Shyamalan Once Pitched a Dark ‘Indiana Jones’ to Spielberg
Art and Experience:
Rise, dark Indy!
Steven Spielberg‘s reach is far inside Hollywood. He’s the most popular filmmaker ever, and his movies inspired lots of filmmakers to start their careers. One of the most prominent is M. Night Shyamalan. Shyamalan has built a career working in a similar vein as Spielberg, focusing on genre movies that take the audience on a ride. Given all that overlap, it’s a wonder these two filmmakers haven’t worked together.
Well, in a recent interview with Collider, Shyamalan talked about how he wanted to work on the Indiana Jones franchise. It was before Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out, and Shyamalan actually sat down with Spielberg to pitch.
He had “a darker idea” for where the franchise should go, though it never progressed beyond early discussions.
Shyamalan said, “Obviously, Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite movie of all time, and so this was a dream, to be asked as a kid to go see a movie in a movie theater and then later to be asked by that person to write one of those in the future. I could faint at that moment. It was amazing. I do have my notebooks; I still have those with all my ideas for that movie. I did have a take. I talked to everybody involved and it was so nascent at that time, that movie. Everyone hadn’t gotten into a room yet. They were bouncing ideas off of me. So everyone had different ideas of what to do. When you say that, I have in my head, it’s a green notebook, and I had this idea. It was a darker idea.”
According to the interview, Shyamalan never really fleshed out his pitch for the producers, and maybe that’s a good thing. I’d love to see what kind of dark explorer movie he could do outside of the burden of carrying the franchise, though it would have been cool to see what he could have added to the character.
The next Indiana Jones installment comes from James Mangold and is currently shooting now, with the movie planned for release on July 29, 2022. Harrison Ford is reprising his role as the adventurer alongside Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, and Thomas Kretschmann.