Michael Sheard hat in "Jäger des verlorenen Schatzes" den U-Boot Kommandanten und in "Indiana Jones und der letzte Kreuzzug" die Rolle von Adolf Hitler übernommen. Zudem war er auch in den Harrison Ford Filmen " Star Wars - Das Imperium schlägt zurück" und "Der wilde Haufe von Navarone" zu sehen. Das Interview habe ich in englisch geführt.
1. How did you get the parts in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and what do you think about your characters?
You've not read my books! 'Yes, Mr Bronson'; 'Yes, Admiral'; and 'Yes, School's Out!' (If this is going online I can't miss the opportunity to give them a plug can I) I never play a part that doesn't interest me. Indeed I'm about to play Hitler again in 'The Escape of Adolf Hitler'! This answer in fact partly answers your number two question as well. I'm a working actor with, though I says it as shouldn't, a very good reputation. I've done over 800 TVs and 45 movies. I've also played a lot of Germans. So when 'Raiders' was being cast, the casting director - who knew me and my work - phoned my agent and asked if I'd like to meet Steven. I met him at his hotel, he had a terrible cold, and he offered me the part.
2. A scene with you in Raiders of the Lost Ark was deleted. Why, and what exactly was it about?
It depends what you mean by deleted. The weather got in the way. We were filming the exteriors in the sea off La Rochelle and were due to go to Munich to continue the sequence - there's a large tank there capable of taking at least part of a U-Boat. But the weather got in the way and the schedule had to be changed. They went off to Tunisia and I went to Scotland to make a TV series which I'd already signed to do. So I could complete my part in 'Raiders'. Steven did say that he'd find me something else. And he did, in number three! It's all in my books - details of how to order them- signed -can be found on: www.michaelsheard.com!
3. Why do you think are the Indiana Jones movies so popular and successful?
Heavens, there are so many reasons! Great stories which caught the imagination of the public; great performances; good scripts; excellent direction; understanding and superb producer; those and many more. Plus that 'something' in the air (if you can tell me what it is I'll make us all millionaires), which determines that this (or these) movies will be hits.
4. Can you tell us something funny about the production? Did something go wrong and how was the mood on the set?
Funny? Well it certainly wasn't funny for me! But, standing for days, as I did, in the conning tower of a barge which has of course been made to look like a U-Boat but has no ballast, made me feel sick as a dog - sway one way, then the other, then back again. Everyone but me thought that was funny! We had a great time in La Rochelle and certainly on 'Raiders'. Read in my first book about the night Harrison and Sean had their costumes on above the waist but swimming trunks below. It was hot that night!
5. How would you compare the directing technique of Irvin Kershner, with whom you worked on The Empire Strikes Back, to that of Steven Spielberg?
Both different, but both excellent, and both very nice people. Steven loves creating and if something happens in rehearsal he'll use it. Come to think of it they're not that different! Irvin - who of course was George's teacher at film school - worked in the same way, allowing the actor to create as well. I did my death in 'Empire' in one take!
6. Did you meet George Lucas and how much involved was he on set on the Empire Strikes Back and also on the Indy films?
f course we all met him. He was totally involved on all the movies. And he was -quietly- on the set a lot of the time. Though I guess he had to spend some time away in his office!
7. What do you think about a fourth Indiana Jones movie and would you like to be in it again?
It'll be a huge success and if there's a part for an extremely talented actor like me I'll very gladly do it! That's a thought actually, I'll give Harrison a ring and see what's cooking.
8. You also played with Harrison Ford in Force Ten From Navarone. So you did four movies with him (Indy1+3, Star Wars 5). Did you develop a certain friendship or something like that and are you still in contact with him, or the others.
See above. Very nice guy - again, read my first book! He was going to write the foreword to it but he was filming in a jungle somewhere and couldn't be contacted when the time came. So I got my chum Roger Moore to do it instead.
9. You are well known for your part in The Empire Strikes Back. What do you think about the new Star Wars movies?
I did yet another TV interview yesterday (I love 'em) because I'm well known for lots of things! And I do many Sci-Fi conventions - 'Star Wars', 'Dr Who', 'Star Trek', 'Blake's 7', 'Space 1999' etc (I love them, too). I think all these films and TVs are tremendous entertainment. Long may they continue. Yes, the new 'Star Wars' movies as well. For whatever is said about them, the children love them and they keep the flame alive and I get invited to more conventions! Now, to learn much more, read my books! See you all at a convention and if there isn't one near you start your own - I'll get you the guests!
Max MacCoy ist Schriftsteller und verantwortlich für 4 Indiana Jones Romane.
Indiana Jones und der Stein der Weisen
Indiana Jones und die Brut des Sauriers
Indiana Jones und das Geheimnis von Thule
Indiana Jones und das Geheimnis der Sphinx
1. Although you give some details on your web site I should like to know: Has it always been your dream to become an author or how did it happen that you have become one?
