There was a small group of online journalists who had been invited to the Universal lot to have some lunch and do a meet and greet with The Beard Himself, Steven Spielberg. We had enjoyed the very excellent catering and were getting ready to hop into a van to be taken to the Amblin offices when everything suddenly became more urgent. Everyone was quickly hustled into the vans and as we pulled away from the lunch tent it became obvious what was up: the cast had broken from lunch and had descended on the food.
There was Shia LaBeouf, all decked out in his greaser clothes, puffing a cigarette as he paced around the trailers. Next was Karen Allen, looking spookily like she did almost thirty years ago in Raiders. That ragged old man with the greasy hair and long beard and dressed in rags… that was John Hurt. And then, striding up to the meat cutting table in his full outfit and wearing that trademarked fedora…
Indiana Fucking Jones. Sure, Harrison Ford is in his middle 60s, but in that suit he’s ageless. Unstoppable. And going for the ham.
We were whisked away to a theater in the Amblin complex, where Spielberg came out and gave us a big thank you for not running the stolen pictures that would have gotten us all ugly Cease and Desist letters at the very least. We’re happy to not get sued by you guys, Steve!
He came through the small group of journalists and we introduced ourselves. ‘Devin Faraci, CHUD.com,’ I said.
‘I know you,’ Spielberg smiled as he shook my hand.
Spielberg knows me.
As he signed Indy IV Comic Con posters for us (To Devin, From Steve), he answered some questions. Jeremy’s already brought you the deetz on Tin Tin and Transformers 2, so let me quickly give you the low down on Indy IV:
This is not digital, baby. Spielberg said he’ll be the last guy in Hollywood shooting live action on film, despite the arguments Lucas makes (and the way he talks about their relationship makes me want to see these two at dinner). He’s not cutting on the Avid, and he’s doing as much practical effects work as possible on this film. There’s some digital, of course, but he’s going as old school as he can.
Practical effects, shooting on film… all old school. And so is his style. He’s not bringing ‘MTV style editing’ into the Indy films, he told me when I asked him whether the new cinematic language for action films, a language that has been building on what he started in the 80s, would be reflected here. This isn’t going to be a 21st century Indy film. Spielberg likes to give his audience a master shot, he said. He wants you to decide who to look at in a scene, and not do a ton of inserts and pump up the feeling of action with a zillion cuts.
He said that Shia and Ford are doing as many of their own stunts as they can. The footage of Ford today could have been footage of Ford from Last Crusade, he claimed. After seeing the man suited up, I believe it.
Spielberg also said that Drew Struzan would be back for the poster – he wouldn’t do an Indy without him or John Williams. The Commies make great replacements for the Nazis, and as they wrap up the final two days of shooting, he’s more excited than he’s been in years.
Even a jaded skeptic like me couldn’t help but get a little excited too.