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Frank Darabont and the Indiana Jones movie that never happened

03.02.2012

Anyone remember Frank Darabont trying to get INDIANA JONES AND THE CITY OF THE GODS made? This was before the days of the Crystal Skull-f*cking.

Author of "The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made", David Hughes is back with another book about cinema's failed endeavors called "Tales From Development Hell". In this excerpt, Hughes gives the details on what Darabont's vision was all about and how even after approval from Spielberg and Ford, George Lucas shut that shit down.

"Darabont’s script, entitled Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods, opens in 1952 with the hot rods racing in the Nevada desert, and Indy’s betrayal by an old friend — here, a Russian named Yuri Makovsky, rather than a Brit named Mac, who is on the trail of plutonium, rather than mummified alien remains. Instead of being captured by Russians infiltrating a U.S. military base at Area 51, Indy sneaks into the base (a scene reminiscent of the 1998 PlayStation game Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft), where he discovers the “huge cavern filled with…well, everything. It’s a maze of gantries, catwalks, experimental arcana, machinery, and mountains of crates marked ‘Top Secret.’”

"The next several scenes closely mimic those from the final film: a Jeep chase through the cavernous hangar, narrowly avoiding the blasts of flame from experimental jet engines, Indy and Yuri propelled across the desert on a rocket sled. Indy is captured by the Russians, thrown in the trunk of a car, driven to a fake town constructed as part of an A-Bomb test, where he survives the blast by hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator. After a radiation scrub and debriefing, Indy is accused of selling secrets to the Russians, put on a leave of absence from the university where he has tenure, gets drunk and bewails his lot to the statue of Marcus Brody, before visiting a display case containing, among other artefacts, the Cross of Coronado from Last Crusade and the fertility goddess from Raiders."

OH, and so you don't think I'm a huge tease, here's the part about Lucas:

"While Lucas, Spielberg and Ford considered Darabont’s draft, delivered on 4 October 2003, the appetite for a fourth Indiana Jones was further whetted by the DVD debut of the original trilogy, previously available only on video and laserdisc. While fans reveled in the copious bonus features on the new DVDs, Spielberg and Ford both reacted enthusiastically to Darabont’s script. Lucas, however, did not. “It was a tremendous disappointment and a waste of a year,” Darabont later told MTV. “I spent a year of very determined effort on something I was very excited about, working very closely with Steven Spielberg and coming up with a result that I, and he, felt was terrific. He wanted to direct it as his next movie, and then suddenly the whole thing goes down in flames because George Lucas doesn’t like the script.” A despairing Darabont confronted Lucas directly. “I told him he was crazy. I said, ‘You have a fantastic script. I think you’re insane, George.’ You can say things like that to George, and he doesn’t even blink. He’s one of the most stubborn men I know.”

To read the rest (care of the awesome Neil Miller), head over to Film School Rejects.

Extra Tidbit: Wanna read the excerpt about Frank Miller and Darren Aronofsky's YEAR ONE? Of course you do.
Source: FSR

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