Indiana Jones: Lucas, Spielberg and the “trapped contract” with Paramount

George Lucas had great difficulty in convincing the studios to bring the adventures of Indiana Jones to the screen. In the end, Paramount agreed, but with a “trapped contract”, in the American’s own words.

Cult figure of the seventh art, Indiana Jones, whose adventures are to (re) see on the Amazon Prime Video service, however, almost never landed on the big screen. The American studios were indeed not at all seduced by these adventures imagined by a George Lucas then eager to resuscitate the spirit, which he loved so much, of the serials of the 40s and 50s.

The documentary Indiana Jones – In Search of the Lost Golden Age, available on Arte, looks back on the difficulties encountered by Lucas to give birth to his ambitious project. “The world of cinema, in particular the critics and the studio bosses, who are the two great judges … This world is very narrow-minded”says the American. “They have a very narrow view of what a movie can be and very strong opinions on what not to do.”

At the beginning of the 80s, after long months during which he suffered refusal after refusal, George Lucas nevertheless finally managed to find refuge with a large studio: Paramount Pictures. The major agrees to finance the adventures of the archaeologist but … does not want Steven Spielberg to direct, the latter paying his imposing budget overrun in 1941, bitter failure at the box office.

George Lucas will then do everything to impose his friend on the production of Raiders of the Lost Ark, promising Paramount to shoot the film in record time. Strenuous negotiations, which last a whole year, then begin with a studio which takes the hand by tying up, in Lucas’ own words, a “contract trapped”.

“If we went over the budget by ten cents, they would take our car, our kids, everything”, declares George Lucas, of which one cannot precisely grasp the degree of seriousness and bitterness in the declaration. In the end, the American will give Paramount full satisfaction, the filming of Raiders of the Lost Ark being completed several days in advance.

The conclusion of this difficult genesis returns to Steven Spielberg, with words privileging the human to the detriment of the business: “I didn’t want to disappoint George. Most of all, what helped me stay on budget was that before L’Arche Perdue, George and I had been friends for 15 or 18 years. We didn’t work together. , we were just friends. And I wanted nothing to threaten our friendship. “

False Match – Indiana Jones 3 & 4:

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