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The Last Crusade: An Oral History
The third Indy movie in the words of the people that made it

A Race Against Evil

"He wanted to talk to me about a film. I had no idea it was Indiana Jones."
Sean Connery
Steven Spielberg: We went back again to that whole storyline about the Monkey King from Chinese mythology. We had a really good ghost story set in a Scottish castle - it was going to be Indiana Jones and ghosts. We even had a story about Indiana Jones and Tibet. Then George came up with the idea that Indiana Jones goes after the Holy Grail. I immediately said, "Does that mean that jugular-biting white rabbits are going to come flying out of caves?" As far as I'm concerned, the Holy Grail remains defined by the Pythons. And George said, "This is going to be serious."

George Lucas: With Last Crusade, we decided to go back to our roots. We came back to the Holy Grail - I call it the 'Chalice From The Palace' - which we had rejected a couple of times as being too ethereal. It had to have some power, so we invented qualities to make it important.

Frank Marshall (Producer): Crusade wasn't a reaction to the darkness of Temple Of Doom, it was just the third part of the trilogy. Everybody signed on to do three movies. George and Steven were always thinking ahead to what the next movie was going to be, and certainly had the addition of Indy's father in mind.

Harrison Ford: We wanted to progress the character, to get to know him better, find new levels within him. Of course, the action got bigger and better, but it was about going places with the character. One of the things I love about the third film is that it is a relationship film, between a son and a father. Who's going to come save you, junior?

Spielberg: The dad thing was my idea. The Grail doesn't offer a lot of special effects and doesn't promise a huge physical climax. I just thought that the Grail that everybody seeks could be a metaphor for a son seeking reconciliation with a father and a father seeking reconciliation with a son. It also gave me a chance to suggest Sean Connery. Who else but Bond could have been worthy enough to play Indiana Jones' dad?

Ford: There were some other thoughts. There was an early concept of Indiana's father as a wise old Yoda type. I don't think that would have worked as well as having somebody of the strength of Sean.

Sean Connery: I was doing a film with Peter Hyams, The Presidio. Peter knows Steven, and said that he wanted to talk to me about a film. I had no idea it was Indiana Jones.

Kathleen Kennedy (Associate Producer): With Bond being the inspiration behind the whole series to begin with, it was just a great way to pull that all together.

Connery: They had to be very sure what they were going for. A more academic-type casting would have been somebody like Gregory Peck, but you needed somebody that Harrison could bounce off. Henry had to be something pretty special to produce Indy. Also, he had to be something different. When Indy says, "You never talked to me," I say, "Well, you weren't interesting until you were 19." Which is right below the belt, but probably right on the nose.

Spielberg: It was an emotional story but I didn't want to get sentimental. Their disconnection from each other was the basis for a lot of comedy. And it gave Tom Stoppard, who was uncredited, a lot to write. Tom is pretty much responsible for every line of dialogue.

Connery: I got on famously with Steven, and speak with him often. There was no seduction talk, no movie-star stuff. And Harrison's a pro, he's terrific. We got a really good relationship going.

John Rhys-Davies (Sallah): It was very interesting to see the way that the very determined, assertive young Harrison had matured into the laidback superstar who allowed himself to be upstaged by a man he obviously adored and revered. I mean, as alpha males go, Connery really in his time has to be the ultimate.

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