double-agent in Last Crusade, etc.
And speaking of romantic foils for Indiana, it’s fun to watch these guys stumble all around the Marion character, who turns out to be not only the best “Indy girl,” but one of the cinema’s most indelible heroines ever. In the end, it’s Lawrence Kasdan who finally zeroes in on the mentor’s daughter with a crucial piece of the map, tending bar in Nepal. Essentially, they have written Bogart’s “Rick” from Casablanca to be the love interest to Bogart’s “Dobbs” from Treasure of the Sierra Madre!