How did a “scruffy”, “rough and tumble”, “bounty hunter of antiquities” become one of the most beloved heroes in film history? Read this transcript from a 1978 meeting featuring Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan, as they workshop the concept of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The best parts are hearing them figure out in real time exactly what kind of hero Indiana Jones — originally named Indiana Smith — will be:
Kasdan: Is it necessary that he really be trained?
Lucas: It’s not absolutely necessary. I just thought it would be amusing if people could call him a doctor.
Spielberg: I like that. The doctor with the bullwhip.
Other gems include the origin of one of the most famous scenes in the film:
Spielberg: I have a great idea! There is a sixty-five-foot boulder, that’s form-fitted to only roll down the corridor, coming right at him. And it’s a race. He gets to outrun the boulder!
A hint at why Indy has a snake phobia:
Kasdan: It seems like it would be nice if, once stripped of his bullwhip, left him weak, if we had to worry. Just a little worried about him being too…
Lucas: That was what I thought. That’s why I was sort of iffy about throwing it in. If we don’t make him vulnerable…
Spielberg: What’s he afraid of? He’s got to be afraid of something.
And perhaps the most telling line of all:
Spielberg: What we’re just doing here, really, is designing a ride at Disneyland.
Which, of course, is what the Indiana Jones franchise became, eventually. The transcript is long but really quite amazing and a must-read for any fan.