4.1 SCRIPT CONFERENCES
Lawrence Kasdan (Screenwriter): I had an original screenplay
called Continental Divide and one of the people who
was in on the bidding for it was Steven. And when he
first read it, he told my agent, "I'm doing a movie
with George Lucas and I think this guy would be great
to write it. Would it be all right if I showed George
Continental Divide?" And we of course agreed. Then I
came in and met George, he had read the script and liked
it and that first meeting, George hired me to write
Frank Marshall (Producer): It was over at Universal
Studios. I came in and met George, and Steven came in
about a half an hour later and then Larry Kasdan came
in none of us had ever met Larry, except for Steven
and we all shook hands right there. Larry was going
to write Raiders, I was going to produce it and Steven
was going to direct it. It all happened so fast.
Lawrence Kasdan: George and Steven and I sat for a
week of meetings about the story, really outlined the
thing into a tape recorder. It was a constant process
of an idea coming out and another person saying, yah,
that's pretty good but it doesn't quite fit. Let's try
this. And the third person saying, how about this for
a capper? We wound up with about a hundred- page transcript
of the story outline. I left those meetings feeling
I was in pretty good shape and then realized, Uh-oh,
this is gonna be hard.
Steven Spielberg (Director): Larry didn't stick with
our story outline a hundred per cent. A lot of this
movie is on Larry's own original ideas, his own characters.
George provided the initial vision, the story and the
structure of the movie. Then George and I together provided
key scenes throughout the film. And Larry essentially
did all the characters and tied the story together,
made the story work from just a bare outline, and gave
it color and some direction.
Lawrence Kasdan: I made up all the names except Indiana,
he's named after George's dog. The names I used are
significant in that they're romantic in certain ways,
or evocative of certain kinds of characters. Marion
I thought that was a pretty name, it was my wife's grandmother's
name. Ravenwood I was talking about the movie with my
wife as we drove up Beverly Glen and there's a street
there called Ravenwood Court. I wanted the names to
be romantic and old-timey.
The reason, I think, that George and Steven and I worked
well together is that we share a lot of likes about
movies, a certain love for the kinds of things that
can only happen in movies. And Raiders is very much
about things that can only happen in movies.
Steven Spielberg: The movie works only if the script
works. You can do anything to a movie you can change
dialogue, you can change the feelings the characters
have about each other but if the story and the basics
of the script don't work, the movie doesn't work. If
you have a very very good movie, then most of the reason
is that the script was excellent.
The Raiders of the Lost Ark script
went through five revisions before the final story emerged
in April 1980. And there were still more changes made
as the actual filming of the movie demanded practical
revisions of the story
Steven Spielberg (Director): It's the hardest cement
wall for a director to break through: finding out in
15 minutes who an actor is or even a sneak preview of
his personality. So we decided to have all the casting
sessions in the kitchen at Lucasfilm. It disarmed everyone:
actors who were normally shy came out of themselves.
All the actors who came in from nine to one helped cook;
and all the actors who came in from two to seven helped
eat. Everything was baked from scratch, from Charlotte
au chocolat to homemade pumpkin bread. The word spread
Army Archerd and a few of the other columnists were
carrying the story in the papers, so the actors were
calling their agents saying, "I only want to come after
two" Everybody wanted to eat; nobody wanted to work.
We were looking for a leading man for
over six months. We wanted an unknown originally a total
unknown. Conceitedly, George and I wanted to make a
star of Johnny the construction worker from Malibu.
We couldn't find a construction worker in Malibu, so
we began looking at more substantial people in the film
industry. We were stuck; we had three weeks left to
cast the part of Indiana Jones, and there was nobody
close. Then I saw The Empire Strikes Back and I said
Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones. I called George Lucas
and said, "He's right under our noses" George said,"I
know who you're going to say." I said, "Who?" and he
said "Harrison Ford" "Right" "Let's get him,' he said.
And we did.
Karen was the most professional actress
to come into our readings. She was polished, and she
came prepared. After that, we just kept saying, "Not
as good as Karen"
Harrison Ford was the only person George
and I saw playing Indiana Jones. He is a remarkable
combination of Errol Flynn from The Adventures of Don
Juan and Humphrey Bogart as Fred C. Dobbs in The Treasure
of Sierra Madre. He can be villainous and romantic all
4.3 ART AND DESIGN
Artists and designers are essential to the making
of any film. They translate the ideas and imagination
of the filmmaker to the film crew and ultimately to
the audience. In Raiders of the Lost Ark director Steven
Spielberg did a rough sketch of each shot. Artists took
these drawings and, using their own imaginations, turned
the drawings into storyboards - polished illustrations
that visually present the action of the script. Other
artists worked on production paintings and costume sketches
that helped guide the search for locations, direct the
building of sets, and determine what props and other
elements were needed to make the movie.
