Movies - TV
Writing Raiders Of The Lost Ark Was
A Slapdash Process From Start To Finish
By ANDREW HOUSMAN
The 1981 “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is a timeless adventure film that has been a model for structuring a Hollywood blockbuster. Although George Lucas and Philip Kaufman conceived the idea and director Stephen Spielberg crafted the action set pieces, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan connected the ideas and shaped the story we know today.
Lucas based Indiana Jones on the serial adventure films from his childhood movie theater trips, and Kaufman introduced the Ark of the Covenant as the film’s central artifact. However, Kaufman left to direct “The Right Stuff,” and Kasdan came in to help Lucas and Spielberg with story structure, major set pieces, and characterizations.
Kasdan shared, “I realized the reason they hired me was they wanted someone to do all the hard work, put it all together, and come up with all the connective material. They had great set-pieces in mind but that's different from a screenplay.” Lucas and Spielberg may be the more recognizable names in the credits, but Kasden played an equally vital role in developing this adventure classic.