Well, the fever’s running high – have you caught it? The trailer’s out, and we all know this is probably the last of Indiana Jones, the intrepid, dashing anti-hero we all love. Here’s some recent scoops:
From CNN.com Entertainment, updated 8:49 a.m. EST, Mon March 3, 2008
‘Indiana Jones’ trailer a hit — everywhere
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — Times sure have changed in the 19 years since Harrison Ford last donned the signature fedora of thrill-seeking archaeologist Indiana Jones. The viral spread of the trailer for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is proof of that.
Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf star in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
The trailer for the May 22 release has drawn highly enthusiastic responses in theaters. But it may have had its biggest impact online, on a younger audience that may not think of Ford, 65, as equal to today’s spry action heroes.
After premiering February 14 on “Good Morning America,” Lucasfilm and Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures sent the trailer to the Web, plus movie theaters and TV stations around the world. Paramount estimates the trailer was seen more than 200 million times worldwide in the first week alone.
Harry Knowles, who runs the movie fan site AintItCool.com (his official title is Head Geek), says he first saw a bootleg version of the trailer online, then the official version online, and then saw it twice in theaters. Watch the whip-cracking trailer here »
There were cheers in the theater when the familiar theme song kicked in, Knowles said, and comments on his Web site have been positive. “People generally really, really loved the trailer,” he said. “Some people think it’s a little more cartoonish-looking compared to the prior (films), with him whipping the lights and swinging on them and stuff. But at the same time, it seems that everyone is extremely excited that there’s a new ‘Indiana Jones’ film. The excitement for it is palpable. It’s much more aggressively anticipated than anything else that’s coming out right now.”
“The trailer caught on like wildfire, around the world, in all mediums,” said Gerry Rich, Paramount’s president of worldwide marketing, who’s targeting moviegoers “from 8 to 80. The response has been sensational and it shows what technology can do when you have material that is so appealing to audiences.”
Older audiences certainly remember Indy, but that’s not the prime ticket-buying demographic. Thus the aggressive online campaign, which included what Paramount says is a record 4.1 million views on the Yahoo movie site in the first week and 2.6 million on the official IndianaJones.com site, the most ever for the studio.
“It looks to be THE highly anticipated movie of the summer,” said Mark Mazrimas, marketing manager for independent theater chain Classic Cinemas. However, “this hasn’t been on the screen for so long, (the challenge) is capturing the youth.”
The brainchild of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, the franchise kicked off with “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981, followed by “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” three summers later. “The Last Crusade” was released in 1989, boosting the worldwide box office total to $1.2 billion.
Now, with the buzz sparked, Rich — who declined to make opening weekend predictions — just wants to keep fans’ attention: “The (only) negative comment from people was that they have to wait until May to see the movie.”
Release Date: US (wide): May 22, 2008, UK: May 22, 2008, AU: May 22, 2008
Produced By: George Lucas
Written By: David Koepp, Jeff Nathanson
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Other Genres: Adventure
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Production Company: Lucasfilm Ltd.
Special Effects Company: Industrial Light & Magic
Music By: John Williams
And from Vanity Fair:
Keys to the Kingdom
Between them, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have made 13 of the 100 top-grossing movies of all time. Yet they struggled for more than a decade with the upcoming fourth installment of their billion-dollar Indiana Jones franchise, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Annie Leibovitz gets exclusive access to the set, while Lucas, Spielberg, and their star, Harrison Ford, tell Jim Windolf about the long standoff over the plot, why critics and fans will be upset, and how they’ve updated Indy.
by Jim Windolf February 2008
George Lucas, Harrison Ford, and Steven Spielberg on the set of the new film in Los Angeles. “Neither of them is ashamed of making audience films,” Ford says of his partners. Photographs by Annie Leibovitz.
When we last saw him, nearly 19 years ago, everybody’s favorite archaeologist was literally riding off into the sunset after having found the Holy Grail. This seemed as though it had to be the end of the adventure series that had gotten its start with Raiders of the Lost Ark, the big summertime blockbuster of 1981. But then, on the morning of June 18, 2007, Steven Spielberg, the director of the Indiana Jones movies, and George Lucas, who came up with the idea for the franchise, found themselves facing cast and crew on an empty piece of land in Deming, New Mexico. “How time flies,” Spielberg said, raising a flute of champagne, in a moment captured on video, which ended up on YouTube. “No one’s changed, we all look the same. I just want to say: Break a leg, have a good shoot, do your best work, and here’s looking at you, kids.”
Before the day was out, the temperature had reached 97 degrees. Probably no one felt the heat more than the star, Harrison Ford, who, at age 65, was back in his distinctive costume. “It’s a very bizarre costume, when you think about it,” Ford says. “It’s this guy sporting a whip, who’s off usually for someplace really hot in his leather jacket.” He says he got right back into the role once he suited up. “There’s something about the character that I guess is a good fit for me, because the minute I put the costume on, I recognize the tone that we need, and I feel confident and clear about the character.”
