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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
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  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade



An early idea involved a ghost story, with children and a haunted house but it was soon dropped because it reminded Temple of Doom a lot. Another idea based on a quest for the Holy Grail was explored for a while but was soon abandoned, too. Spielberg didn't like the concept of a modern day quest for the Holy Grail because he had always associated it with Monty Python and he couldn't really relate it to any present day myth. "The Grail legend was interesting to me symbolically because it represented the search for one's self - but making a movie about that seemed too esoteric for this genre."

Even George Lucas, who had proposed the Holy Grail storyline, grappled with the problem of developing an action tale around what was essentially a mythological object. "The Ark of the Covenant was supposedly a real artifact," Lucas observed, "whereas the Holy Grail, or at least the story surrounding it, is more of a myth. The Grail was the cup that Christ drank from at the Last Supper and was then used to catch his blood and that was probably a real object. But the Arthur legend that came out of that was completely mythological. As a result, my initial ideas were very metaphysical and the Grail was difficult to define."

  The adaptation of a Chinese legend involving the Monkey King in Africa impressed Lucas so much as in early May 1985 he talked with scriptwriter Chris Columbus (left picture) and producer Robert Watts (middle). Lucas, with Frank Marshall (right) and Kathleen Kennedy even flew to Africa for location scouting. Columbus scriptwriting credits included

The Goonies, Young Sherlock Holmes and Gremlins, films that Spielberg had developed as producer. "What attracted me to doing Indiana Jones is that he may very well be the greatest American hero of the 20th century," stated Columbus. "To write this film is a bigger challenge than writing Sherlock Holmes. I'm going about it the same way I did Holmes. I'm determined to write the best Indiana Jones movie that anyone has ever seen. I've no idea what the story will be, but I know it certainly will be different than the last two." Unfortunately, the screenplay he wrote during that summer failed to please either Lucas or Spielberg. After several drafts, however, both Lucas and Spielberg decided it was not the story they wanted to tell. "Chris writes comedy brilliantly and his script was very humorous," Spielberg recalled. "It was upbeat and full of the same nostalgia that we tapped into in Raiders of the Lost Ark, so in that sense Chris was right on the money. But I don't think any of us wanted to go to Africa for four months and try to get Indy to ride a rhinoceros in a multi-vehicular chase, which was one of the sequences Chris had written. I felt too old to direct it, anyway." (Cick here to sownload the script Indiana Jones and the Monkey King)

By the time Columbus' script was placed on the shelf, Lucas had developed several new ideas, but not everything from the Monkey King was abandoned. To bring the Holy Grail myth down to earth a part of Columbus' script was taken over. Drinking from the authentic Grail would insure immortality, while a sip from the wrong one would age the partaker into dust. The Nazis again would be after the Grail. Though intrigued by these developments, Spielberg still pressed for more. Somewhere at this point a new idea was born: "Why don't we give Indy a father?" Coincidentally, Ford, Lucas and Spielberg had recently become fathers. "I did not want Indy on a headlong pursuit without a subplot that was almost stronger than the actual quest itself," said Spielberg. "So we came up with the father-son story because the Grail is symbolic of finding the truth in one's life - the truth we are always looking for, consciously or unconsciously. For me, that was represented by Indy and Henry meeting. In this context, the Grail made sense to me. They actually go after the Holy Grail, but their quest is also symbolic of their search for each other. Once ? could look upon the Grail twofold as a physical antiquity from religious history and as a symbolic metaphor for self-illumination, then it became interesting to me." The concept of introducing Indy's father would give a new dimension to the series and also provide the emotion missing from the second film.

After the basic parameters of the story were hammered out, Menno Meyjes, who had worked with Spielberg on The Color Purple, wrote the first draft, which Spielberg wasn't very fond of. Meyjes went off to get involved in another project and the two filmmakers started looking for a new scriptwriter.


Having previously worked with Steven Spielberg on "Inner Space" (produced by Spielberg), screenplay writer Jeffrey Boam enjoyed collaborating with Spielberg and Lucas by writing the screenplay of the third Indiana Jones movie. "George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have created a new genre out of a very old one," Boam says. "George has the mind of a writer and understands instantly when an idea is right or wrong and how it affects the plot. George and I would paint in broad strokes and Steven was great in coming up with how

to embellish them."

