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Indiana Jones was inspired by Toshiro Mifune

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    Vili Maunula

    Video essayist Jack Nugent, known for his Now You See It channel on YouTube, has recreated some discussions that took place between George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg and Larry Kasdan when they were brain storming ideas for the first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, in January 1978. It is an interesting peek into the creative processes of these three men.

    It is particularly interesting to note that as they begin to sketch the character, Toshirō Mifune’s samurai characters from Kurosawa’s films function as one of the core starting points for what would become one of the most iconic film characters of all time.

    Lucas: …The thing with this is, we want to make a very believable character. We want him to be extremely good at what he does, as is the Clint Eastwood character or the James Bond character. James Bond and the man with no name were very good at what they did. They were very, fast with a gun, they were very slick, they were very professional. They were Supermen.

    Spielberg: Like Mifune.

    Lucas: Yes, like Mifune. He’s a real professional. He’s really good. And that is the key to the whole thing. That’s something you don’t see that much anymore.

    Spielberg: And one of the things that really helped Mifune in all the Kurosawa movies is that he was always surrounded by really inept characters, real silly buffoons, which made him so much more majestic. If there are occasions where he comes up against, not the arch-villain, but the people around him shouldn’t be the smartest…

    Lucas: Well, they shouldn’t be buffoons. The one thing we’re going to do is make a very good period piece, that is realistic and believable. A thirties movie in the, even in the Sam Spade genre. Even in the Maltese Falcon there were some pretty goofy characters, but they were all pretty real in their own bizarre way.

    Later on, they also talk about how Indy’s whip is basically like a samurai sword.

    You can watch and listen to a video re-enactment or read the original transcript at the Now You See It Patreon page.

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