We have threads on Indy 4 scribes Stuart, Darabont, Nathanson and Koepp. But Boam's attempt remains a mystery. Page 232 of the Complete Making of says,
More script discussions took place in August and September 1994, and Stuart turned in a revised draft on February 20, 1995. "I just didn't feel it was going to work," Lucas says, "and I started working with Jeff Boam." Jeffrey Boam ultimately produced three drafts, the last dated December 18, 1995, which was retyped in March 1996. At the time Boam said, "George is very happy with the script and Steven is happy with it, too, but the next step is to get Harrison on board." (Boam passed away in 2000.)
Then in July 1996 another movie came along that dealt with "saucermen." "When Independence Day was released and was this huge hit, Steven said, 'That was such a success I don't think we should do another one,'" Lucas says. "We had a script that I was happy with, Indiana Jones and the Saucermen. But Steven said, 'We're not doing a flying saucer movie, and that's it.' So I said, 'Okay, fine. But we're not going to do an Indiana Jones movie without aliens in it, because there's no point.' So I gave up and started doing Star Wars again."
Odd... Spielberg went from happy to "no saucers." It makes sense to imagine the nameless script is a Saucer Men rewrite. The book even says elsewhere the refrigerator scene was in the middle. But Lucas wanted that scene regardless of the MacGuffin. Thoughts?
I believe the official movie magazine makes an allusion to the Boam script when it talks about how there was "another" idea and Steven and Harrison asked if they could do the "other" thing and George said "No."
What's interesting is that the "Sword of Arthur" script originally surfaced as being written by Jeffrey Boam (later surfaced as written by Steven Frye and Michael Prentice) and dismissed as a fan script. I'm wondering if that's not what the "other" is referring to. Is it possible that Lucas not only dismissed the idea entirely but disavowed Boam's involvement and aliases were ascribed to it so that the fans would mistake it for a fan script? Granted the SOA script could use a few more re-writes and some polishing but the idea is in keeping with Boam's Arthurian themes established in Last Crusade. One has to wonder just what Boam had in mind specifically that was so different from Lucas' saucermen that he would flat out refuse the "other" thing and insist that his aliens idea be used no matter what.
The thing is, Steven obviously wanted to enjoy the experience the making of another Indy movie, and Harrison was ready to consider not ever doing one again, so he did just crumble to the idea in the end. Also, some of the scripts apparently allude to a flying saucer battle...at least that didn't happen on KOTCS.
McCallum said that there's a script that Lucas, Spielberg and Ford are all excited about but unfortunately McCallum can't see the start of the movie for at least another four to five years.
But this is also when McCallum said, "Watch the skies...and watch the desert." Meanwhile, Lucas revealed to Vanity Fair that he had all the writers working around the same MacGuffin.
I think we may be trying too hard to find a mystery here. We already know that the "Sword of Arthur" script was debunked by Cinescape, and that the true authors later came forward with the entire script. I always interpreted Lucas' comment about "Couldn't we try this instead" to be a very general one. (For example, "Why am I replying in this topic, couldn't I reply in that other one instead?")
Here's the rough outline that the Official Magazine provides:
Lucas basically told the others, "I've got this great idea for a film called Indiana Jones and the Attack of the Flying Saucers". His explanation was that it should be a 1950s B movie, and that he thought Earth vs. The Flying Saucers was the best one to emulate. "Saucermen" is basically that script, and features aliens running around in the desert and giant saucer battles with the Air Force.
This is what Ford and Spielberg did not have any interest in. As Ford says in the magazine, he always felt the goofy, mystical stuff was justified by the way it was tied in to ancient civilizations...and that a movie about flying saucers didn't really fit with what they'd done before. This is why Darabont- and perhaps Boam- reworked the idea to be centered around an ancient culture instead.
James, great work unearthing and explaining 1990's Indy news. I remember pieces of it, and dug up what I could find on Corona. Lucas on page 27 of the official magazine (which I wish someone would scan) does suggest Boam rewrote Stuart. And Lucas has proved stubborn with this alien theme.
Still, we know two writers attampted Indy 3 from different angles at the same time, yet Diane Thomas is never mentioned. And there's that grail research request in the Complete Making Of where Lucas okays searching for more Christian artifacts. Who knows what all has been considered, even slightly.
It's just a few paragraphs... I should have written them down at the bookstore. Not gonna pay (another) $10 for it. Seems like everything else from that magazine made it to the Raven.
Here's the quote from "Compete Making Of," page 251 from Lucas: "We ended up putting the atom bomb scene that Jeff Boam and I had in the middle at the head of the movie."
Also page 185 from Debbie Fine, September 1984: "Should I abandon search for other Christian artifact if you are only interested in the grail." Lucas circled "No." (Ah, that's the joy of writing Indy... you start to sound indistinguishable from your fictional crusaders.)
