INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM
OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
New Mexico...New Haven...New Indy
Following tradition on his movies, director Steven Spielberg broke out
bottles of Champagne and offered a toast as cameras got ready to capture the
first images of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." "It was
like we dropped back to the end of the last one," says producer Frank Marshall.
"It was exactly the same. The relationships, the creative atmosphere that was on
the set, the respect - all these elements were there once again."
"There wasn't one person there who didn't believe they were witnessing
magic," says co-producer Denis L. Stewart. "Everyone was so happy and full of
adrenaline just to see everyone together again making these movies. That
carried the day and helped us move through an aggressive schedule."
The first leg of production unfolded in the stunning and desolate desert
landscapes of New Mexico. From Ghost Ranch, the company traveled 300 miles
southwest to Deming. There, hangers at an old World War II Army Air base
were virtually unchanged since their heyday, and with a little set dressing and
some War-era army Jeeps and Soviet soldiers, the area was transformed to
provide the backdrop for the opening sequences of the movie.
From New Mexico, production traveled east to the home of Professor
Jones and Marshall College. "One of the challenges we had on this movie,"
Marshall explains, "was that we had established a lot of locations in the first three
movies which we had to duplicate." Indeed, the interior of the classroom in
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" was shot in London, while the exterior was shot at the
University of the Pacific in Northern California. For "Indiana Jones and the
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," the filmmakers would need to reproduce both.
The solution, says Marshall, was found at an iconic Ivy League school in New
The filmmakers were delighted to find the unique personality and flavor
for Marshall College at Yale University. "The exteriors were perfect for the
period, the classrooms were great and we had wonderful cooperation from the
university and the town," Marshall says. From the classroom to a motorcycle
chase through campus halls, quads and town, Yale and New Haven provided a
perfect backdrop for Professor Jones, Dean Stanforth and the introduction of
As the film's producer, it was easy, in the midst of production, to forget
that Indy's workplace had a very familiar name. "I started seeing 'Marshall'
everywhere when I got to New Haven' and then I realized that, way back on
'Raiders,' we had come up with the incredibly inventive name of Marshall
College," he jokes.
Some of the most critical and challenging sequences in the story take place
within the dense jungles of the Peruvian rainforest. "Iquitos is referred to as the
'Gateway to the Amazon,'" says screenwriter David Koepp. "It's the last city
before you move into intense jungle, the border where the wild and the civilized
meet. It's the perfect place for an Indiana Jones adventure to begin."
In a small town at the jungle's entrance, Indy and Mutt locate important
clues that draw them deeper into the mysteries of the Crystal Skull. While the
exterior of the town was shot on the Universal backlot transformed by
production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas into a dusty Peruvian street, the jungle
itself was a more difficult find. The filmmakers scouted far and wide for an ideal
location that would reflect that primeval forest.
"It's hard to find untouched jungle," co-producer Stewart says. "We
searched Mexico, Guatemala, South America, Puerto Rico." Finally the
production found what they were looking for a little closer to home. "We
looked all over for the right location, and finally decided to look at Hawaii."
The company found their jungle in the southeast corner of the Big Island
of Hawaii. On a private tract of land, under t
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