After 79 first-unit filming days, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a wrap. Like the earlier movies, it is a Lucasfilm Ltd. production distributed by Paramount Pictures. Aside from the New Mexico location, the film was shot in New Haven, Connecticut; Fresno, California; and Hawaii, with significant work taking place on lots built at Downey Studios, in southeast Los Angeles.
On May 22, the movie will hit approximately 4,000 U.S. theaters. The story is set in 1957, and this time Dr. Jones goes up against cold-blooded, Cold War Russkies—led by Cate Blanchett in dominatrix mode—instead of the Nazis he squashed like bugs in previous installments. Making a return alongside Ford is Karen Allen, as Marion Ravenwood, Indy’s pugnacious true love, last seen in the first film (since retitled, rather inelegantly, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark). Rising star Shia LaBeouf joins the cast in a role that no one connected with the film will confirm is the love child of Indy and Marion.
Once the final cut is locked, it will be dubbed into some 25 languages for an ambitious international release. The masses—lately thrilling to the lethally blank Jason Bourne, the totally out-to-lunch Jack Sparrow, and that earnest wand waver Harry Potter—will be asked once more to embrace a fedora-wearing hero of the 1980s with roots in the jungle serials of the 1930s.
It’s not a bad bet. Lucas, 63, and Spielberg, 61, have made 13 of the all-time 100 highest-grossing movies, in terms of worldwide box office, either separately or as a producer-director duo. They are big-time spellbinders in a league with P. T. Barnum, Walt Disney, and the Wizard of Oz. The Indiana Jones series alone has grossed more than $1.18 billion worldwide—and that’s before you add in the comic books, young-adult novels, and figurines.
But once upon a time, in the faraway 1960s, Lucas and Spielberg were upstarts banging at the palace doors. Hollywood was run by men who were the age they are now, tough guys who weren’t going to give way without a fight. At age 18, Spielberg sneaked away from the tram route of the Universal Pictures tour and stepped onto a soundstage. He was a movie-crazed kid who had already made a full-length feature, Firelight, an 8-mm. sci-fi extravaganza starring his sisters, and he wanted in.
The next day he showed up on the lot wearing a suit, his dad’s briefcase in hand. It was a disguise good enough to get him past the guards. He settled into an empty office and “worked” at Universal all through that summer of 1965, making himself known to the cinematographers and directors, creating for himself an unofficial, on-the-fly internship. While attending California State University, Long Beach, Spielberg continued to visit the lot. On weekends he shot a 23-minute 35-mm. movie about two young hitchhikers, called Amblin’. He won a real job on the strength of it, as a director in Universal’s television wing. So there he was, a boy wonder among grizzled veterans, turning out episodes of Night Gallery, Columbo, and Marcus Welby, M.D., honing the craft he would put to use in a career spanning everything from The Sugarland Express (1974) to Munich (2005).
Lucas was more of an accidental filmmaker. As a skinny diabetic kid growing up in the dusty Northern California town of Modesto, he wanted to be a racecar driver—in those days driving fast and fixing cars were his chief talents—but his dream died soon before his high-school graduation, when he flipped over in his own Fiat Bianchina. The wreck almost killed him. After two years of community college, he applied to the University of Southern California’s film school. He moved downstate against the wishes of his strict father (who considered the film industry vile), and soon made a name for himself with a series of prizewinning experimental shorts. His U.S.C. films earned him a paid Warner Bros. internship that led him to the set of Finian’s Rainbow, a musical being shot by just about the only young director back then, 28-year-old Francis Ford Coppola, who pushed Lucas to learn how to write scripts and create accessible movies. Lucas went on to do just that on a grand scale, and he pulled it off largely outside the system. With his considerable winnings he built Lucasfilm, his very own, leaner version of Hollywood, now based in San Francisco’s Presidio and on a large property in rural Marin County.
In 1967, Spielberg had seen a Lucas short, Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB, at a student film festival held at U.C.L.A.’s Royce Hall. “I met George backstage,” Spielberg recalls. “I was blown away by his short film, and Francis Coppola introduced us.” They met again in the early 1970s, when Lucas was in L.A. to cast his second feature, American Graffiti. A gang of young cinéastes was gathering at a Benedict Canyon hovel that had been Lucas’s home in his U.S.C. days, and where he was staying again while in town. Among the group was Spielberg, who was working on his script for The Sugarland Express. “I’d come in at night after casting all day,” Lucas says, “and that’s when we became friends.” As the decade rolled along, blockbusters by Spielberg (Jaws) and Lucas (Star Wars—now called Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope) changed the industry.
And from First Showing.net, back in January:
The Best Indiana Jones 4 Photos and Interviews Yet!
January 2, 2008
Source: Vanity Fair
by Alex Billington
These are undoubtedly the best Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull pictures you’ll see – thanks to world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz. Vanity Fair has published an extensive article on the new film and nabbed Leibovitz’s exclusive photos from the set, including our first look at Cate Blanchett as Agent Spalko. They all look absolutely gorgeous and are more than worth checking out simply for the visual quality alone. Vanity Fair also has one of the best articles I’ve ever read about a movie and the story behind it, including great quotes from Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg. We’ve included a few of the better quotes for your reading pleasure, though I suggest you read the entire thing.
