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Temple of Doom: An Oral History
The key players tell you how they put together the Indy sequel. It's the dark one, you know.

Holy Smoke! Crash Landings!

"I think Temple Of Doom was ahead of its time for my own sensibility and exactly right on schedule for George's. George was going through a dark period."
Steven Spielberg
Kate Capshaw (Willie Scott): Temple Of Doom is the forgotten Indiana Jones movie. I was laughing with someone when they re-issued it as a three-pack. I said, "Thank goodness it's a three-pack, or we wouldn't have made the cut."

George Lucas: You learn a million things on every movie. Obviously, in the sequels, we struggled to keep things going. It's not like Star Wars, which is basically one story cut off into a number of little pieces. These were real sequels that actually had no connection to the one before.

Steven Spielberg: I think Temple Of Doom was ahead of its time for my own sensibility and exactly right on schedule for George's. George was going through a dark period. He certainly inspired [Irvin] Kershner to shoot a very dark second act in the first Star Wars trilogy and he wanted the second Indiana Jones to be very, very, dark. And I wasn't there. I'm certainly there now in my filmmaking, as you've probably witnessed ever since Schindler's List. Before that, it was a bit of a struggle against common sense to go as dark as we did.

Lucas: Part of it was I was going through a divorce, Steven had just broken up and we were not in a good mood, so we decided on something a little more edgy. It ended up darker than we thought it would be. Once we got out of our bad moods, which went on for a year or two, we kind of looked at it and went, "Mmmmm, we certainly took it to the extreme." But that's kind of what we wanted to do, for better or worse.

Spielberg: We all collaborated together - the screenwriters, Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz, George and I - in writing the screenplay, so it wasn't like I was on the outside under protest. But it really went against my nature in the '80s.

Heaven Knows, Anything Goes

Lucas: We made Temple Of Doom a prequel because we didn't want to use the same bad guys. We had ideas about the Monkey King. We had ideas for a haunted-castle movie but then Steve had just done Poltergeist and said, "I don't wanna do that again." We were struggling to come up with another MacGuffin. We couldn't find anything as good as the Lost Ark. We ended up with the Sankara Stones, which was a little obscure.

Capshaw: There's nothing like a Nazi for a bad guy. We didn't have a great bad guy.

Roshan Seth (Chattar Lal): I wasn't really able to deliver the role of Chattar Lal. What Spielberg wanted was an Oxford-educated Indian smoothie who was a crook. If I were to play it now, I would really know how to play that. I didn't at that time.

Capshaw: I think we were constantly stretching and reaching to be as brilliant as the first one and we just didn't have the story. We had children at risk - where's the fun in that? There were also 100 more screams than we needed.

I'm Allowing You To Tag Along

Capshaw: I think George and Steven had been looking for "the girl" - by the way, even while we made the movie they always referred to her as "the girl" - and the casting director suggested me because I had just come out to Los Angeles and there is always heat surrounding the new girl. At that time, I didn't 'do' sequels. And I didn't 'do' action adventure. For my screen test - with Steven, not Harrison - it was a scene between Willie and Indy where she's really hungry. It's difficult to find audition scenes when there's so much action. You can't just go in and yell.

Spielberg: I went to see Harrison and said, "I have 19 girls on tape but I'm only going to show you one." I put Kate's tape in and he immediately said, "That's the one!"

Seth: I had the terrible hots for Kate Capshaw!

Jonathan Ke Quan (Short Round): I had never been on a movie set. My brother went to the open call for Short Round so I tagged along, and the casting director asked me to read for him. I couldn't even pronounce the words. The next day we got a call from Steven's office. I remember my mom dressing me in a three-piece suit. I didn't know who Steven, George or Harrison were. I hadn't seen Raiders Of The Lost Ark and I didn't even know this was a sequel. After the shoot, Steven screened all his movies for me.

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