Hey, remember when I declared a moratorium on Indiana Jones IV stories? If so, you’ll remember I gave myself a little out, saying I would run a story if I got a quote directly from someone involved in the film. And now I have, so here’s an Indiana Jones IV story.
This evening I got on the phone with Frank Darabont to talk about next week’s special edition 2 disc set of The Green Mile. I made sure to ask him about his upcoming projects (look for that tomorrow), but I couldn’t help asking him about his participation in Indiana Jones IV. Darabont had spent a lot of time working on that script, which supposedly dealt with Indy investigating UFOs in the 50s, but his version was eventually scrapped. After that, Darabont announced he wouldn’t be working as a screenwriter anymore but would be directing full time. I had to get the inside scoop.
Q: How difficult is it when someone takes a script of yours and then never makes it? I’m thinking of the whole Indiana Jones thing.
Darabont: That was the most frustrating of all, and that was the straw that broke the back of me wanting to continue in that line of work. That was terrifically frustrating. I worked for over a year on that; I worked very close with Steven Spielberg. He was ecstatic with the result and was ready to shoot it two years ago. He was very, very happy with the script and said it was the best draft of anything since Raiders of the Lost Ark. That’s really high praise and gave me a real sense of accomplishment, especially when you love the material you’re working on as much as I love the Indiana Jones films.
And then you have George Lucas read it and say, ‘Yeah, I don’t think so, I don’t like it.’ And then he resets it to zero when Spielberg is ready to shoot it that coming year, [which] is a real kick to the nuts. You can only waste so much time and so many years of your life on experiences like that, you can only get so emotionally invested and have the rug pulled out from under you before you say enough of that.
Q: Coming from an insider’s perspective on that whole thing, do you think that movie’s ever going to happen?
Darabont: I don’t think so. I don’t think so. But that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong. I just think it’s fantastically bizarre that for a project that people have been trying to crack for ten years and have a writer come in and finally crack it and have a director who happens to be Steven Spielberg, one of the greatest directors of all time, and then say, ‘No, I don’t think so…’ It’s just bizarre to me. I can’t get into George’s head.
Tomorrow look for more info on The Mist and Fahrenheit 451. The full interview will run next week.