Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Willie: You're gonna get killed chasing after your damn fortune and glory!
Indiana Jones: Maybe. But not today.
In 1935, professor, archaeologist and legendary hero Indian Jones finds himself in China.  Soon, however, he finds himself in trouble in China.  He meets Willie in the midst of it, a singer for a ritzy club in which the whole adventure begins.  Indiana's 12-year-old sidekick, Short Round (or "Shortie"), comes to the their aid.  Just when they think their trouble is behind them, they find the unplanned adventure continues in India, eventually coming upon a village in which the Shaman believes the gods have sent them to their aid.  Not only have evil spirits taken all of the children in the village, but they've taken away sacred, precious stones... stones which are mysteriously powerful.  Indiana must come to the rescue.  But can he?  It's one thing to retrieve stones, but children?
Almost 3 years after its predecessor, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981), "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" made it US-broad premiere to 1,687 screens on May 23, 1984.  The UK would have the honor of receiving the film about three weeks later followed by Hong Kong, Ireland, Argentina, and other countries around the world.
Steven Spielberg stayed true to form as he directed Harrison Ford once again in the second of, as of the present, four films of the Indiana Jones franchise (a fifth Indiana Jones film has been announced with Spielberg directing and Harrison Ford reprising his role).  Costing an estimated $28 million to make, "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" grossed over $229.2 million, making it the third highest grossing hit at the Box Office in 1984.
"Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" was nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Original Score for John Williams and Best Visual Effects.  It won the latter.  It also won a BAFTA for that category.  Oddly enough, it was not nominated for any Golden Globe awards.
The film starred, of course, Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones), Kate Kapshaw (Willie), Jonathan Ke Quan (Short Round), and Amrish Puri (Mola Ram).  It also co-starred Roshan Seth (Chattar Lal).  Sidenote: "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" was the third feature film for Roshan Seth, the second feature film for Kate Kapshaw, and the film premiere for Jonathan Ke Quan.
Filmed at various locations including Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England in the UK, the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River (Washington state side), Kandee, Central Province in Sri Lanka, and Macao, China, here's some more behind-the-scenes information you might like to know about "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"...
1.  George Lucas drafted in screenwriters Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz who had previously penned "American Graffiti" for him. Lucas deliberately wanted to go with something with a darker tone as this had served him well with "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back".   
 2.  The film's original title was "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death" which was changed because it sounded too foreboding.
3.  Sharon Stone was one of the top choices for the role of Willie Scott before Kate Capshaw auditioned.
4.  An open casting call was put out to all the elementary schools to find a young Asian actor to play Short Round. Jonathan Ke Quan arrived with his brother, not to audition, but merely to provide moral support. He caught the casting director's attention because he spent the entire time of his brother's audition telling him what to do and what not to do.  Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Jonathan continued part-time acting in feature films, the last being "Second Time Around" in 2002.  His second film would be "Goonies" (1985), a story conceived by Steven Spielberg.
5.  Amrish Puri shaved his head for the role of Mola Ram, creating such an impression that he kept it shaved and became one of India's most popular film villains.  Amrish appeared in 291 films before his death in 2005.
6.  An early draft of the script for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" had Indy traveling to Shanghai to recover a piece of the Staff of Ra. During his escape from the museum where it was housed, he sheltered from machine gun fire behind a giant rolling gong. The same script also featured Indy and Marion fleeing destruction in a mine-cart chase. Both of these scenes were cut from that script, but resurface in this movie.
7.  Filmmakers were unable to get permission to shoot scenes in India. The Indian government requested that a copy of the script to be read and also demanded that the word "Maharajah" to be removed fearing that the content does not reflect their culture. As a result, production was moved to Sri Lanka.
8.  Kate Capshaw did her own singing at the beginning of the film and was thrilled at the opportunity of singing and dancing in the opening musical number, but the reality was her dress was so tight, there was very little movement she could attempt without ripping it.   
