Monday, February 16, 2009

Koepp’s “Indy IV” Script

Did you guys know that David Koepp’s Indy IV script is now available here? Get it while you can! I skimmed through it. Indy's father is no where to be found, probably written out before this draft.

However, I noticed some interesting changes.

* Here’s something we didn't see in the warehouse sequence: they threaten to kill Mac, which is what compels Indy to help the Russians. They throw Mac down onto the ground and put his head right up to the tire of a truck and turn the engine on. But that was short-lived because Mac's soon following Indy around like everyone else.

* There's a scene with Mac and Spalko after the warehouse sequence where she tells him, "You did well" and leaves. This moment rings false (or weak) as any good villain would've killed Mac right there.

* Koepp had the mushroom cloud look like a human skull. Seriously? Is Koepp for real? Since when was Indy that cartoonish?

* One of the complaints I had was that there was no payoff to the setup of Mutt and his switchblade. He can do tricks with it. He’ll pull it out at a moment’s notice, but he never once used it. Well, in Koepp’s script, Mutt actually used his knife on one of the graveyard guardians in Peru. Indy was also supposed to use his whip here, too, which was nice to see because I didn’t think Indy used his whip enough. In any case, Mutt stabs one of those crazy guardians in the shoulder with his switchblade, which the man pulls out and just as he's about to throw the switchblade back at Mutt, Indy uses his whip to save him. Mutt picks up his knife, feels kinda freaked about using his knife for the first time, and Indy tells him, “You did good, kid.”

* Then Indy actually explains who the guardians were - Nazca Indians. And I'll bet you all of that was removed to avoid getting complaints about killing Indians and also praising Mutt for stabbing an Indian. That the guardians were Indians and that it might’ve generated some complaints is beside the point. The entire graveyard guardian sequence should’ve been scrapped and redone because it was all too similar to the other sequence with Indians, the “Ugha Warriors,” who came out of the crevices in the caves before they reached Akator.

* The scorpion sting was another complaint of mine. It felt like a setup to a payoff that never happened. Well, in the script, the talk about the scorpion bite led to a couple of other (bad) jokes of Indy telling Mutt that the skeletons and such won't “bite” him. It’s not funny, would’ve never played well, and still technically wrong. Scorpions sting, they don’t bite, and Indy would’ve known that.

* I always thought it was a pacing misstep that Indy and Mutt should stand around and talk so much after finding the skull. Well, in Koepp's script, as soon as Indy found the skull, the floor was supposed to give way beneath them leading to I don't know what because the next couple of scenes were omitted. After that mystery sequence, they climb out of the cemetery to be greeted by the Russians.

* Before the scene with Indy & Marion & Mutt in the truck, there was an awful scene between Spalko and Mac in order to try to make Spalko scarier and fails miserably. An antagonist is scary THROUGH ACTION. It’s what the antagonist DOES that makes us scared.

- The scene with Mutt and the monkeys was actually meant to be scary. Mutt was desperate to avoid being killed by the monkeys that were probably meant to be bigger and scarier.

* During the big “tentpole” chase sequence in the rainforest, Mac reveals to Indy: "INDY, YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH, I’M CIA! I practically shouted it at you in the ten, I said ‘Like in Berlin!’ What were we in Berlin, mate?!” And then INDY & MAC both say together: “Double agents, yeah?” Then Mac fights the Russians alongside Indy and says at one point, “You think General Ross just happened to turn up in Nevada to bail you out? I sent him, he’s my control agent!” Indy says, “Why didn't you say so before?” And Mac responds, “What do you want me to do, paint it on my ass?!” Now this dialogue would’ve put more of a question mark over who is really leaving the red-light blinking thingees for Spalko on the way to Akator. After they enter the temple, Mac pulls a gun on the gang causing Indy to say, “So you’re what? A triple agent?” Mac responds, “Nah, I just lied about being a double.” The whole thing with Mac was just beyond silly.

* In the script, four Russian soldiers enter the chamber with Spalko. In the film, only Spalko entered, which is less threatening.

