May 22 still feels awfully far away, but if the nearly six-month gap between your eyeballs and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has you feeling forlorn, fear not — Vanity Fair‘s February issue features tons of Indy 4 pictures, interviews, and info!
In a piece entitled Keys to the Kingdom, Jim Windolf gives readers a glimpse behind the scenes of the fourth Indiana Jones adventure, sitting down for extended interviews with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas — and if that wasn’t enough, there’s a series of Annie Leibovitz pictures to go along with Windolf’s prose. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid the Indy excitement, passages like the one below should set you on the straight and narrow:
Rather than update the franchise to match current styles, Lucas and Spielberg decided to stay true to the prior films’ look, tone, and pace. During pre-production, Spielberg watched the first three Indiana Jones movies at an Amblin screening room with Janusz Kaminski, who has shot the director’s last 10 films. He replaces Douglas Slocombe, who shot the first three Indy movies (and is now retired at age 94), as the man mainly responsible for the film’s look. “I needed to show them to Janusz,” Spielberg says, “because I didn’t want Janusz to modernize and bring us into the 21st century. I still wanted the film to have a lighting style not dissimilar to the work Doug Slocombe had achieved, which meant that both Janusz and I had to swallow our pride. Janusz had to approximate another cinematographer’s look, and I had to approximate this younger director’s look that I thought I had moved away from after almost two decades.”
The Spielberg and Lucas Q&As are admirably in-depth, and touch on various non-Indy aspects of both their careers, including the usual suspects (Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind). But fans of the whip-cracking archaeologist will be most interested in the bits that touch on the latest sequel, and all the years it took to develop — including the oft-discussed Frank Darabont script, ultimately passed over in favor of David Koepp‘s screenplay. Spielberg spills the beans:
I quite liked Frank’s script, but George and I had a disagreement over it, and George and I have always agreed to agree. So when we take each other’s temperatures, if I really am passionate about something, George will give in to me, and if George is really passionate about something, I’ll pretty much go his way. And in this case George was passionate that this was not the story he wanted to tell at this point in the Indiana Jones saga. And I think it’s a wonderful script.
Lucas, of course, is no stranger to having his decisions questioned — or to the dangers of coming back to a beloved film franchise many years after the fact. Having already run the late-sequel gauntlet with the first/last three Star Wars installments, Lucas knows he can’t count on unqualified praise for Crystal Skull:
I know the critics are going to hate it. They already hate it. So there’s nothing we can do about that. They hate the idea that we’re making another one. They’ve already made up their minds. And all they’re going to do is go to the movie to say they saw it, but they could already write their review today. The fans are all upset. They’re always going to be upset. “Why did he do it like this? And why didn’t he do it like this?” They write their own movie, and then, if you don’t do their movie, they get upset about it. So you just have to stand by for the bricks and the custard pies, because they’re going to come flying your way. You know it’s gonna come. Will this be Titanic? Probably not. Will this do O.K.? I think, yes, it will. So there’s not much to worry about.
…And that’s just a fraction of the Vanity Fair piece. To read more, and to see Leibovitz’ photos (including a look at Cate Blanchett as Agent Spalko and a shot of Karen Allen and Shia LaBeouf), click on the links below!