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Aug. 22nd, 2006 06:08 pm Indiana Jones and lost McGuffin

This interview is lifted from Empire Magazine http://www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp?NID=19382&page=2 The term "McGuffin" is lifted from Sir Alfred Hitchcock. A "McGuffin" is a thing that helps move a plot along in a movie. The McGuffin in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was the Ark of the Covenant. This is the information that Empire Magazine received from George Lucas;

Setting one of the Indiana Jones triumvirate to talk about the fourth sequel is a rare opportunity, but getting George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford to spill at the same time is as infrequent as finding a needle in a haystack under some hen's teeth on a blue moony night at the end of a month of Sundays.

But Empire was lucky enough to speak with the trio as part of our massive Indiana Jones 25th anniversary celebrations and it seems that Indy IV is going to be a tad controversial.

“We’re basically going to do The Phantom Menace”, says Lucas (stay with him here, he’s making a point). “People’s expectations are way higher than you can deliver. You could just get killed for the whole thing…We would do it for fun and just take the hit with the critics and the fans...But nobody wants to get into it unless they are really happy with it”.

The ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situation has freed up an idea for a plot that was originally deemed too incendiary.

“I discovered a McGuffin,” continues Lucas, still reluctant to name said McGuffin. “I told the guys about it and they were a little dubious about it, but it’s the best one we’ve ever found… Unfortunately, it was a little too ‘connected’ for the others. They were afraid of what the critics would think. They said, “Can’t we do it with a different McGuffin? Can’t we do this?” and I said “No”. So we pottered around with that for a couple of years. And then Harrison really wanted to do it and Steve said, “Okay”. I said, “We’ll have to go back to that original MacGuffin and take out the offending parts of it and we’ll still use that area of the supernatural do deal with it”.

“Hopefully it will be different in all the right ways and the same in all the familiar ways,” adds Spielberg.

As for timing, Lucas says that filming is scheduled for mid-2007, for a 2008 release but getting the gang back together is a tricky proposition. “Before I was just working with Steven and Harrison. Now everybody’s a superstar, so it’s a little bit more difficult than it was then”. “But there’s a good chance it will happen,” assures Ford. “There are things left for this character to do”.

So what could the McGuffin be?
A holy artifact from Islam?
Perhaps Indiana Jones decodes the DaVinci Code?
How about "Indiana Jones meets the Exorcist?"

Given that Paramont owns both franchises, perhaps "Lara Croft is the lovechild of Indiana Jones?"

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Date:August 23rd, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)

The MacGuffin

I don't know if it's my late afternoon scotch or the incoherence of Lucas, et.al., but if you don't know what a MacGuffin is you'll not decipher it from the above post. Simply put, it's the point of the plot that has no point. Want to understand more? You'll have to ask me. This old man knows and taught Hitchcock well. However, it might co$t you.

Date:August 28th, 2006 12:50 am (UTC)

Re: The MacGuffin

Thanks Martin, the Professor of McGuffin, coming soon from the new MacDonalds!
Date:August 25th, 2006 06:32 am (UTC)


This might be a bit off topic but it reminds me of a Hitchcock interview in which he discussed some of his early experiences with suspense as a schoolboy.

If a student broke a rule the teacher would say "Take three." It meant three hard slaps to the wrist using a ruler, I think. More than three had no value because the wrist would become too numb. But it would be done on the next school day.

The condemned could choose the time of day to receive punishment. If the sentence was handed out on a Monday morning at 8 AM the hapless student immediately resolved to finish the torture as early as possible on Tuesday morning. He would sweat it out for 24 hours, and when Tuesday morning arrived he would invariably put it off until later and later in the school day and always end up getting it just before final daily dismissal late in the afternoon.

Sometimes the sentence would be handed out on a Friday morning, so the torment would last the entire weekend and through most of Monday. It was even worse if the judgment went against a student on the morning of the day before the long Christmas or Spring breaks.

North Star
Date:August 28th, 2006 12:54 am (UTC)

Re: Hitch

Gee...with all these beatings at the McGuffin Academy, I'm glad I spent the last few days in DisneyWorld! I actually saw a father discipline his daughter the old fashioned way.

Thans for vising North Star!