9.  The rotating tabletop used to exchange items in the opening Club Obi Wan (yes... Obi Wan... see the connection?) sequence is still common in Shanghai restaurants. It's normally used for easy access to the multiple dishes served at meals.
10.  Short Round's car is a 1936 Auburn Boat-tail Speedster, a highly popular car in the 1930s.
11.  Look for a cameo appearance by Dan Aykroyd as Weber who leads Indiana, Willie and Short Round to the plane.
12.  The plane belonging to "Lao Che Air Freight" that Indy, Short Round, and Willie use to escape from Shanghai is a Ford Trimotor 5-AT-B, first built in 1929. The Trimotors were Ford's first (and only) attempt at making airliners. Since the first mass-produced Ford car (the Model T) was known as the "Tin Lizzie", many pilots affectionately nicknamed the Trimotor the "Tin Goose".
13.  In the original draft, there was supposed to be a motorcycle chase scene across the Great Wall of China. However, the Chinese government refused to grant the permission of filming thus it was replaced with a stowaway on the plane scene.   
14.  The "giant vampire bats" that are shown in the movie were actually fruit bats; vampire bats are a lot smaller.
15.  Kate Capshaw's dress in the Shanghai club was completely made of 1920's and 1930's original beads. This meant that there was only enough to make one dress. The opening dance number was actually the last scene to be shot, but the dress did feature in some earlier location shots in Sri Lanka, in particular, a night-time one with Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw sitting by a campfire, with the dress drying on a nearby tree. Unfortunately an elephant had started to eat the entire back of the dress, which was saved just in time. Consequently, some emergency repair work had to be done with what remained of the original beads, and it was costume designer Anthony Powell who had to fill in the insurance forms. As to the reason for damage, he had no option but to put "dress eaten by elephant".
16.  The python that Willie Scott mistakes for an elephant's trunk was brought to Sri Lanka for shooting by animal handler Michael Culling, but since the snake and its companion weren't very welcome in the country, he had to book them their hotel rooms under fake names: Mr. and Mrs. Longfellow.   
17.  D.R. Nanayakkara, cast as the Indian village Shaman, did not speak a word of English. He delivered his lines phonetically by mimicking Steven Spielberg who was prompting him off camera. The pauses in his dialogue were therefore not for dramatic effect, but rather waiting for his next line.
18.  The village shaman refers to the Sankara stone as "Shiva linga". In traditional Hinduism, the linga is a tall, cylindrical stone representative of a phallus, often set inside a circle representing the yoni, or female organ. Together, the two symbols stand for the dualistic sexual energy of the god Shiva.
19.  Originally the Amber Palace in Jaipur was going to be used for all the exterior shots of Pankot Palace when the movie was originally going to be filmed in India, but after negotiations between producer Robert Watts and the Indian Government for permission to film in India broke down and filming was moved to Sri Lanka, matte paintings were used for the exterior shots of the palace, with the interior shots filmed at Elstree Studios in London.
20.  For the scene where Willie stirs up the soup and several eyeballs rise to the surface, Steven Spielberg said that this particular scene was notoriously difficult to shoot and it took many takes to get the result seen in the final film. The eyeballs were attached to the bottom of the soup bowl with stick-ups and Kate Capshaw was supposed to give the soup a good stir in order to release the eyes so they could rise to the surface, but the stick-ups held pretty tight and for many takes, only one or two of the eyes would release and rise to the surface.
21.  The "chilled monkey-brains" were made from custard and raspberry sauce.
22.  Harrison Ford herniated his back in the scene where he is attacked in his bedroom by a Thuggee assassin. Production had to shut down for Ford to be flown to Los Angeles to have an operation. Therefore, huge majority of Ford's work in the fights and chases in the Temple of Doom are actually done by stuntman Vic Armstrong.
