Posted on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
Friendship can often be fraught with difficult negotiations. When friends are involved in creative endeavors, some disagreement and compromise is guaranteed to be in order. Take George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, who have been friends and occasional collaborators for decades. Their friendship launched the Indiana Jones film series, the last installment of which isn’t quite a fan favorite.
Even Spielberg seems to recognize that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull isn’t such a great film, as per comments he made at a recent screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark. He even seems down on the basic story of the picture, but explains that his friendship and partnership with Lucas is what pushed it forward. Film is all about compromise, even if you’re one of the biggest names in filmmaking. Read on…
Empire talked to Spielberg as he promoted Tintin, and asked about further Indiana Jones movies. His answer was non-committal, but it gives us a bit of insight into the working process that goes into an Indy film:
You have to ask George Lucas. George is in charge of breaking the stories. He’s done it on all four movies. Whether I like the stories or not, George has broken all the stories. He is working on Indy V. We haven’t gone to screenplay yet, but he’s working on the story. I’ll leave it to George to come up with a good story.
He went on to defend Indy IV, while noting that there are aspects of it that have never thrilled him. But the collaborative nature of the film led him to go along with it,
I’m very happy with the movie. I always have been… I sympathize with people who didn’t like the MacGuffin because I never liked the MacGuffin. George and I had big arguments about the MacGuffin. I didn’t want these things to be either aliens or inter-dimensional beings. But I am loyal to my best friend. When he writes a story he believes in – even if I don’t believe in it – I’m going to shoot the movie the way George envisaged it. I’ll add my own touches, I’ll bring my own cast in, I’ll shoot the way I want to shoot it, but I will always defer to George as the storyteller of the Indy series. I will never fight him on that.
Not that the whole interview is about throwing Lucas under the bus. It reads like Spielberg is just explaining that “hey, making these movies works like this.” Either he works with what George wants, or the movie doesn’t happen. Feel free to talk about whether the movie not happening might have been the better option. But Spielberg does proudly own up to one of the elements of the movie that has become an internet joke:
What people really jumped at was Indy climbing into a refrigerator and getting blown into the sky by an atom-bomb blast. Blame me. Don’t blame George. That was my silly idea. People stopped saying “jump the shark”. They now say, ‘nuked the fridge’. I’m proud of that. I’m glad I was able to bring that into popular culture.
And with respect to story, there’s this minor update on a new Jurassic Park movie:
The screenplay is being written right now by Mark Protosevich. I’m hoping that will come out in the next couple of years. We have a good story. We have a better story for four than we had for three…