Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by Spielberg

Cannes Film Fest 2008–The Creators on Why They Bring the Fourth Chapter of the Classic Now 

Why Now: Origins

Reportedly, it was Harrison Ford who was the driving force behind the new Indy film, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” asking Spielberg at the 1994 Oscar show, when Schindler's List” swept most of the awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Steven Spielberg recalls: “After Harrison asked me directly, 'When are we going to make another Indiana Jones movie I'm all ready,' I said I didn't know. You have to call George Lucas. So Harrison called George, and a week later, George called me and said, “Harrison is serious. He wants to do another picture. So in a way the development of this picture goes back to 1994.”

“Besides, I had been looking for action adventure, and that was one of the things I told George Lucas which was I really want to make a globe trotting movie like James Bond. So I had that on my sort of horizon. I just didn't quite have the carrier pigeon until George mentioned this idea about Indiana Jones.”

George Lucas: “It all really comes down to what I want to see, and 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' especially was one that I just–I just wanted to see the movie.”

Harrison Ford: “I never anticipate success in that order of magnitude that the first three films achieved. I was surprised by it, I was delighted by it, and I was quite happy to do each of them as they came–more than happy. I had a great, great time doing all three of those films.”

Spielberg: When I was done with “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” there was a reason that I invented the shot of Harrison riding a hose into the sunset because I thought that brought the curtain down on the trilogy, and then everywhere I went in this country and overseas I get asked the question, “Are you going to make another Indiana Jones Picture” And that was a question that was not only asked of me, but it was asked of Harrison, and I know it was asked of George, and all of us.

Ford: It was an ongoing dialogue about the potential, the possibility of doing another. I was happy to do another Indiana Jones film just because they're so much fun to do.

The Story and Screenplay

Spielberg says it took 14 years because they didn't have a good screenplay: “It took all that time before David Koepp came on board and wrote a screenplay that knocked my Indiana Jones hat off basically. But it had to be right.

Producer Lucas and director Spielberg did not see eye to eye about previous efforts, such as the one by Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption”). Spielberg recalls: “At one point, I thought George and I would never agree on the story. We are best friends and have been for 40 years, but we always argue. I was fine about never making another Indiana Jones movie, because I wasn't going to force a story down George's throat, and he wasn't going to force one down mine.”

“George didn't care for the Darabont script, while I did. But he was so strongly opposed to it that I basically said, 'Let's start over again.'”

1950s Setting

Producer Frank Marshall: “Having it in the 1950s was great. The nuclear age, the music, the fashions. just so many new things happening that it's a lot for us to play with.”

Spielberg: “It's a whole new era, almost a couple of decades have passed since we last saw Indy. Indy has grown up, and grown wiser, and probably grown a lot stronger too.”

Ford: Indiana Jones is back at Marshall College teaching archeology. He still pursues archeological adventures. He has this dual nature that he's always had–part academic, part adventure.

Marshall: There is a style that Steven puts out there, and it's Indiana Jones, and he is doing it again.

Spielberg: I think this is the quintessential family movie, and I think this is a kind of movie not just for the fans, but for people who don't follow the series but are about to witness perhaps for the first time what he's about to go through. And they're going to go along on the ride.

Recapturing the Magic

Spielberg: “I wasn't trying to improve on the Indiana Jones character. I was just trying to recapture the magic we were able to achieve in three movies in the 1980s. I was just trying to authentically re-animate the character, and that was done through the right combination of the correct writing, the correct tone, and Harrison Ford's singular contribution.”