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Friday, June 20, 2008


Indiana (and Obama) get OK'd in press fest

At Harrison Ford press conferences in the 1990s, fantastic-looking women would gush into the microphone about how much they loved the actor and his, um, body of work. Nowadays, ol' Harrison is looking pretty good for his years, but alas, his press conferences now attract the fanboys. At least half the people asking questions at one such recent event in Tokyo for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" were wearing Indiana Jones hats.

News photo
Good point: Harrison Ford and George Lucas big up the new Indiana Jones film in Tokyo. YOSHIAKI MIURA PHOTO

First up was a reporter wondering why, after so many attempts at scripts over the past two decades, they finally went with "The Crystal Skull."

"It was a long time coming," remarked Ford, "but I'm glad George (Lucas) and Steven (Spielberg) persisted. We arrived at a script I'm very happy with." Writer/producer George Lucas noted that one of the biggest impediments was "getting our schedules to line up, so we were all free at the same time to make the movie."

A sports-newspaper reporter stood up and basically pitched them a story idea about having Indy come to Japan and find some buried treasure from the Tokugawa Period. Lucas replied diplomatically, "Well, we'll see. Sometimes it takes a while to come up with the object which he goes after, which is where this all starts. Right now, we don't have any direct plans to go on with another one until we find out how successful this one turns out to be."

An Indy fedora-wearing reporter asked what it was like to pick up the series again after so much time had passed. Producer Frank Marshall said: "It felt fantastic. It was really like we went right on from 'Last Crusade' into this movie, and 19 years just shrunk right up."

Actress Karen Allen recalled being on set at the start of filming and "into the set walks Harrison with his hat and his jacket and the whip on his side. It was quite a moment, we were kind of misty-eyed. We all felt like we'd gone back in time."

For Ford, the feeling of being on an "Indiana" set again was "sort of like Christmas morning. I was going to get to play with a lot of new toys, and I was very excited about that opportunity."

A squeaky-voiced fan asked what they liked most about the character. "It's a combination of elements. I like his humor, his courage, his tenacity," said Ford. For Lucas, "My favorite thing is he's just like the rest of us. He's not a superhero. When he gets into a mess, he doesn't have any more of an idea how to get out than the rest of us would have. It's just he comes up with that one clever idea. But you never know, when he gets into a mess, whether he's gonna get out of it. And that's the charm of this particular character."

You know you're dealing with fanboys when the questions are like: Why did LucasArts release an Indiana Jones "Fate of Atlantis" game, but not make it into a movie?

Lucas responded that "it made a great video game but it's not really a strong enough idea to do a whole feature film on." (You might say the same is true of "The Crystal Skull.")

Perhaps the only real news flash here was when one journalist asked the troupe who their own personal heroes were. While Ford said, "I don't really have a hero, it just doesn't occur to me," Lucas chimed up, "We have a hero in the making back in the United States today because we have a new candidate for president of the United States — Barack Obama. For all of us who have dreams and hope, he's a hero."

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