Do we know for sure that Boam wrote an actual screenplay?
I think it is possible that maybe he just wrote a treatment, treatment being considerably shorter. Maybe just tossing around ideas with Uncle George, putting some things on paper, an outline if you will. Are we positive that Boam wrote a whole script?
I'm looking at my copy of Cinescape's "Sequel Mania" (2000), and they have a line about the Boam script here: "Way back in 1996, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade screenwriter Jeffrey Boam turned in a script for a new film, which sources within Lucasfilm confirmed followed the intrepid archeologist's search for the lost city of Atlantis."
Did Cinescape get punk'd or was there a "there" there?
I believe another MacGuffin was considered, though doubtfully Atlantis.
From page 233 of the Complete Making Of:
Spielberg: "[By February 2000] George and I had put a couple of ideas into the works, we had toyed around with a couple of conceptual notions, but we really hadn't thrown ourselves body and soul into the process."
Ford: "The three of us never agreed on one of the notions that were advanced over the years."
It seems to me what arose out of this creative process was a pretty smart blend of ideas. Compromise was essential.
The turning point seemed to come when Lucas suggested the idea of the crystal skull to "ground" the idea.......and now they could explore the avenues of extraterrestrials visiting an ancient culture - which for all intents and purposes, seems more "Indiana Jones" to me.
JB: “I’ve been working on a fourth installment of ‘Indiana Jones.’ I’m just about done with the first draft. Somebody else had also tried their hand at it, and it didn’t work out too well.”
DP: THEY ALWAYS KEEP COMING BACK TO YOU, JEFFREY.
JB: “It’s nice, you know. Actually, George Lucas came to me to do this first, and I was busy writing a movie called ‘The Phantom.’ So I couldn’t do ‘Indy,’ because I had to do that, and when I finished that, George came back to me and said, ‘It didn’t really work out with the other writer, are you available?’
“And, it turned out, I was. Now I’m working on that, and it looks like ‘The Phantom’ might get made also, because Paramount just hired a new director on that project: Simon Wincer. He’s a good director, and he has a long history with ‘The Phantom’ -- he tried to get a movie made about 10 years ago in Australia. It’s very big in Australia; this character’s kind of a cult hero in Australia. Nobody can understand why, but that’s how it is.”
DP: WHEN WILL THEY START SHOOTING THE “INDY” MOVIE?
JB: “Well, it’s conceivable that it could be the movie that Steven (Spielberg) does next. It could go very quickly. George has seen most of the first draft; we put off the first 15 pages because we weren’t really sure what we wanted to do there. So I gave him everything but the first 15 pages, and he’s very happy with that. So I know we’re well on the road to having the script that he likes. And generally when he likes it, Steven’s not far behind. And once Steven’s on board, Harrison (Ford) is much easier to snag, as well.
“But with these people it’s always a big problem getting all these big paydays dealt with. But I find that on both the ‘Lethal’ and ‘Indy’ films there’s a tremendous amount of team spirit and loyalty amongst the principals. They don’t like the idea of anybody else doing it but them. So if it looks like ‘Indy’ is going to get made -- of course you could cast somebody else besides Harrison Ford, if you HAD to -- but Harrison wouldn’t dream of that. ... So these guys play hard-to-get, but then if it looks like the thing’s going to on without them, they go nuts.”
DP: ANY HINTS AS TO WHAT THE “INDY” THING’S ABOUT?
JB: “It’s set in the ’50s, I’ll tell you that. And Harrison will play his own age. A considerable amount of action. We have him (Sean Connery character) back, for kind of a cameo. I’d love to tell you more, but George is secretive about these things.
“Whatever the ’50s conjur up, that’s probably what this is about. That’s all I’ll say. I think you’ll kind of automatically grasp what the story is if you just think about what the ’50s is about and how it might relate to Indy.
“It’s not about Elvis, though.”
In retrospect it seems so excessive and absurd that there were all these different (ultimately failed) attempts at scripts for Indy IV over such a long period of time. (The whole situation seems even weirder if you consider all the talented people who once worked on an Indy IV script and think about what we ended up with. It's almost funny to think about now.)
As far as Jeffrey Boam is concerned.
Here's some interesting bit from Carlton Cuse's imdb page: "He started his career in feature films working first as a development executive then formed a partnership with feature writer, Jeffrey Boam. Working with Boam, Cuse helped develop the films Lethal Weapon 2, Lethal Weapon 3 and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."
I love this. I can only imagine, though, that "helped develop" means Cuse was working as Boam's assistant or in a similar capacity. (Who knows if it's even true. There's nothing resembling a source on the imdb page after all. But the sheer thought that one of the minds behind Lost AND Tom Stoppard are both connected to Last Crusade fills me with joy...)