Steven Spielberg (Director): I did all
the rough sketches myself. I just began at the beginning
of the script and worked my way to the end. I had three
artists working with me. I had Ed Verreaux, Dave Negron,
and Roy Carnon, and I had Michael Lloyd who did 20-inch
oil paintings for us. I would always sketch the composition
and the action with my stick figures. And then I'd turn
that over to the artists and we'd talk about it. I'd
say, "Now, this is a man" And he would often say, "I
thought that was the wall" I'd say, "No, that's a man,
and that's a car" And he would say, "I thought that
was a dog" And I would say, "No, it's not an animal.
It's a car" I would interpret my own crude renderings,
and they would carry them a step further and complete
the continuity. Usually the continuity was completed
in black and white. Ed Verreaux occasionally did it
in color pencil, so we had a little more depth in the
different sketches. And then I'd put those together
in a shooting continuity; and that became the arrangement
of scenes. The order was dictated by the location and
by the shooting schedule.
I never did my homework for arithmetic
or biology in school. But I love doing the homework
for movies. I really love to stay up late at night with
the little desk light hot and the rest of the lights
in the room off, drawing sketches, and planning this
and that, and thinking about how the characters should
say the dialogue they have to say. I imagine the movie
over and over again and then take those scenes to the
set and try to get the actors to imagine them as I did.
That's the trick; and that takes being very well prepared.
And, of course, there are days I'm not prepared at all.
And sometimes I've done the best scene in the movie
when I just made it up as I went along. Sometimes the
spontaneity is better than pacing in my office at midnight,
trying to make plans.
4.4 LOCATION HUNT
Robert Watts (Associate Producer): Norman Reynolds
(Production Designer), Bill Welsh (Construction Manager)
and I left London for New York on a Saturday with tickets
to take us either to Puerto Rico or to Honolulu. Frank
Marshall was to ring me at my hotel from Puerto Rico
at a prearranged time to say "Tomorrow morning come
to Puerto Rico" or "Go to Honolulu" so at 6 p.m. Frank
called, and instead of saying, "Come to Puerto Rico,
' or "Go to Honolulu, ' he said, "We're going to Mexico"
Early Sunday morning at Kennedy Airport we met Frank,
who came in from Puerto Rico, and we all jumped on a
flight to Mexico City. In Mexico City we got ourselves
on the first flight that we could get to a place called
Villa Hermosa, down toward the Guatemala border, where
we spent the night. At the crack of dawn the next morning
we set off in two rented cars for a place called Palenque,
to look at an existing jungle temple for the South America
sequence. My car had a faulty gas gauge, so I ran out
of gas. Frank managed to find some. When we got to Palenque,
we had two breakfasts because we were so hungry, and
then went up to the ruins. In one hour we realized it
was not for us, because it was far too manicured and
we would have had enormous work to put it back to a
state that looked like nobody had found it before.
By the way, we hadn't been able to call
the States and tell them where we were, because the
phones didn't work down in Villa Hermosa, so we were
desperately trying to phone. We got back to Mexico City
where we would get the next flight out to L.A. We had
left London early Saturday, it was now Monday. We got
to L.A. at 5 a.m. Tuesday and had two hours sleep, then
took a flight to Honolulu and then on to Lihue, Kauai,
where we arrived just after lunch. On Wednesday Doug
Slocombe (Director of Photography) arrived, and we checked
locations on Kauai. Thursday morning we flew from Lihue
to Honolulu, spent most of the day there doing business
about the construction that was required. We then took
a night flight out from Honolulu, which got us into
L.A. again at about 5 o'clock in the morning. This was
Friday now. We had a meeting with Steven on Friday afternoon
and we then booked a flight back to London Friday evening.
So we were back in London Saturday morning; that was
a week after we left. We'd spent three nights on airplanes.
When I heard that this picture was set
in Egypt, I asked three questions: do we see the Sphinx,
do we see the Pyramids, do we see the Nile? And when
the answer was no, I said, "Well, then, we don't have
to go to Egypt."
We used one of the Tunisian locations
we had used on Star Wars the canyon -but basically we
were looking for quite different locations. We required
Arab streets; we required an archaeological dig site,
as well as mountain roads for a mountain road chase
which we then changed to an oasis chase.