Sunday, June 12, 2011

It's Not The Years, It's The Mileage

Holee Crap! Sunday, June 13th was the 30th anniversary of the premiere of Raiders of the Lost Ark! That's just not possible. I remember seeing it in the theater, for frak's sake! Man, am I getting old.

I remember being absolutely blown away by the ending of the film, when the Nazis are killed by the Ark. Bear in mind that this was decades before the internet and the age of spoilers, so no one in the audience had any idea what was going to happen, which made it all the more effective and surprising. I miss those days.

When George Lucas wrote the script, the main character's name was Indiana Smith. Director Steven Spielberg told him that the name just didn't sound right, and on the first day of shooting changed Indy's moniker to Jones. Thank the maker for Spielberg.

It's hard to imagine anyone besides Harrison Ford playing the role of Indiana Jones. Tom Selleck was a front runner for the part and would have been a decent choice for Indy. Some of the other alleged choices though were downright cringe-worthy. If you can believe imdb.com, some of the actors considered for the part were: Nick Nolte, Steve Martin (!), Bill Murray (!!), Chevy Chase (!!!) Tim Matheson, Peter Coyote, Jeff Bridges and Jack Nicholson (!!!!). Raiders would have been a very different movie indeed if any of those actors had won the part. Can you imagine Bill Murray trying to crack a bullwhip? Or Jack Nicholson running from a giant boulder? With the exception of Tim Matheson, Jeff Bridges and maybe Peter Coyote, those were all horrible, horrible choices. Thank goodness for movie fans they had the good sense to cast Ford.

The odd casting wasn't limited to just Indy. It's hard to imagine anyone but John Rhys-Davies as Indy's pal Sallah, but supposedly Danny DeVito was up for the part. Oy gevalt! Luckily for us he was busy filming Taxi at the time.

Just think, somewhere out there in the universe is a parallel Earth where moviegoers had to endure  Raiders of the Lost Ark starring Steve Martin and Danny DeVito. I'm glad I don't live on that Earth.

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