Revisiting the World of Indiana Jones


In the 1980s Indiana Jones was spunky and adventurous—traversing Egypt, Asia and Germany in search of fantastical treasures. He fought off Nazis and a Shankara cult with the crack of his infamous whip. His journeys, like Indy himself, represented all that was exotic, forbidden and beyond the reach of his fellow Americans. Now, as he returns to the big screen, Dr. Jones isn’t taking audiences outside of the States… technically.

“What fun is that?” you ask. Well, it’s safe to say that if you haven’t already seen his hunt for the Crystal Skull, you’ve seen previews and know at the very least that Cate Blanchett leads a band of Soviets against the famous adrenaline-seeking archaeologist. Obviously his latest hunt once again leads him outside of the country, but with that movie magic, the production didn’t have to travel all that far to remain believable. In fact, writer-director Spielberg and company spent their time in just four states: California, Connecticut, Hawaii and New Mexico.

“One of the challenges we had on this movie,” explains producer Frank Marshall, “was that we had established a lot of locations in the first three movies which we had to duplicate.” One of which was the classroom and university of Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr. (more commonly known as Indy). In the previous films, interiors were shot in London and exteriors in California. This time around, Connecticut served to replicate Indy’s home base, with Yale University’s Marshall College suited up inside and out. The state, which offers a 30 percent tax rebate on all qualified expenditures for motion picture and digital media productions, has also played host to 2003’s Mona Lisa Smile and the upcoming 2008 summer sequel The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.

But while Connecticut is useful in such academic and rather tame situations, everyone who knows of Indiana Jones knows two things for sure: He hates snakes and he loves adventure. For this, the producers turned to Hawaii, which would pass for the Peruvian rainforest that draws Indy and his young friend (played by Shia LaBeouf). “It’s hard to find untouched jungle,” says co-producer Denis L. Stewart. “We searched Mexico, Guatemala, South America, Puerto Rico… We looked all over for the right location, and finally decided to look at Hawaii.”

“The Hawaii location became an excellent place for us to pull off some very difficult scenes,” says Marshall. “We had a lot of action, a lot of stunts with the actors themselves, so it was important to be in a place where we could pretty much operate without any outside interference.”

For those interior scenes, the production team set its sights back on California. From the fictional Peruvian town to Indy’s house and a series of cave tunnels, the soundstages of Universal and Downey Studios would serve as weather- and interference-proof locations for the top secret project. Other production locations included the backlot of Paramount Studios and a bunker in New Mexico.

For more information on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, visit www.indianajones.com.

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