God, I hate to eclipse my previous Indiana Jones post, but the new February 2008 issue of Vanity Fair has a gorgeous collection of Indy photos by Annie Leibovitz that can be viewed throughout the cover story. The article was good, too. Here are two highlights:
“The script, Spielberg says, can provide the blockbuster pace. ‘Part of the speed is the story,’ he says. ‘If you build a fast engine, you don’t need fast cutting, because the story’s being told fluidly, and the pages are just turning very quickly. You first of all need a script that’s written in the express lane, and if it’s not, there’s nothing you can do in the editing room to make it move faster. You need room for character, you need room for relationships, for personal conflict, you need room for comedy, but that all has to happen on a moving sidewalk.’”
“The first building block of any Indiana Jones movie, according to Lucas, is something called the MacGuffin. The term, popularized by Alfred Hitchcock, refers to an object or goal that kicks the story into action and drives it to the third act. Hitchcock held that the less specific the MacGuffin the better. In his 1959 suspense classic, North by Northwest, the men chasing Cary Grant are after microfilm containing ‘government secrets’— that’s all the audience learns about why the film’s villains cause the hero so much trouble—and Hitchcock considered that to be a perfect MacGuffin, because it was so wonderfully vague. While Lucas agrees with his predecessor on the importance of the MacGuffin, his conception of the device differs significantly from Hitchcock’s. Rather than seeing it as a gimmick with the function of getting things rolling, Lucas believes that the MacGuffin should be powerful and that the audience should care about it almost as much as the dueling heroes and villains on-screen.”
Lucas also confirmed that despite all the sordid Indy IV rumors, the MacGuffin had always been the Crystal Skulls. In a web-exclusive interview, Spielberg revealed that Darabont’s script was set in the ‘50s but it had latter-day Nazis going after Indy. There’s also an interview with George Lucas and a video of Annie’s on-the-set photo shoot.