What may be a holy grail of Indiana Jones artifacts was posted online on Monday: a 125-page transcript of the original story-conference meeting involving producer George Lucas, director Steven Spielberg, and writer Lawrence Kasdan. The blog, Mystery Man on Film, somehow got its hands on the alleged transcript, which features the filmmakers talking at great length in January 1978 about what would eventually become Raiders of the Lost Ark. The thing’s a pure joy to read. In it, you can find the genesis of everything from Indiana Jones’ name to his fear of snakes to his (possibly risque) romantic history with Marion Ravenwood.
One of my favorite moments in the transcript occurs when Spielberg is repeatedly transfixed with making Raiders‘ famous opening rolling-boulder-chase sequence feel like a Disneyland ride. “What we’re just doing here, really, is designing a ride at Disneyland,” Spielberg says on page 15. And guess what happened 17 years later, in 1995? Disneyland opened an Indiana Jones ride, or should I say, an amusement-park ride based on a movie based on an amusement-park ride. It’s postmodernism at its best!
EW called Lucasfilm for a comment, and a representative declined to give one, but did point out that parts of the document previously appeared in the book The Complete Making of Indiana Jones. But what do you think? Does the transcript appear genuine to you? Which of the three filmmakers seemed the savviest in their conversations? And how different would the world have been if the character wound up being called Indiana Smith, as Lucas initially envisioned?