23.  For the bug chamber sequence, Kate Capshaw was covered with over 2,000 bugs.
24.  Believe it or not, Kate Capshaw had to be taught how to scream.
25.  During the sacrifice, Mola Ram chants in Hindi, imploring "Kali Ma Shakti de," asking for the "Spiritual power of Mother Kali."  Mola Ram also chants "Maaro maaro sooar ko, chamdi nocho pee lo khoon" which literally translated from Hindi means "Kill, Kill the pig, flay his skin, drink his blood".
26.  During the human sacrifice sequence, the sacrificial victim repeatedly and rapidly chants the Shiva Mantra: "Aum Namah Shivaya."
27.  For the human sacrifice scene, an animatronic dummy of the sacrificial victim was made so that the "victim" would realistically writhe in agony upon catching fire. However, Steven Spielberg deemed the writhing "too gruesome" and added a sheet of flame in post-production to obscure the dummy's movements the moment it caught fire.   
28.  While filming the whipping scene, the crew played a practical joke on Harrison Ford. While he was chained to a large stone, Barbra Streisand appeared, dressed in a leather dominatrix outfit. She proceeded to whip him, saying 'That's for Hanover Street', the worst movie I ever saw." She continued whipping him for "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope", and making all of that money. Carrie Fisher then threw herself in front of Ford to protect him, and Irvin Kershne chided director Steven Spielberg, asking, "Is this how you run your movies?" This entire sequence was filmed.
29.  The huge mineshaft was a circular construction around the largest soundstage. To make it look different, they just altered the lighting every time the carts completed a loop.
30.  Kate Capshaw incurred a black eye in the runaway mine cart sequence. The next day when she reported to work, everybody else on the set was wearing a black smudge under their eye.
31.  Most of the cavernous mine where the mine cart chase takes place is miniature, with the walls made of painted aluminium foil.  Also, a modified 35mm camera was used.
32.  The production was highly fortunate in their main location in the town of Kandy in Sri Lanka as nearby a British engineering company was building a dam. When it came time for the film crew to shoot on a suspension bridge over a gorge, the British engineers were able to design and build one for them very quickly.   
33.  The rope bridge used during the final fight scene was actually suspended up a couple of hundred feet across a gorge on location in Sri Lanka. Acrophobic Steven Spielberg would never walk over it, and had to drive a mile and a half to reach the other side. Harrison Ford on the other hand had no such fear, and would run across it at full speed.   
34.  The rope bridge was coated in sand to make it briefly leave an afterimage of itself in mid-air when it collapsed.
35.  14 dummies fall off the bridge when it is cut. Batteries inside them operate their leg and arm movements to make it look like they're really kicking and flailing.
36.  All of the scenes involving the long rope bridge were filmed on three different continents. The entire bridge itself was built on location in Sri Lanka, and the scenes where Indy cuts the bridge were filmed there also. The scenes where the bridge is hanging along the side of the cliff with everyone hanging on were filmed at Elstree Studios in London. And finally, the alligators at the end were shot by Frank Marshall in Florida.   
37.  Steven Spielberg's first sequel, though technically a prequel, as 'Temple of Doom' takes place in 1935 (the story of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" taking place in 1936). "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" took place in 1938 and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" in 1957.   
38.  The film came under fire when it was released for being racist.   
39.  Steven Spielberg wanted Karen Allen to reprise her role as Marion Ravenwood but he and George Lucas had already decided that every movie should include a different woman for Indy. This would change however, when she eventually returned in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". Spielberg and Lucas felt that enough time had passed that an old flame was more appropriate for the fourth film.
And now you know.
Steven Spielberg said that he did not enjoy this film as much as the rest of the Indy films, but said that it was a great experience for him because he met his future wife during the production of this movie.  His future wife?  None other than Kate Capshaw.
Please enjoy these picture stills from "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" including some rare behind-the-scenes shots...







Indiana Jones: We're in trouble!
Willie: Trouble? What kind of trouble?
Indiana Jones: It's a long story. Better hurry up or you won't get to hear it. 

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