Indiana Jones 5 now has a writer — but what’s the story?

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Looks like David Koepp might become the first person — other than George Lucas — to get a screenwriting credit on multiple Indiana Jones movies.

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A few questions about the fifth Indiana Jones movie

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The Harrison Ford nostalgia tour isn’t over yet.

Today it was announced that Ford — who returned to the Star Wars franchise in last year’s The Force Awakens and will soon start shooting the sequel to 1982’s Blade Runner — will return as Indiana Jones in a film set to be released in 2019, thirty-eight years after Ford first played the character in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.1

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Spielberg and Lucas on Ark of the Covenant traditions

It’s been up on YouTube for almost three years now, but last week, for some reason, a vintage TV special on the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) began making the rounds on the internet.

I don’t believe I had ever seen it before, though I do recall a friend at school telling me about it and describing one sequence in it, in which Steven Spielberg tries to give Harrison Ford a passionate summary of where the story is going, only to have Ford abandon him mid-story to put some mustard on his hot dog or whatever.

I mention the special here because it includes a clip of Spielberg on the set of the film’s climax, explaining to some of the extras what the supernatural concept behind that climax is — and I was intrigued to hear Spielberg suggest that the film might actually differ from the traditions surrounding the Ark as he understands them.

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Bible movie of the week: The Big Fisherman (1959)

Four years ago, I wrote a blog post on The Big Fisherman (1959), one of the more obscure Bible movies ever released by a major Hollywood studio.

As far as I know, the film, which was originally distributed by Walt Disney’s Buena Vista division, has never been officially released to home video, at least not in North America. But I had read a bit about it in books on the history of Jesus movies — the title refers to the apostle Peter — and I was intrigued by the information I found at the Internet Movie Database.

For one thing, the film is based on a novel by Lloyd C. Douglas, who also wrote The Robe, which 20th Century Fox turned into a much more famous film in 1953. For another, it seemed that this film might rely on the secular account of Herod Antipas and John the Baptist given to us by Josephus, which no other film I could think of had ever done.

And what did the apostle Peter have to do with any of this? I had no idea, but I was curious to find out.

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Lawrence of Arabia gets a six-hour mini-series

There are two kinds of films that Roland Emmerich specializes in: the city-smashing disaster epic, as seen in Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998), The Day after Tomorrow (2004) and 2012 (2009); and smaller, nuttier quasi-historical films like The Patriot (2000), 10,000 BC (2008) and Anonymous (2011).

So it is with a certain inevitable trepidation that I greet the news that Emmerich is producing a six-hour mini-series about T.E. Lawrence, the British soldier who is known to the world as “Lawrence of Arabia”.

Thankfully, the series does seem to have at least one serious biographer on its side, said person being Michael Korda, author of the 2010 book Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia. So maybe that will help rein in some of Emmerich’s crazier impulses.

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Harrison Ford asks: “Is Indy a believer?” “Where in Bible?”

Cinephilia & Beyond has found what it claims is Harrison Ford’s copy of the original shooting script for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), complete with Ford’s hand-written notes. The site has posted only a few pages from the script so far, but the bits they have revealed are certainly interesting.

One page, for example, includes some extra dialogue regarding the fate of Abner Ravenwood, the former mentor to Indiana Jones and the father of Indy’s on-and-off girlfriend Marion Ravenwood.

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