Twenty-seven years after we saw the first installment of the Indiana Jones series, the fourth movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opens nationwide tomorrow. In honor of the occasion, we'll take a look at all the movies and tell you some stories you may not know about the Indy franchise.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
1. It Started with Bond Ambitions
George Lucas wrote a story called "The Adventures of Indiana Smith" in 1973. While on vacation in Hawaii in 1977, he spoke with Steven Spielberg, who mentioned he always wanted to do a James Bond film. Lucas told him the Indiana Smith character was even better than James Bond, and that's how the collaboration between the two movie giants began.
2. Tom Selleck Almost Starred in It
Spielberg wanted to use Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones from the beginning, but Lucas rejected the idea, since he had already used Ford in American Grafitti and Star Wars. So Tom Selleck was chosen for the role. However, he dropped out to star in the television series Magnum, P.I. Selleck thought it would be a scheduling conflict, but filming on Raiders of the Lost Ark finished before Magnum went into production. Nick Nolte turned down the role also. Danny DeVito was the first choice for the character Sallah, but dropped out to do the TV show Taxi.
3. The Fourth Wall (it keeps out snakes)
Indiana Jones is not the only one afraid of snakes. When Marion (Karen Allen) falls in the snake pit, you can see the reflection of a cobra in the glass wall between them. You can also see a glass wall between Indiana and the cobra in the original movie and videotape, but it was cleaned up for the DVD release.
The Temple of Doom (1984)
4. Star Wars Tributes
There are many Star Wars touches in The Temple of Doom. The name of the nightclub in Shanghai is Club Obi Wan. The sound effect you hear when the lava pit opens as they begin to sacrifice Willie is the sound of Darth Vader opening his light saber. The sound effect of the plane failure is the same sound effect used for the Millennium Falcon when it stalls in The Empire Strikes Back. And the vest that Indy wears in his palace room was made for Han Solo.
5. Dan Akroyd has a Cameo?
Part of the crew made cameo appearances. In the airport scene at the beginning of the movie, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, costume design Anthony Powell, and PR man Sid Ganis are missionaries. Executive producer George Marshall is a coolie pulling a rickshaw. Dan Akroyd (not a crew member) appears as an airport official who walks the cast to the plane.
6. An Elephant Almost Ruined the Movie
The dress Kate Capshaw wore in the Shanghai nightclub scene was covered with rare vintage beads made in the '20s and '30s. The club scene was filmed last, but the dress also made an appearance during the camping scene, where an elephant began eating it! Since there were no extra beads to match, the costume department had to repair the dress as best as they could. The result was so tight that Capshaw had trouble moving in it when they filmed the nightclub scene. Costume designer Anthony Powell filled out insurance forms for the dress, citing the cause of the damage as "dress eaten by elephant". This was only the second movie for Capshaw, who has a masters degree in special education. Spielberg married Capshaw in 1991.
The Last Crusade (1989)
7. Even the Rats were Insured
The thousands of rats used in The Last Crusade were insured. The insurer wanted to know the minimum number of rats the scene could be shot with, and used the answer to write a policy with a "1,000 rat deductible." The cast was padded with another thousand mechanical rats. Their voices were enhanced with the sound effects of ....chicken voices!
8. Lucas' Dog was his Inspiration
At the end of the movie, Jones explains to his friend Sallah that his nickname Indiana came from his pet dog from long before. Sallah responds, "You were named after a dog?" and gets a great laugh out of it. But it's true. Indiana was the name of an Alaskan malamute George Lucas owned in the '70s. The same dog inspired the look of the Star Wars character Chewbacca. Jones' real first name is Henry, which is why his father Henry Jones, Sr. calls him Junior. The characters Willie and Short Round in The Temple of Doom were also named after other people's dogs.
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
9. The Sequel Almost Involved Mars
Nineteen years is a long time to come up with a new title for a movie, and many were posed before producers settled on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Fake titles that have been released over the years include Indiana Jones and the Staff of Moses, Indiana Jones and the Shores of Avalon, Indiana Jones and the Jade Princess,Indiana Jones and the Raiders of Time, and Indiana Jones and the Ravages of Time. Real script titles or ideas that were rejected were Indiana Jones and the Garden of Life, Indiana Jones and the Monkey King, Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men From Mars, and Indiana Jones and the Red Scare. Working titles for The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull have included Fourth Installment of the Indiana Jones Adventures, Indiana Jones 4, Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods, Raiders of the Lost Ark Sequel, and The Untitled Genre Project. It is clear that a lot of work went into the movie before they even knew what it would be about!
10. The Secret of the Film's Look
Great pains were taken to give the fourth movie the look and feel of the first three, despite the time gap. Steven Spielberg insisted on using stunt men instead of computer animation. Computer-generated effects are used only when absolutely necessary. The footage was shot on film instead of digital format. Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski painstakingly studied the first three movies in order to preserve the style of previous cinematographer Douglas Slocombe (who is now retired). The result looks, as George Lucas said, "like it was shot 3 years after the Last Crusade, you'd never know there was 20 years between shooting." Unlike a certain other George Lucas franchise we all know and love.
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Test your knowledge of the franchise with Stacy Conradt's Indiana Jones quiz.