When Boam was brought in he expected a plot skeleton of some kind to layer story muscle and tissue upon. "George Lucas gave me nothing," was his remark of his early meeting. "I was given a laundry list of elements, we would meet Indy's father, Sallah and Brody would return, there would be a female character to cross swords with Indy and there would be an adventure. George told me what he wanted in the story and then said, 'Give me a story'."

Boam had some very definitive ideas and was quite vocal in how his story would differ from the preceding films: "For me, the first two movies just didn't have enough character. Indiana Jones has always been a great character, but he has always been this being presented full-blown with his fedora and bullwhip. I felt that, given the opportunity, I could bring and added dimension to the Indy character and basically get inside him and let the audience find out how Indiana Jones becomes Indiana Jones... By the time the film is over, Indiana Jones won't have too many secrets left."

Soon Boam found that things weren't as difficult as he thought. "George Lucas made a conscious decision to keep the Indiana Jones films similar. They're not that open-ended and I knew going into the project that I couldn't just do anything I think I managed it get some different things in, but I also know that George vetoed a lot of my ideas. The Indiana Jones movies use the cliffhanging serial as a role model. It's a unique formula but, bottom line, it's a formula that means the writer is faced with a confined structure and a series of expectations that need to be met. Fortunately for everybody involved, this formula is a highly entertaining one. The biggest challenge was making something as exciting as the first two Raiders films. Writing sequels is generally easier than starting from scratch. But when you've got these two enormously successful films in front of you that are considered classics, you don't want to be one to drop the ball. Giving the audience something new was the real challenge."

One of Boam's challenges was writing the film's opening sequence. Actually, he wrote several openings, but the consensus was that all of them were basically empty exercises. The big problem was that the teasers in the first two films always told something new about Indiana Jones, and what Boam discovered was that he had nothing new to say. Finally, Lucas came up with the idea of seeing Indiana Jones as a boy and working on an artifact that would carry over into the body of the film. "Nothing traumatic happens. The sequence doesn't reveal any terrible dark secrets in Indy's past. What we will see is that Indiana Jones, as a young teen, was always right on the verge of becoming the adult he ultimately became. What we show is that moment when he became Indiana Jones. All the elements, his style, his cloths, it all comes together in this sequence", explained Boam. "We find out many things about Indy's background. We learn the origin of the bullwhip, the leather jacket and the hat. We'll learn where the name Indiana Jones came from, where he grew up and what his parents were like. We also learn how he developed his fear of snakes." Spielberg didn't like the idea of young Indy at all because he had recently made Empire of the Sun, and after the reviews he received he didn't want to make any movie with kids in it. Finally, under the persuasion of Lucas he agreed.

One thing Spielberg definitely wanted was a three-part test at the end of the film that Indy had to pass in order to get to the Grail. "The nature of the individual tests was changed several times," explained Lucas. "Various ones were developed in the Menno Meyjes script. Then we took a bunch out and later put them back in. The three tests that are in the movie now, The Breath of God, The Word of God and The Path of God, were essentially Steven's ideas."


For the casting of the supportive characters many prospective performers were screen tested in London and their tapes were sent to Spielberg in LA.


  Initially, the part of Professor Jones was to be a crotchety, aristocratic type of English gentleman. The type of character one would envision being played by John Houseman. However, Steven Spielberg came up with a bold and inspiring idea. Since Indiana Jones was his answer to James Bond, why not have the man who created 007 onscreen play Indy's dad? The idea of getting Sean Connery for the role was met with skepticism by George Lucas, who feared that in the unlikely event Connery accepted the part, his presence would be far too formidable

to be accepted as a bookish, eccentric professor. Spielberg countered, "I figured Sean would give Harrison a run for his money... I couldn't imagine anyone with less screen power than Sean Connery to be the famous Indiana Jones's father. Ford takes up a lot of screen, and I didn't want Harrison diminishing any father in screen presence."