BTW - do you guys remember that discussion we had about the big snake in Darabont’s draft? Some felt it was too fake, too hard to believe, etc. Check out this article: Ancient Fossil Find! This Snake Could Eat a Cow! They found the remains of a snake 42-45 feet long, reaching more than 2,500 pounds, and could “easily eat something the size of a cow. A human would just be toast immediately.”

Hehehe… (Thanks, Neil, for the link.)

Well, after years of following the rumors of Indy IV, I believe this will be my last article on the subject (unless other drafts surface, which is highly doubtful). So I’d like to close by posting links to four articles (that earned a Dardos award) from my series on Indiana Jones 4:

50 Flaws of Indy IV

50 Strengths of Darabont's Draft

The Wedding of Indiana Jones

The Long, Sordid Road to Indy IV



neil brimelow said...

The biggest Problem I had with Indy IV, in all of its ten iterations, is that I already know that Indy is not going to die.

Sure, most of the entire audience that went to see Indy IV had no knowledge of the "Young Indy" series of the late 80's/early 90's, that features a 90+ year old Indy with an eye patch.

BUT "Young Indy" has always been George Lucas' favorite pet project he has done, thus Lucas can NEVER kill Indiana Jones, otherwise he would void his "Young Indy" series.

Now, as I've stated before, MUTT should be the one to die in the next movie, as he's not mentioned in the "Young Indy" series, only Indy's daughter(s).

Otherwise, the big problem is that Indy 3 and Indy 4 both suffered from lackluster villains. Raiders had a multitudes of fantastic villains. Indy 2 had Mola Rom ripping people's hearts out. Indy 3 and 4 just had shitty villains and it affected both of those movies.

I have no problem with an Indy 5 movie, but if I am going to go see this another Indy movie, it had better look damn compelling.

BTW: A checklist of things that Lucas and Senor Spielbergo should have for the next Indy movie should be:

1) Indy loses his eye.
2) Mutt bites the bullet.
3) Heck even kill of Marion.

ScreenScriber said...

As a big Indy fan, I of course have mixed feelings about the last movie. I think Lucas & co just wanted to make it too relevant.

Indiana Jones IS NOT Star Wars. The latter is a "closed" series of films, like LOTR if you want, where there's a canon story which, once told, can't give new adventures (except if they write parts 7, 8 and 9).

Indy, on the other hand, is a pulp hero which can, and should get, thousands of adventures, free from any canonical constraints of time and space.

The first three movies just were that, loose adventures with no necessary connection betweeen them. Just as his comic book adventures or video game stories. I mean, even the "Temple of Doom" story happened years before "Raiders". Why didn't anybody say it was a prequel?

Because there was no need! It was just one more of his adventures, exactly what we got with the tv-series or the novels.

But when Lucas decided that the "Skull" universe should canonically fit with all the other movies, he made a risky decision. Because there is no canon in Indy universe, as there is in Star Wars.

I think the fourth movie should have been just one more adventure, with no regard of past situations or characters. Because that is the coolest thing about Indy's universe:

Unlike Star Wars, where you can't just write spin-off adventures for Han Solo or Luke or whoever (they must fit into the series timeline, space, etc), Indy can virtually get infinite adventures, disregarding if it was possible for him to be in two places at once in 1939 or how he reached land after getting the Cross of Coronado (There's no need to wonder why he didn't remember building a droid when he was a kid :).

I'll put it like this: I have a lot of Indy's comic books. Some adventures are good (The Iron Phoenix) and some suck (The Spear of Destiny). Indy 4 for me is one of those adventures that weren't that good. That's all.

I'll keep playing the games, reading the comics and waiting for the animated series. If they look remotely like this, I bet my brain will be blown:

And also, if you want to LIVE the best screenplay after the first trilogy ones, PLAY this (skip the comic book):

DS said...

A few things you say are changes, are not:
- The scene where Spalko says to Mac "You did well" and then leaves *is* in the final film.
- I believe Indy *does* use his whip in the graveyard scene (at the very least, it was shot, because there's a still of it in the "making of" book
- the dialogue between Mac and Indy about "you stupid SOB, I'm CIA", etc. is in the final film, as is the exchange where Mac says he lied about being a double
- other Russian soldiers do enter the chamber with Spalko, and eventually get sucked up through the ceiling before she disintegrates

Sirius said...