The following excerpts are courtesy of Vanity Fair’s article Keys to the Kingdom.
“I’m in my second cut, which means I’ve put the movie together and I’ve seen it,” Spielberg says. “I usually do about five cuts as a director. The best news is that, when I saw the movie myself the first time, there was nothing I wanted to go back and shoot, nothing I wanted to reshoot, and nothing I wanted to add.”
Rather than update the franchise to match current styles, Lucas and Spielberg decided to stay true to the prior films’ look, tone, and pace. During pre-production, Spielberg watched the first three Indiana Jones movies at an Amblin screening room with Janus Kaminski, who has shot the director’s last 10 films. He replaces Douglas Slocombe, who shot the first three Indy movies (and is now retired at age 94), as the man mainly responsible for the film’s look. “I needed to show them to Janusz,” Spielberg says, “because I didn’t want Janusz to modernize and bring us into the 21st century. I still wanted the film to have a lighting style not dissimilar to the work Doug Slocombe had achieved, which meant that both Janusz and I had to swallow our pride. Janusz had to approximate another cinematographer’s look, and I had to approximate this younger director’s look that I thought I had moved away from after almost two decades.”
The Bourne movies, the last two of which were directed by United 93 virtuoso Paul Greengrass, have made an impression on Lucas also. The series seems to have become the new action-movie gold standard, or at least a widely admired point of reference in filmmaking circles. Lucas says he appreciates the Bourne movies for their relative believability. “The thing about Bourne,” Lucas says, “I would put that on the credible side, because he’s trained in martial arts and all that kind of stuff, and we know that people in martial arts, even little old ladies, can break somebody’s leg. So you kind of say, O.K., that’s possible. But when you get to the next level, whether it’s Tomb Raider or the Die Hard series, where you’ve got one guy with one pistol going up against 50 guys with machine guns, or he jumps in a jet and starts chasing a car down a freeway, you say, I’m not sure I can really buy this. Mission: Impossible’s like that. They do things where you could not survive in the real world. In Indiana Jones, we stay just this side of it.”
The script, Spielberg says, can provide the blockbuster pace. “Part of the speed is the story,” he says. “If you build a fast engine, you don’t need fast cutting, because the story’s being told fluidly, and the pages are just turning very quickly. You first of all need a script that’s written in the express lane, and if it’s not, there’s nothing you can do in the editing room to make it move faster. You need room for character, you need room for relationships, for personal conflict, you need room for comedy, but that all has to happen on a moving sidewalk.”
“What it is that made it perfect was the fact that the MacGuffin I wanted to use and the idea that Harrison would be 20 years older would fit,” Lucas says. “So that put it in the mid-50s, and the MacGuffin I was looking at was perfect for the mid-50s. I looked around and I said, ‘Well, maybe we shouldn’t do a 30s serial, because now we’re in the 50s. What is the same kind of cheesy-entertainment action movie, what was the secret B movie, of the 50s?’ So instead of doing a 30s Republic serial, we’re doing a B science-fiction movie from the 50s. The ones I’m talking about are, like, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Blob, The Thing. So by putting it in that context, it gave me a way of approaching the whole thing.”
“The fans are all upset,” Lucas says. “They’re always going to be upset. ‘Why did he do it like this? And why didn’t he do it like this?” They write their own movie, and then, if you don’t do their movie, they get upset about it. So you just have to stand by for the bricks and the custard pies, because they’re going to come flying your way.”
There were pictures released in February of the “skull”, but they were removed at the request of Paramount – they had been leaked, and were in violation of the strict “code of silence’ that surrounds this film, like most of Spielberg’s projects.
And for your enjoyment, here is the final poster:
Final Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Poster!
March 9, 2008
Source: USA Today
by Alex Billington
“[The] new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Poster poster, as drawn by Drew Struzan. Like its predecessors …, the poster features a great mural including all of the cast and scenes from the film.
In addition, the article [from USA today] includes a little snippet about the plot consideration and the alien crystal skull that we posted previously. Although we were forced to remove that photo of the skull, you can now see it prominently “glowing” in the middle of the poster.
‘The new poster for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the CrystalSkull confirms something alien is afoot.
The first poster for the film (due May 22) featured part of the title relic, but there was always something odd about the eye socket. In the follow-up, also by sci-fi/fantasy movie artist Drew Struzan, it’s clear the skull is not at all human. Add to that the recent trailer, with its shot of a crate labeled “Roswell, New Mexico 1947,” and you don’t need to be a professor of archaeology to put the pieces together.
Other clues: Looks as if our hero will face his least-favorite animal and the locals at some Maya ruins. Karen Allen (who also was in 1981’s original) seems to be enjoying herself, though.'”
So we will have to wait, and wait, and wait….