M. Night Shyamalan once met with Steven Spielberg and other top execs about potentially writing an Indiana Jones movie, and he's opened up a little bit about what he had in mind for the project. At the time, only the first three Indiana Jones movies had been released and efforts were being made to get the fourth installment off the ground. Shyamalan was brought into the conversation at one point during this process as he was hot off the success of The Sixth Sense.
Spielberg was intent on directing Indiana Jones 4, but with no idea set in stone, different writers were approached for the script. In a new interview with Collider, M. Night Shyamalan was asked directly about the time he was nearly involved with the Indiana Jones franchise. As the filmmaker recalls, the meeting alone was a dream come true, and even though his pitch wasn't used, he still looks back at that day as a monumental moment in his life.
"Oh, my God. I mean, it was fantastic. Obviously, Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite movie of all time, and so this was a dream, to be asked as a kid to go see a movie in a movie theater and then later to be asked by that person to write one of those in the future. I could faint at that moment. It was amazing. I do have my notebooks; I still have those with all my ideas for that movie. I did have a take. I talked to everybody involved and it was so nascent at that time, that movie. Everyone hadn't gotten into a room yet. They were bouncing ideas off of me. So everyone had different ideas of what to do. When you say that, I have in my head, it's a green notebook, and I had this idea. It was a darker idea."
After it was noted that every Indiana Jones movie has a MacGuffin, i.e. a plot device that drives the story forward, such as the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Shyamalan clarified that he did have an idea for his Indiana Jones story's MacGuffin, though he never shared it with Steven Spielberg and the studio. As of now, he's remaining quiet on what exactly that idea might be. Time will tell if he ever releases any of the information he'd wrote down in that green notebook.
It's debatable if it was for the best or not that things didn't work out with Shyamalan. What happened instead was Speilberg going with a story crafted by George Lucas, Jeff Nathanson, and David Koepp for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The movie was indeed a tremendous hit at the box office, but it was not quite as critically well received as its predecessors, putting Indy back on ice for many more years.
In the meantime, you can check out Shyamalan's latest project by watching his new movie Old in theaters. Indiana Jones 5 will later be released by director James Mangold on July 29, 2022. Read the whole interview over at Collider.