Behind the Scenes

from Brad Brevet at

"They don’t mean what they used to mean."

When I mention that Geoff Johns has done a whole series of Green Lantern based on his story “Tygers”, [Alan Moore] gets tetchy. “Now, see,” he says, “I haven’t read any superhero comics since I finished with Watchmen. I hate superheroes. I think they’re abominations. They don’t mean what they used to mean. They were originally in the hands of writers who would actively expand the imagination of their nine- to 13-year-old audience. That was completely what they were meant to do and they were doing it excellently. These days, superhero comics think the audience is certainly not nine to 13, it’s nothing to do with them. It’s an audience largely of 30-, 40-, 50-, 60-year old men, usually men. Someone came up with the term graphic novel. These readers latched on to it; they were simply interested in a way that could validate their continued love of Green Lantern or Spider-Man without appearing in some way emotionally subnormal. This is a significant rump of the superhero-addicted, mainstream-addicted audience. I don’t think the superhero stands for anything good. I think it’s a rather alarming sign if we’ve got audiences of adults going to see the Avengers movie and delighting in concepts and characters meant to entertain the 12-year-old boys of the 1950s.” [Alan Moore via The Guardian]


Original cloth-board bound complete revised fifth-draft script for Raiders of the Lost Ark. This incredible piece was used by Harrison Ford throughout filming, complete with color revision and daily hand-typed dialogue pages (showing folds and wear from carrying in Ford’s pocket). The majority of pages are individually rubber stamped “ROLA 103020” for security control purposes. Contains 145 pages, of which 112 sides have hand-annotations (over 1,300 words) penned by Ford in his distinctive block capital style of writing. Notes range from single words to complete pages of writing and cover all aspects of the filmmaking process, ranging from dialogue alterations and questions about the plot to suggestions and perspectives used to create the iconic character of “Indiana Jones.” Of specific interest are:

  • Ford’s concern about avoiding references to “Han Solo”-like behavior
  • A list of hat related superstitions
  • The dialogue for the famous line: “there’s a big snake back here”
  • Notes asking, “what exactly is a headpiece to a staff of ra?”
  • Direction suggestions on a number of scenes (Hawaii plane sequence, Tanis dig, etc.)
  • Thoughts about the depiction of drunken behavior (a side of the character that was eventually removed from the film)
  • Suggestions for background reading books (such as Temple of Solomon)

The script remains in fine condition, with light wear and stains to covers, exhibiting normal signs of daily, on-set use. Arguably the greatest script in modern cinema, forging the character of “Indiana Jones” which would become one of the greatest icons in film history. In 2010, Indy stands as #2 on Time Magazine’s greatest fictional character of all time—surpassed only by “Sherlock Holmes.” Sold for $100,000.00

Raiders of the Lost Ark (also known as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark) is a 1981 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by George Lucas, and starring Harrison Ford. It is the first film in the Indiana Jones franchise; and it pits Indiana Jones (Ford) against the Nazis, who search for the Ark of the Covenant, because Adolf Hitler believes it will make their army invincible. The film originated with Lucas’ desire to create a modern version of the serials of the 1930s and 1940s.

Production was based at Elstree Studios, England; but filming also took place in La Rochelle, Tunisia, Hawaii, and California from June to September 1980. Released on June 12, 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark became the top-grossing film of 1981; it remains one of the highest-grossing films ever made. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards in 1982, including Best Picture, and won four (Art Direction, Film Editing, Sound, Visual Effects) as well as winning a fifth Special Achievement Academy Award in Sound Effects Editing. In 1999, the film was included in the United States Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as having been deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”


Original Medway Productions Script for Raiders of the Lost Ark. With page changes. Signed by Vic Armstrong, Harrison Ford’s stunt double, and Jim Steranko, who created the original concept art for Indiana Jones. Medway Productions is an oblique reference to the then-home of George and Marcia Lucas.


Read, learn, and absorb: Lawrence Kasdan’s screenplay for the Raiders of the Lost Ark, revised third draft August 1979 [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only)


A holy grail of Indiana Jones artifacts: 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.

Download the 125-page transcript [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only)

(via cinephiliabeyond)