One thing I continue to find fascinating about movies is the creative process that results in the final product projected onto cineplex screens. From a writer’s first germ of an idea to the completed movie, a story can take numerous twists and turns, growing off of a diet of suggestions and mandates from numerous sources.
Fans of the original Star Wars films may know how George Lucas worked through several, vastly different drafts of the screenplay for the first film before arriving at the storyline that we all know today. In fact, there is a rather good book by Laurent Bouzerea, Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays available at Amazon, charting the development of all three original Star Wars films that makes for some fascinating reading.
But what of Lucas’ other famous film series- Indiana Jones? What was the creative journey taken to bring the whip-wielding archaeologist to the big screen?
Well, we now have a look into that process, thanks to the blog Mystery Man On Film, who has pointed the way towards a posting of the transcript of a three day long story conference held by Lucas, director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan in which they solidify the storyline for Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
I have not read the full 120-plus pages, but the parts that I’ve skimmed through seem to show that perhaps Lucas had a stronger vision of what he wanted to do with this character than he initially did for Star Wars. With a few minor tweaks, Indiana Jones almost springs Athena-like from Lucas’ head. Through the course of the conference, we can see Lucas present the basic idea for the movie, with most of its major plot points already in place. Slowly over the course of the three days, Spielberg and Kasdan help Lucas file down the rough edges, polishing the idea for Kasdan to full flesh out in script format.
Like the Lost Ark itself, this is a great unearthed treasure for Raiders fans. While you may, like I do, have some criticisms of the films that Lucas has made more recently, there’s no denying that as read the transcript you are seeing a gifted filmmaker firing on all creative cylinders.