While it isn't certain if fans will ever get to see Indiana Jones 5, Jeremy Coon (Napoleon Dynamite) is bringing another Indiana Jones story to the big screen. The producer has optioned Alan Eisenstock's book Raiders!, which tells the true story of two Mississippi kids who made a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Over the course of seven years, Mississippi friends Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala set out to make a shot-for-shot remake of the 1981 classic, starting production at age 11 and finishing when they were 18. The film, entitled Raiders of the Lost Ark - The Adaptation, wrapped production in 1989, and was forgotten about until filmmaker Eli Roth got a hold of a copy. He relayed it to Steven Spielberg, who congratulated the young filmmakers on their work.
Jeremy Coon is producing alongside Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala, who are now in their early 40s, although no screenwriter has been attached. The producer acknowledged that he will likely have to get permission from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas before proceeding. Here's what Jeremy Coon had to say in a statement.
"I thought the movie was an urban myth but when I saw it, from a filmmaker perspective it was more inspiring than any movie I'd ever seen. These kids had done something ridiculous and impossible and the last time I had the experience of a movie being made because it was sheer fun was when I'd seen Kill Bill. I went in feeling cynical but there was no cynicism in these kids. They did the movie because they loved it. It had its premiere and then sat on a shelf."
The producer also relayed some of the incredible stories that stemmed from this amateur production.
"They shot the Nepal bar scene in Eric's basement and lit the whole thing on fire. His mom saw what they'd done and she was not having any more of that. They had to get an adult, an extra in the original George A. Romero's Dawn Of The Dead who was less responsible than they were. The scene that got me most was this; one of the kids learned everything about special effects and did a mold face on Eric so they could recreate Bellog's face as it melts after he opens the Ark. They did it with plaster, they put the ball in Eric's mouth so he would appear to be screaming. Five minutes in, Eric starts sweating, and he can't hear or speak. They used construction plaster, which gets hot when it hardens. And they couldn't break the mold. His mother comes down to see them trying to cut through it with a hacksaw. The hospital finally got it off with a cast saw, carefully working around his head with this little circular saw to free him. The plaster ripped out the eyebrows and every eyelash on this poor kid. He had to pencil on some eyebrows to go back to school. Some of it is just charming. Their first Marion, a blonde, moved to Alaska and all her scenes had to be reshot; they had no monkey to replace the one that gave the Nazi salute and ate the bad date, so they used Chris's dog. They tied a spring to his paw so he would salute. If you took the first 20 minutes of the movie Super 8, and played it as comedy, that's how I see this."
No production schedule was given. Alan Eisenstock's book was published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press last November.