I knew since I was in grade school that I would be a writer. Don't ask me how, I just knew, and by the time I was in junior high I was writing stories that featured my friends. That's what I did instead of doing my homework. I was a lousy student, and in high school my guidance counselor suggested I "give up these pipe dreams" of being a writer. Well, I didn't, and after getting a job at a local newspaper (where I learned that your stories are only as good as the questions you ask), I began freelancing stories to magazines under the pseudonym "Rheuben Buckner." Later, I met Greg Tobin, a Doubleday editor,at the first writing workshop I ever went to. That lead to THE SIXTH RIDER, which was published in 1991 and won (ironically, it would seem) the Medicine Pipe Bearer's Award from the Western Writers of America.
2. I read that you had been offered to write the Indiana Jones books. What was your trigger / motivation to accept the offer?
Another editor at Bantam, Tom Dupree, suggested that I try my hand at the Indy books because he liked the way I handled action. So, I wrote a sample that became the opening chapter of PHILOSOPHER's STONE. I remembered seeing RAIDERS at a drive-in movie in Joplin, Mo., when it first came out. I had no idea what this movie with the odd-sounding name was about, but I was hooked (like everyone else) in the first five minutes. I remember sitting there thinking how wonderful it was that somebody actually got paid to write this stuff. Little did I know that Lucasfilm, through Bantam, would eventually ask me. And, I got to come up with my own plots for my four Indy books--that was important.
3. What about licensing? Have you ever had contact to George Lucas or other officials of Lucas Film? Were there any conditions concerning the story?
The novels were licensed by Lucasfilm. While George Lucas approved the final manuscripts, I dealt regularly with Lucy Autry Wilson, one of his longest-tenured and most trusted associates. And, I dealt with a number of continuity people. I didn't like some of the limitations I had on the stories--there were always struggles when Indy was depicted drinking, for example (even though Indy drinks in the movies), when things got sexual, or when things became "politically incorrect." So, that was a hassle. I don't think the Lucasfilm folks ever decided whether the Indy novels were for adults, or children, or what. But, I always believed I was writing hard fantasy for adults (that's my term. At least I think it's my term, since I don't recall anyone else using it. Hard fantasy is to fantasy what hard science fiction is to sf). I was thrilled to take over following Martin Caidin (CYBORG, etc),who was always one of my favorite authors, but I wanted to take Indy in a different direction--or at least return to the noirish Indy of the RAIDERS. Things became more restrictrive as the books progressed, however, and I have to shoulder my share of the blame. I blew deadlines. I had personal problems. So, in the end, I can only blame myself for failing to execute my original vision for Indy. There is some of it there, it shines in places, but it wasn't all that I wanted. And, I can only thank Lucasfilm for giving me the chance to play in Indy's universe for a spell.
4. Where do you get the ideas for the adventure novels from and is there anything personal of your life in the books? What is the importance of the historical background in this connection.
Where don't you get ideas? Anbody who pays attention to the world, or who reads history or mythology, cannot help but be struck by the rich source of story material that surrounds us everyday. So, the problem is picking the right material. And yes, there is much that is personal in all of my books, but I will leave it to readers to determine for themselves which are those parts. Historical background is always important, and especially so in hard fantasy. The hook--in Indy's case, it must be a bona fide historical mystery--is important.
5. How much time does it take to write such a novel and what is your working procedure?
I've written a novel in as little as six weeks, or as long as several years. I have no standard working procedure, as every title is different. Mostly, however, I work late at night.
6. How would you react if you were asked to write the film script for an Indiana Jones film? Or if they wanted you to provide the ideas?
It would be a great compliment. Then, after someone picked me up off the floor and I returned to conciousness, I would try my best to come up with the best script possible. Actually, I just optioned one of my original screenplays, a thriller called THE MOON POOL. Of course, scripts get optioned all the time, but I think this has a good shot at getting made. I do have a few ideas for Indy scripts, but no, I won't discuss them, because people get so crazy about Indy movie ideas. Besides, there's no point in dicussing them with anybody other than Lucas. And, I'm thinking about take one of the premises and giving it to one of my own characters.
7. In how many languages have your novels been published and what is the number of copies printed?
Three languages that I know of--English, German, and Japanese. I have no idea as to the number of copies, because I don't get royalties on those foreign language editions. If I knew, it would probably make me cry. But, I'm glad readers in Japan and Germany have access to them.
8. Do you actually know the other Indy authors, such as Wolfgang Hohlbein, Rob McGregor, etc.?
I certainly know of them, and Rob McGregor lives in Missouri, my neighboring state (I'm in Kansas, dammit. I have a love-hate relationship with Kansas. Currently, I hate it.) Everything I have heard about Rob indicates that he is a nice guy and a talented writer. Obviously, Rob and I have different takes on the Indy character, but there wouldn't have been Indy novels without Rob. So, hats off to Rob. I can't read German, so I don't know how Wolfgang has handled Indy. I took a German class in college once, and came to agree with Mark Twain about how hard it is to learn it. But, I'd like to read a translation, if any are available.
9. Is another Indiana Jones novel being planned? Now that it is almost official that there will be another Indiana Jones film the time would be favourable, wouldn't it?
I have no idea. You'd have to ask Lucasfilm, or whatever publishing company currenly has the license. Personally, if there is another Indy movie, I'd like to see the original team. Not just Lucas and Spielberg, but also Lawrence Kasdan as screenwriter. And, pray they don't set it after WWII. The time period is as much a part of Indy's character as his whip and fedora.
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