Having convined Lucas that approaching Connery was a worthwhile endeavor, the next hurdle was to convince the actor himself that the part was worth accepting. Spielberg admitted he felt the chances were slim of succeeding: "I didn't think Sean would want to play Indy's father. Obviously, Sean had his trademark on the James Bond movies, and we were a kind of James Bond movie ourselves." Spielberg's reservations were wellfounded, as Connery's problems with the Bond films were well-known. While they initially brought the struggling young Scottish born actor fame and fortune, he soon discovered that they also thrust him into a goldfish bowl of scrutiny by the press and public.

Would the popular but moody actor really consider starring in a film whose origins were so obviously inspired by the Bond films? To relief of all, the answer was a resounding yes. Provided that Connery could have considerable creative input into the character of Professor Jones. He explained his dissatisfaction with the role as originally written, which presented Professor Jones as a "Yoda-like", gnomish, wise old man: "It didn't add up in my book. I was after something a bit more Victorian and flamboyant, like one of the explorers Sir Richard Burton and Mungo Park, who went off to the hinterlands and were missing for months... That's what we got."

When Connery was offered the role he asked Spielberg in pure Hollywood fashion, "Is this Indiana Jones meets James Bond?" "No", said Spielberg, "It is Indiana Jones meets the strongest father alive!"

Conery made a number of suggestions which were readily accepted by the Indiana Jones filmmakers. When Jeffrey Boam was questioned as to wether it really was in character for Professor Jones to have slept with Indy's love interest, he replied, "No way... But Sean Connery would!"

Connery contributed to the script's rewriting making it more fun. "I always try to find the comedy in everything, because it's much more revealing, much more enjoyable and harder. There is something quite comedic and absurd about somebody sitting in that sidecar! What we really got down to in the Last Crusade was trying to find as many places as possible where they would have problems relating to each other, which always lends itself to the comedic elements. Right from the very beginning Henry calls Indy 'junior!'"

"Henry is a scholar and a serious archaeologist, whereas he thinks Indy is a bit of a rogue - even if he does give the artifacts he finds to the museum," Frank Marshall says. "It seems to Indy that he is never able to please his father and, besides, Indy has a lot to live up to."

Once Ford was announced that Sean Connery was considered for the role he was pleased, although, he had some reservations because Connery was only twelve years older than he was. Ford was an admirer of Connery's work. "When I got to be an actor, I could see that Sean was one of the good ones."

Since Connery signed for the role, Lucas presented to Paramount a budget of $ 44 million and a schedule same as before while less than 20% of the cost would be given to the actors. The studio bulked, at first, but finally they agreed.


  "These are two men who have never made an accommodation for each other," Harrison Ford declares. "In this film you see another side of Indiana's personality. He behaves differently in his father's presence. Who else would call Indy 'junior' - which is something that Indy hates?" Working with fairly basic tools, Indiana Jones has no gimmicks or gadgets - just his own intelligence, dexterity and wit as he travels to faraway places. Steven Spielberg describes Indy as "a real throwback movie hero: a lover and a cad and a two-fisted hellion. He doesn't

necessarily survive every cliffhanger unscathed."

"Indiana Jones is a romantic," Harrison Ford states. "He's also a cynic. The interplay between these two aspects of his character is what makes the role so interesting to play. His bravery, indomitability and selflessness in certain situations is what makes him attractive to audiences."

"Indiana Jones is an adventurer, but he has human frailties, fears, money problems. He teaches, but I wouldn't call him an intellectual. He does brave things, but I wouldn't call him a hero. He's just there with a bullwhip to keep the world at bay."

-Harrison Ford

  River Phoenix appears in the role of the young Indiana Jones. Phoenix had played opposite Harrison Ford in 1987's Mosquito Coast and was nominated for an Academy Award a year later for his performance in Running on Empty. He was the hottest young actor in Hollywood at the time and after many dramatic roles Phoenix wanted something light, more entertaining. The casting of Phoenix as young Indy was one of the production's best-kept secrets. The script never referred to the character by name; he was simply "Boy On Train".

Once word leaked Lucasfilm announced a fallback rumor that River Phoenix played Indy's younger brother. "Filming 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' I had the opportunity to do a few of my own stunts," Phoenix says. "It's exciting to see how a dramatic and dangerous situation unfolds - it's fun to witness it in a movie theatre and it's fun to make."



