The story of a shot-for-shot Raiders of the Lost Ark fan film to get the big screen treatment
Talk about a crazy journey: Childhood friends who spent almost a decade filming a shot-for-shot remake of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK are on their way to having their passion project become a big screen movie. NAPOLEON DYNAMITE producer Jeremy Coon has optioned the book RAIDERS! that tells the story of filmmakers Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala who made the RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK adaptation between the ages of 11 and 18. The two will produce a pair of unnamed projects with Coon in exchange for their life rights. It remains to be seen if the project will even happen due to the legal and copyright issues inherent in the film.
Coon says the film, which has played in it's entirety at film festivals, has been praised by Steven Spielberg. George Lucas has not commented on the project, but it would likely need approval from both filmmakers to get made using RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in the plot. With Spielberg and Lucas both embracing this type of spirit and passion in their own films, I would love to have them help this project to theaters. I can imagine RAIDERS! as some sort of hybrid of SUPER 8 and THE GOONIES if handled well.
Coon has a lot of passion for the story:
They shot the Nepal bar scene in Erics basement and lit the whole thing on fire, Coon said. His mom saw what theyd done and she was not having any more of that. They had to get an adult, an extra in the original George Romeros Dawn Of The Dead who was less responsible than they were. The scene that got me most was this; one of the kids learned everything about special effects and did a mold face on Eric so they could recreate Bellogs face as it melts after he opens the Ark. They did it with plaster, they put the ball in Erics mouth so he would appear to be screaming. Five minutes in, Eric starts sweating, and he cant hear or speak. They used construction plaster, which gets hot when it hardens. And they couldnt break the mold. His mother comes down to see them trying to cut through it with a hacksaw. The hospital finally got it off with a cast saw, carefully working around his head with this little circular saw to free him. The plaster ripped out the eyebrows and every eyelash on this poor kid. He had to pencil on some eyebrows to go back to school. Some of it is just charming. Their first Marion, a blonde, moved to Alaska and all her scenes had to be reshot; they had no monkey to replace the one that gave the Nazi salute and ate the bad date, so they used Chriss dog. They tied a spring to his paw so he would salute. If you took the first 20 minutes of the movie Super 8, and played it as comedy, thats how I see this.
Those of us who love movies have all play-acted our favorite movie scenes, whether as kids or adults, and some have actually gone as far to film their fan movies. While these kids did this back in the 1980s, before the Internet, these types of movies are much more common, but not always with this much love and passion. RAIDERS! sounds amazing and I would love to see it.
If RAIDERS does happen, this would be a very interesting film and not something we commonly see. Check out the trailer for the project that inspired Coons below and tell me this wouldn't make an awesome movie.
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