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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
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  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom


After the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark George Lucas decided to continue his vision for the recreation of the adventure serials of the past. Following the course of The Empire Strikes Back, the second installment in his Star Wars saga, this would be a journey to the dark side.

STEVEN SPIELBERG Director: "I loved the experience of filming Raiders. I don't know if it was the good fortune I enjoyed on this particular adventure, but I'm anxious to work again overseas. I'm definitely going to direct the sequel to Raiders. I had such a good time making the first one that I would hate to let the second one slip through my fingers into somebody else's hands. I'll certainly not be involved in the third or fourth one, but I really want to do the follow up, because the new story is even more spectacular than Raiders of the Lost Ark".

With Lawrence Kasdan unavailable, since he had begun a career as director, making his first feature film Body Heat, Lucas approached his American Graffiti co-writers, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck in February 1982. He invited the couple and Spielberg at his ranch for their first meeting that lasted four days. In the first hour Lucas described what he had in mind. The title was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death and the story would start in Shanghai, a year before Raiders and their lost Ark quest.

Spielberg thought the title was too gloomy and proposed the word doom instead of death, which Lucas accepted. For this second film they decided to go to the opposite direction Raiders took, so appearances from Sallah and Marcus Brody were dismissed.

STEVE SPIELBERG Director: "The danger in making a sequel is that you can never satisfy everyone. If you give people the same movie with different scenes, they say 'Why weren't you more original?' But if you give them the same character in another fantastic adventure, but with a different tone, you risk disappointing the other half of the audience who just wanted a carbon copy of the first film with a different girl and a different bad guy. So you win and you lose both ways."

HARRISON FORD Actor: "Of course I'm doing the second Raiders film. With great pleasure. Steven Spielberg is going to direct it. So this is very exciting for me. It was one of the best working relationship experiences of my life working with Steven."

Since Lucas wanted this film to be really scary, the villains had to be nothing like the Nazis or the suave Belloq of Raiders, so the writers adopted the villains of George Steven's 1939 version of the Rudyard Kipling poem Gunga Din, the Thugs. They were a sub-group among devotees of Kali, the goddess of Death, and they practiced ritual strangling - Thuggee - as a form of worship. Silent and anonymous traveling the roads of India, murdering travelers and burring them with their ritual pickaxes; the Thugs kept their sect and practices secret for centuries. Renaming them "Thuggees" or, in some versions, "Thuggies", and marring them with other cultural customs like Aztec cardiectomy, Hawaiian volcano sacrifice and European devil worship, Huyck and Katz came up with what they thought would be the ultimate villains.

While the villains of the film got more and more dark Indy's character was coming more and more light. This time around Indy's motivation would not be for the sake of archaeology nor for the artifacts themselves but for the freedom of enslaved children. This time Indy would show that he's not just a fortune hunter going after lost artifacts but a more kind person who cares for others.



Many of the sequences that were dropped during the making of Raiders proved to be valuable for the development of the new script. Originally Lawrence Kasdan had the headpiece of the staff of Ra broken up in two pieces the one obtained by Marion and the other by General Hok, an evil Chinese warlord settled in Shanghai. Leaving the United States Indy would travel to Shanghai and break into Hok's fortress. There he would face two imposing Samurais. By shooting one of them and strangling the other Indy would manage to remain undetected. With one of the fallen Samurai's sword he would break the glass cabinet containing the artifact and set off an alarm system part of which is a ten-diameter gong. General Hok would enter the place wielding a machine gun and begin firing indiscriminately. Indy would manage to unhook the gong and roll it across the hall using it as a shield. The sheer weight of the gong would crack the marble flooring offering Indy an escape. This scene, showing a more dark character of Indiana Jones, was cut from script due to cost saving. The new film begins with Indiana Jones meeting singer Willie Scott during his negotiations with the Chinese mafia in a pre-war Chinese nightclub called The Dragon. Continuing the in-jokes tradition that Raiders found, the nightclub's name was soon changed into Obi Wan. Alec Guinness' character from Star Wars. This scene was also the fulfillment of George Lucas' past wish to present a tuxedo wearing Indiana Jones.