John Rhys-Davies would reprise his role from the first film as Sallah, the best digger in Europe. According to Rhys-Davies in the two years that followed Raiders Sallah has become more prosperous as "He has left digging behind and has a small antique business." Returning to familiar territory was a nice feeling for the actor, who had been cast in similar roles after Raiders' success and now he was returning to the real McCoy. "Sallah is sort of a bravura figure. I suspect my cinema life is destined to play these somewhat broader than-life characters.

But they're a lot of fun. It's a wonderful part galloping after a tank when you're on horseback and things like that," said Davies. Remembering his character's days since he was one of the Raiders of the Lost Ark Davies said, "He has gotten older and a little fatter. This time, we see him without the appurtenances of his wife and children. He's a little more resolute now, and he's more ready to have a physical go at the Germans himself. But other than that, he's still the same old Sallah." When asked about the way he sees the relationship between Sallah and Indy Davies noted, "It's one of those relationships that you know has evolved over a period of time and therefore is unquestioned. It starts off with the premise that we are friends, we will get into trouble, but somehow we will sort things out. I think the Indiana/Sallah relationship is very firm, very steady. The relationship between Sallah and Marcus Brody is slightly more protective. Sallah is trying to look after him because he's not awfully competent."



Also returning and with much more screen time was Denholm Elliott as curator of antiquities Marcus Brody. Elliot described his character as "a rather eccentric professor and reluctant adventurer who is always saying the wrong thing at the right time. He's Indiana's friend and boss at the university. When Indy gets involved in these escapades, Brody sometimes accompanies him and gets into all sorts of uncomfortable situations. I quite enjoyed doing the first Raiders. I didn't have much to do in it. But in the Last Crusade, Marcus was built up and made to

be a figure of fun. Basically, he had two left feet! He was totally out of place once he left his library. I did get quite a few laughs in the picture. I love comedy, life is too boring and sad without it. But Marcus is really the comedy relief of the film. He's such an old fool. In the midst of terrifying things, he does something so incredibly stupid. He's sort of the absent-minded professor. Marcus isn't as boring in the third film as he was in the first. He cared about Indy but he was much more serious in the first film. There were moments of seriousness in the Last Crusade when he was in his own territory but once he got out of it, he was like a duck out of water! And that was great fun to play!"



The Indiana Jones adventures are set in a period of high adventure and exotic romance. In "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," Indy encounters a woman very different from the characters portrayed by Karen Allen and Kate Capshaw in the first two movies.

In her first starring role in a motion picture, actress Alison Doody plays Dr. Elsa Schneider. "She's an art historian, a very strong-willed lady,"

Doody comments. "She is quite similar to Indy. Like him, she goes out and gets what she wants. In this case, she wants to find the Holy Grail."

Elsa Schneider was to be played by queenly blonde Irish unknown Alison Doody. Doody had grown up in Ireland and went to school at a convent. Finishing school she decided to enter the show business. Her credits included only some television commercial work and local theatrical credits when an Irish director recommended her to an acting agent in London. With the agent's argue she decided to go to London to pursue an acting career and she moved to London at the age 19. "I was quite na´ve and I didn't know one area of London from the next," she remembered laughing, "so of course I ended up living in a red light district. Every time I came out of the house, somebody would say 'How much, love?' After a while it became normal. If I came out and somebody didn't say 'How much, love?' then I worried whether I looked bad."

