Thanks to the amazing Jonathan London, we were fortunate to schedule an interview with Chris Strompolos days before the UK premiere of his extraordinary RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: THE ADAPTATION. Now, I haven’t yet had a chance to watch the film (I will soon), but this one-of-a-kind cult classic is quickly building a reputation as the greatest kid movie of all time. Indeed, it was at the tender age of 10–shortly after watching RAIDERS for the first time–that Chris and one of his buddies took it upon themselves to remake the film with whatever means they had available to them at the time. Armed with Betacam and VHS equipment, and using the Lawrence Kasdan script as their bible, it took them seven years to complete this tour-de-force of a feature, which Chris then shelved for years (he thought no one would ever want to watch it, and didn’t even tell his wife he’d made it!). As fate would have it, the film was somehow rediscovered by Eli Roth, and eventually made its way to the desk of Steven Spielberg, who was so enthralled by it that he sent Chris a letter to congratulate him on his accomplishment, and tell him how much he was inspired by it. Chris showed me the letter. It’s warm, genuine and affectionate–in short, it’s everything you’d expect coming from SS.
The rest, as they say, is history. RAIDERS: THE ADAPTATION is finally gaining the momentum it deserves, and one can only hope that it will eventually be released on DVD. It’s an extraordinary achievement in the art of perseverance (and, yes, filmmaking); and something that should be preserved for future generations as an example of what a couple of kids with no resources and a burning passion can achieve. Needless to say, our interview focused primarily on Indiana Jones, and we chatted a great deal about Crystal Skull and the state of the franchise.
That same afternoon, we also had the privilege to interview Joe Nussbaum, director of GEORGE LUCAS IN LOVE–probably the single most discussed and famous SW-related fan film to date. He had wonderful stories to share, including that of an impromptu handshake with George himself at the Telluride Film Festival. But when Joe disappeared for a few minutes and came back to show us a 10-page stapled booklet of the STAR WARS story that he illustrated when he was five years old, we all simply melted. Not to mention that I’m really excited to use these early sketches to introduce Joe in our film.
A special day indeed, filled with stories of love and admiration for a creator whose existence we should all be grateful for. Both Chris and Joe have had extraordinary journeys as filmmakers, and both acknowledge that they wouldn’t be where they are today, or wouldn’t have done what they did, if George hadn’t inspired them to become filmmakers in the first place. On days like these, I simply couldn’t care less about the abomination of Dexter Jettster, or the Midichlorians. On days like these, I realize that George’s legacy lives on in magical ways that he himself could never have foreseen. On days like these, all I can say or think is: “I love you, George!”