Another scene that didn't make it from the Raiders script was Indy's flight to Nepal. On leaving Shanghai Indy would take a DC-3 to Nepal to find Marion. On board there would be the usual complement of passengers: a few tourists, a little old lady, and some Asians en route home. But it would be all an elaborate trap and while Indy sleeps everyone onboard would grab every available parachute and jump out of the airplane. Indy would wake and discover the cockpit locked and the plane on a collision course with a mountain. Pulling out a rubber life raft, he would wrap it around his body, leap from the plane, pull the inflate cord in midair and land safely on the snowy Himalayan peaks. Using the raft as a sled Indy would ride down the slopes all the way to Marion's bar. The scene was incorporated in Indy II following Indiana's escape from Shanghai and was modified in mid-production at Spielberg's request, transforming the script's passenger plane into a cargo craft and adding a clutch of chickens to the payload.


A third scene cut from Raiders was in the film's climax. After Belloq's death Indy and Marion load the Ark on a mine car and try to find a way out, as the whole place is set ablaze. What follows is a wild chase in the dark mine tunnels as they are pursued by a group of Nazis. The race between the cars seems unfair since our heroes' car does not work properly. In the nick of time the car's throttle works and it accelerates its speed rapidly, leaving the Nazis engulfed by flames. Reaching the rail's end the couple finds a small Nazi transport launch carefully disguised as a Greek fishing boat. In the next shot the boat is chugging out to sea as the island rumbles and shakes. For this new film the concept of the mine car was considered first as a small scene only to become one of the film's greatest set pieces.




More than 1000 actresses, including East Coast soap opera stars and one Noxzema girl auditioned for the role of Willie Scott. Among the totally unknown actresses auditioning for the role was one named Sharon Stone. Although she was among the top three choices she didn't take the part; instead, she went on to co-star in the remake of King Solomon's Mines, opposite Richard Chamberlain, in a role similar to the one she lost. Finally, Spielberg chose a green-eyed Texan girl called Kate Capshaw after viewing her videotaped test.


Finding a child actor to play Indy's 10-year-old sidekick proved much harder than finding the female partner for the daring archaeologist. Spielberg asked casting director Mike Fenton to arrange open calls in several major cities, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Toronto, Chicago, Montreal, Hong Kong and London. Open call means that anybody, professional or complete amateur, can walk in off the street and be interviewed on videotape. In total they held something like eight open calls and looked at almost six thousand young boys. On a Saturday morning of February 1983 while Spielberg was visiting LA's Chinatown schools he discovered a little Vietnamese boy called Ke Huy Quan. Quan was born in Saigon and his father ran a plastics business. In 1976 Quan, with his parents, six sisters and two brothers fled Vietnam as one of the "boat people", as the press called them. The Quan family seeked refuge in Hong Kong and stayed there until they were accepted by the U.S. Government for resettlement, in 1980. Due to his lack of film background Quan treated the whole process of auditioning like a game. Even when he was asked to screen test opposite Harrison Ford. "He wasn't intimidated by the fact that Lucas, Spielberg and Ford were in the same room with him", relates Watts. And that was true, since he had never seen Raiders he was unfamiliar with the character of Indiana Jones and the men who created him. "I had heard of Han Solo before but I didn't know his real name was Harrison Ford," replied innocently the young actor.


For the role of Mola Ram, the arch-villain, they searched through England and the United States to find someone to play the part-both Lucas and Spielberg were most anxious that they did not cast the principal Indian roles with Western actors darkened down. They wanted real Indians. They couldn't find anybody amongst the resident Indian actors in the United States, and so they got a permit for Amrish Puri, one of India's top actors, to go and do the film. Puri was working on 18 films in India simultaneously at the time of his casting. "This was something I had never before come up against," commented Watts. "The Indian film industry operates in a manner that would drive me stark raving mad. The actors work sometimes two or even three shifts a day, four-hour shift. And they may work on two or three different films; they'll be in one in the morning and another in the afternoon. In the end, we had four different visits from Amrish (one in Sri Lanka, three in London). He had to juggle around all his Indian commitments to do this movie. It wasn't easy."