One day Doody received a phone call from her agent telling her that Spielberg was casting for his new film and that he wanted to meet her. Although she wanted the part, she thought she had a slight chance because she knew that Spielberg was looking for a 28-year old Austrian lady, and she was 24 and Irish. When they called her back she got quite excited and she started to think that Spielberg was really interested. When she went back to meet him again Spielberg gave her three scenes and asked her to come back two days later with an accent to tape her. She did so and a few weeks later she was contacted to hear that she had got the part. "The nicest moment for me was when I heard I had the part. I was just so delighted and happy. It was such a buzz, as you can imagine, to find out that you've got the part. I'm sitting there on my bed and I'm thinking, 'Oh God, I'm going to be working with Harrison Ford.' It was wonderful. It was a great feeling." Doody was very please with her character. "She's between the two. She's not a screamer; she's a very independent lady. They're actually trying to go more towards the first film again, so I think Elsa is like Karen Allen's character, but she's not as tomboyish as Karen Allen was. She's quite like Indiana Jones in the sense that she goes out and gets what she wants. I would say she is definitely stronger than the second character. She's quite a clever lady." While overwhelmed about her casting Doody remained down to earth, "I'm not an actress for the sake of becoming famous, but for the satisfaction of it. My parents always told me I should come home the minute I stop enjoying the business. But, there's all the adrenaline one could wish for. There are those who go to drama school and reap tremendous benefits, while others emerge after three years with nothing. I didn't have that opinion; instead, I'm going to the school of experience, and it's wonderful. I love it; I've been very lucky. When I started Crusade, Harrison Ford said to me, 'Just enjoy it all!' I look at it as an event more terrific than mere words can express, not one that guarantees me future work or will make me a superstar, but the chance of a lifetime."

Harrison showed a great deal of chemistry with actress Alison Doody. The two exuded a marvelous chemistry, with Doody's performance helping to make the unrepentant Elsa the most intriguing female character in the Indiana Jones trilogy. Doody recalled Ford's thoughtfulness on the set: "If there was a moment where I was tense or something, he would joke around, which is very nice because he was doing it to try and ease the tension. Working with Harrison was such a pleasure. He is a great man to work with; he helped me a great deal in my scenes. He would talk scenes through. And if I had a problem at all, he was always there and willing to try and sort it out and my life on the set was much easier."

One important sequence in which Ford's sense of humor played a pivotal role involved a sequence in which Indy and Elsa kis passionately. Doody was rather uncomfortable with the pure sexuality of the scene, so Ford tried to ease her tension by puckering his lips and make silly kissing noises off-camera, cooing all the while, "Alison, I'm ready!" Ford also advised her how to cope with the inevitable questions the British press would ask about what it was like to do a love scene with him. He told her, "Tell them that Harrison Ford is so famous he doesn't even use his own tongue!"



  For the role of colonel Vogel Robert Watts, the film's producer, suggested his London next-door neighbor Julian Glover. Glover except from his experience in big budget movies, like The Empire Strikes Back and For Your Eyes Only, had joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. Spielberg decided Glover had the right genial menace for Walter Donovan, American industrialist who employees the Joneses to find the Grail. Glover describes Walter

Donovan as "a rich industrialist with a passion for ancient artifacts. He's an extremely intelligent man who is prepared to sacrifice everything for his ultimate goal." The role of Vogel was given to Michael Byrne, with whom Ford had worked before in Force Ten from Navarone. In that film Byrne played a German General and Ford played the good American boy, again.


Kevork Malikyan impressed Spielberg with his performance in Midnight Express and was given the role of Kazim, member of a Brotherhood sworn to protect the grail. Actually, Malikyan might have played Sallah in Raiders had he not arrived an hour late for his interview with Spielberg because of a traffic jam. Comic Alexei Sayle played a pasha with a taste for vintage automobiles.



After locations for filming have been selected, recreating the '30s-era settings of an Indiana Jones movie begins with Steven Spielberg making storyboards of his visualization of the screenplay. Sketch artists create more detailed drawings from Spielberg's sketches, which production designer Elliot Scott refers to in developing the film's sets.

Scott's main objective with each setting was to devise the one that would best enhance the action of the scene: "The background to all the films is logical and realistic. We go to a great deal of trouble to make everything as real as we can, using such details as authentic Latin inscriptions on tablets."

The craftsmen collaborating with the art directors include carpenters, plasterers, scenic artists, and special effects artists.

Three-time Oscar winning costume designer Anthony Powell researches extensively for the apparel he creates, visiting museums and studying in his own research library, which he has been building for 30 years.

"What clothes go though on an action picture is phenomenal," Powell relates. "Every time Harrison falls down a ravine he will need a change of costume. There are also stunt men and doubles who have the same requirements. You need six of everything."

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