First -- am I the ONLY person who was disappointed that the Akator indians, the so-called "living dead" guardians weren't fucking ZOMBIES?

No matter how slapdash the final movie was, Indy fighting his way through zombies brought to life again by the skull would have been enough for me to overlook it's many flaws. And it would have punched home the 50s B-movie tone they were going for far more than the alien hooey and the overly saturated cinematography that made the whole thing all digital and fake looking like the prequels.

Secondly, I enjoyed the warehouse sequence more than some of the later episodes but, damn, after a nineteen year absence, I'm still burned we didn't get to see the close of his last adventure. They half-assed it in Last Crusade with the boyscout flashback and in Crystal Skull they just ditched it completely.

So it looks like the Koepp draft, which I've had for some time but couldn't get up the urge to read, confirms some things I'd suspected on watching the film in theaters. Namely, that Indy had been intentionally neutered. Whether Lucas or Spielberg is to blame (and let's not forget Lucas didn't replace the guns in ET) there simply was not enough cursing, shouting or seat-of-the pants problem solving. It was all too neat, too clean, too safe and kid friendly. It's also the only Indy movie where he doesn't directly kill anyone! He drops a gun that shoots a Russian in the foot at the warehouse, and then fires a shot to scare away the Nazca ninja. I was half-expecting to see the driver jump out of that jungle cutter when he launched the rocket at it!

I agree Indy shouldn't have cooperated so easily with the Russians early on -- even had Mac's life been threatened, who's to say whatever they were after wouldn't be use to kill even more Americans?

Anyway, love all your articles on Indy IV double-M. Don't hesitate to post more if you have additional thoughts.

DS said...

Indy *does* directly kill one of the graveyard guards by blowing the dart back through the blowgun into his throat.

Nick H said...

For me RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK is the only real Indy adventure. A great film on every level and one which could never be surpassed.

TEMPLE OF DOOM was a great family film (and a much better vehicle for any Indy Jnr) but I see it, and the other films, as part of the big spin-off franchise, along with the TV series, computer games, T-Shirts, Lego, etc, etc.

Regarding the flaws in Darabont's (still superior) script, I would just say: imagine how great it would have been if he hadn't been shackled by Lucas' stupid story!

Mystery Man said...

Neil - I doubt I would've killed off Indy. The franchise just isn't that serious. I would've killed Mutt by not having him in the story. Hehehe...

Salva - I played "The Emperor's Tomb," and can't wait until "Staff of Kings" comes out. Have you seen the trailer?

DS - Really? Thanks!

Nick - I couldn't agree more.


viktor said...

I like the motivation of Indy in his house when he says: "Akator. That would be the find of a lifetime. Create a reputation no poltician could touch".
In the final editing Indy seems to be undermotivated and this line also explains when he's cleared in the end.

Mystery Man said...

Viktor - Yeah, that's not bad.


David Alan said...

Those were some good-times. Lots of great comments and thoughts.

Désirée said...

I must admit that I was disappointed that they did Indy IV.

It felt like a project that was done only for the money, with no real hope to have a great story.

Indy and his father - could any pair match them? No.

The Holy Grail and the Ark as trophies - could anything match that? No.

Why even try?

I only think a project like this drags the name of Indiana Jones in the dirt. Sorry.

Interesting to read your articles about the script though.

Mystery Man said...

David - Yes, they were.

Desiree - Thanks for the comment. With respect to disappointment, yeah, so was I. Hehehe...


viktor said...

Maybe you want to read also the raiders story transcripts from 1978:

It's interesting to see how Lucas - Kasdan - Spielberg developed the character.

Mystery Man said...

Thanks, Viktor. Loved that so much, I thought I'd post an article about this.

Thanks again,


Anonymous said...

The problem with Darabont's giant snake wasn't the concept of the creature. It's the fact that Indy is actually eaten, then cuts his way out afterwards. Today's audience would not have accepted that, and would have thought it just as outlandish as the fridge escape.

As the 'giant snake' article points out, "A human would just be toast immediately.”

Mystery Man said...

Anon - Yeah, you may be right. But conceptually, I loved the idea, that is, he's over the fear of snakes and falls right back into it all over again. That's the way to do.


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