Veteran Indian actor Rosan Seth was given the role of oily prime minister of the Pankot Palace, while David Yip, known in Britain by the TV series The Chinese Detective, would play Wu Han, an ill-fated ally of Indy in the opening night club scene.


ROBERT WATTS Producer: We had our first draft screenplay in September of 1982. The story, of course, is by George Lucas and the screenplay by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz. I brought in Elliot Scott as Production Designer from England and after Steven Spielberg had approved that choice we began to turn our thoughts to locations. I still remember when we looked at the script in the early days and we all said: "How the hell are we going to do all this?" We always feel that way about each new movie. But somehow or other we do it. It gets done. Don't ask me how!"

ELLIOT SCOTT Production Designer: "Robert (Watts) and I set off, first for Hong Kong and Macau. We were looking for a location to resemble China in the Thirties. That's a very difficult thing to find. Hong Kong is just covered in skyscrapers and concrete, so we ended up in Macau. We examined it very carefully and worked out how we could adapt this street or build around that, or blind off obstructions to shoot various scenes later. I have the easier job, taking photographs, slides and notes for reference later. Robert's task is obtaining all the permissions and permits while I'm just keeping my eyes and ears open searching for the right spot . . . "

ROBERT WATTS Producer: "After Macau, I went with Scotty to India where we travelled very extensively looking for possible locations. We covered a lot of ground - India is a big country - and we found most everything we wanted except a gorge to string the rope bridge across. But the locations were widely spread apart and I was concerned about the rivers which had to be clean enough to allow the actors to swim in them for some scenes. I collected water samples out of each area and sent them back to England for analysis.

"It was always in the back of my mind to shoot part of the movie in Sri Lanka. Other movies, including Bo Derek in Tarzan, had been shot there and I knew that the rivers were probably cleaner. We travelled from India to Sri Lanka and were pleasantly surprised. I had been concerned that as a location it might prove to be too lush, but virtually every kind of location we needed was there with the single exception of a suitable maharajah's palace. So our original assessment from this trip was that we would spend three days shooting at the palace in Jaipoor, India and then proceed from there to Sri Lanka to shoot everything else. But it didn't work out that way in the end. . . "

FRANK MARSHALL Executive Producer: "There were problems with the Indian Government. They began putting restrictions on what we could do and these eventually became creative restrictions. They wanted to change the script and wanted approval of the movie once it was finished. So we ended up abandoning the idea of shooting in India and opted to create the exterior of the palace at ILM (the Lucasfilm special effects "factory") with Mike Pangrazio and Chris Evans, ILM's special effects matte artists, painting those scenes."



DOUGLAS SLOCOMBE Director of Photography: "The wonderful thing about working with Steven (Spielberg) is that he plans everything very, very carefully in advance. He starts off by doing rough sketches, little drawings of the visuals which are eventually finalized by professional artists. These give one an initial plan of the picture and six or seven times out of ten what ends up on the screen came from those sketches.

"Of course, he adapts certain shots on the day, but the important thing is that everyone has had a pretty good idea weeks and months in advance of what he intends to portray. This helps one enormously in planning what equipment will be needed and what conditions one is likely to encounter."

ELLIOT SCOTT Production Designer: "I've never worked with a Director like Steven Spielberg before. He plans and plans and plans. He's not a hard man at all, in fact he's rather pleasant, but his sheer enthusiasm just carries you forward. He uses sketches to map out virtually the entire film, forcing himself to consider all the options at the drawing board stage. These are very rough sketches visually, but there's a lot of depth in them, a lot of information.

"He would have sketch artists adapt his roughs and send them over to me saying: "This is the way I want the action to go. " Then I would try to adapt the sequence to fit the set. Prior to that I would have shown him a model of the set so he knows in general where things are, but using these action sketches he would find that he needed, say, another camera or another doorway or another this or that. He would ask us to adapt the plans of the set, make something longer, shorter. . . all at the drawing board stage, which saves considerable amounts of money in the long run and allows everyone involved to know where they are going."

