Seven thousand dollars? That sounds kind of rough but, hey, maybe I just don't know how things work in New Dehli, or maybe the dollar is worth a whole lot more over there. Maybe seven thousand dollars, to be spread evenly among eight thousand extras and 15 cars is completely reasonable. Still, let's take a look a little bit farther down the page where Lucas and Spielberg talk about casting the locals:
I don't even know what ethnic stereotype Spielberg is referencing when he suggests that certain races routinely jump off cliffs, or if maybe he's just confusing Mexicans with lemmings, but I do know that someone, maybe even everyone, should be offended. It's even more interesting to watch them brainstorm about a villain for Indiana. They know they want a non-white villain, they know the villain needs to be sleazy, and they know they don't personally care about ideas that are potentially racially insensitive. They season the entire conversation with the word "Orientals" pretty liberally, they talk about how Chinese ("or whatever") villains are good choices because "you can never tell what they're thinking," Lucas refers to a Chinese warlord as "General Fu Man Chu," and they write off having a Middle Eastern villain because Spielberg "Can't think of many Arabs who are actors." Still, this particularly damning bit might be my favorite:
"Italians are too crazy?" What does that even mean? I can't tell if Lucas thinks Italian characters are too crazy or Italian actors are. Like, is he worried that the audience won't believe an Italian dude would be interested in something banal, like the Ark of the Covenant? Or is he's suggesting that Italian actors are, by nature too crazy to be captured on film? Does Lucas think Italian people are so clouded by their own madness that they wouldn't be able act? Too crazy to travel all over the world looking for the Ark of the Covenant? Too crazy to fight Indiana Jones in the fictional universe you're creating? What the hell rules are you operating under, Lucas? Potential racism aside, the transcript is also interesting because we get to see what George Lucas is like when he's speaking extemporaneously. On page 16, for example, he's just riffing, but take a look at the dialogue Lucas conjures up for the character who I think would eventually become Marcus Brody: From page 16.
Sure, Lucas is just sort of going off the top of his head here, but, if you look at some of the clumsy, thoughtless lines that actually
Actual line from the movie.There are also just some flat out terrible ideas. In the story as Lucas dictated it, Jones is stuck on a plane as it's crashing, and he and the screenwriter decided... From page 31.
Yes. There was almost a scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones took a bunch of life preservers, curled up into a ball, and leapt out of plane. Thankfully, Lucas and company had the good sense to really look at that scene and objectively say "Hey, this is pretty retarded." This happens a few times, in fact. In addition to the sphere of life-preservers, there's a bumbling child sidekick character and a toboggan ride down a snowy mountain (???), all of which Lucas and Spielberg recognized as shitty. By leaving these cheesy, lame moments out, they saved