ANTHONY POWELL Costume Designer: "Take Harrison Ford's costume for Indiana Jones. We couldn't use the original costumes (from Raiders of the Lost Ark) because they had been virtually destroyed. To the public, Indy wears an old shirt and an old pair of pants - but they don't realize how much is involved and how expensive it all is. For a start, you need six of everything because what clothes have to go through on an action picture is phenomenal. Every time Harrison falls down a ravine or jumps in a river, he will need a change of costume. There are also stunt men and doubles who have the same requirements. On this movie alone, we needed about thirty shirts for Harrison, and it doesn't show on the screen at all.

"Continuity is another problem. Films aren't shot from the beginning to the end. Quite often, shooting starts at the end of the script and works backwards. This poses special problems on clothing. By the end of the movie, Harrison's costume has to look like he's crawled through jungles, fallen down mines and fought his way to hell and back. Now to make clothes look as if they're in that condition and as if someone has been wearing them for ten years involves much more than just designing, say, a grand ballgown. The cost of aging clothes artificially can be much more than the cost of making them in the first place. There are a million tricks of the trade involved: staining, bleaching, washing, dyeing, sandpapering. It's very hard work!

"There is a great deal of research involved in costume design. I visit museums and have spent 25 years building my own research library. Even for a movie which isn't strictly based on reality, like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, it's always worthwhile doing careful research beforehand. Truth really can be stranger than fiction. For example, while researching pre-war China for the scenes shot in Macau, Elliot Scott, the Production Designer, showed me a Cartier Bresson book of photographs from 1937. I spotted a photograph of a little Chinese boy wearing baseball shoes and immediately thought of Short Round. Steven (Spielberg) loved it and said: 'Let's give him an American baseball cap which he's gotten from one of the tourists. ' And that's exactly what we did.


"In the Bresson book I also found photographs of Chinese and European refugees at an airport. Now there's an airport scene at the beginning of the movie. The real life refugees were dressed in ways one could never invent. Priests wearing pith helmets and carrying tennis rackets. Chinese people wearing absolutely conventional European suits but with the most bizarre Chinese hats on their heads. Again, I showed them to Steven and we ended up putting a huge crowd of missionaries into the airport scene. If you look carefully at those missionaries, you'll see they are played by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Sid Ganis (our publicity man for Lucasfilm) and myself and others working on the movie.

"I like to make my original costume drawings not too specific. As long as the drawing gives the director and actor an idea of what they're going to get, that's sufficient. The real work comes in the fitting room. It seems to me that unlike theater, where an actor can transform himself and be totally convincing, cinema is a different medium. The camera sees through artifice. The most interesting and successful screen actors have been those who have traded on their own personalities, presenting different aspects of themselves in various movies. What I feel I have to do is take what is actually there in an actor, not just physically but in the quality of personality, and take the character in the script as it's written and bring these two together halfway. One may have worked something out very carefully on paper, but the important moment is in the fitting room. Clothes have to look absolutely right for that person. You have to strive for something that looks inevitable, that looks as if it has been airbrushed on the person. All of that happens in the fitting room, not in preliminary drawings."


PATRICIA CARR Production Manager: "We had to ship a complete shooting units with all its equipment, to Sri Lanka. There's nothing available on the island itself, of course, in the way of technical equipment. In addition to Sri Lanka we had a second unit in Hong Kong and Macau, so there were certain items that went from London to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Macau, Macau back to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka back to London or over to California. I have a shipping file about the size of three London telephone directories!

"It's an exercise in logistics moving so much equipment, from props to construction materials, costumes, cameras, sound equipment, walkie-talkies, food, catering trucks, mobile generators, arc and "brute" lamps. the list is endless. Steven Spielberg once said to me when he saw one of my movement orders, 'It's like moving an army!' I told him, 'That's exactly the way you have to look at it.' "

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