Paramount Leaks And Wishful Thinking
With the Filming of "The Fourth Installment of the Indiana Jones Adventures" now in Hawaii and not much news coming out this week since the sets in The Aloha State is sealed tighter then an ancient vault... there's nothing new to talk about. So maybe old rumors and fan conjecture is being recycled as current news... then again, maybe they're not.
Here I am, minding my own business trying to explain how the thread title "Japan: Worst Atomic Disasters Since Chernobyl?" and how it's just a tongue and cheek jab at how "The Media" likes to over-hype everything for ratings, when the rest of the Internet explodes. Folks might know by now that there's a huge news story coming out of IESB.net - "Many More Indy Adventures on Their Way!" Written by Stephanie Sanchez* that was posted on Monday, 16 July 2007..."
There have been rumors flying left and right about the new Indiana Jones adventure from the title to the plot.
But what about it’s future? The IESB got some really interesting information today from very well respected Paramount studio source that we thought we would share.
Shia LaBeouf, a break out star this year with a few small films under his belt like Disturbia, Surf’s Up and Transformers, has signed a four picture deal as the archeologist’s offspring. That’s right, he has signed on for 3 more Indiana Jones movies after this one!
Does this mean Harrison Ford is done with this franchise after this film? Apparently not! He signed a three picture deal, his final stint as the whip wielding adventurer will be a trilogy. This means they better crank out these films pretty quickly before it becomes Indiana Jones and the Hunt for His Prune Juice. He is getting on in years after all.
How solid is this intel? Not to be cheesy, but solid as a rock!
(Updated - July 20th, 2007: Earlier Stephanie Sanchez was in the by-line to this story on IESB, but now it's Robert Sanchez...)
When I read this, I almost fell of my chair because I heard this all before. In part because I wrote something about this earlier and elsewhere, but also because someone who tried to pass them selves off as a "Paramount Insider" tried to sell me on a similar story even before I went to work for The Indy Experience or posted on "Indy Gear's Club Obi-Wan." I didn't even wear a fedora back then, so there was nothing to signal that I'm a "Indy Fan."
This here is a rant that could be self-afferming reality manifesting itself as real news. This is an extraordinary story, one I doubt many people believe. The fact is, there are a lot of people who are pretending to be insiders, and there are even more who pretend they have Insider information... and yet even more people who want to believe the posers. Then there are people who really do work for these studios and release information just so they can feel more important then they really are. The risk is trying to tell who's for real and who's just making crap up to look good in the eyes of fellow fans. This is how I got sucked in to this "self-affirming reality" mess.
Back in October of 1999 I went out to L.A. for some possible job leads in CGI (Computer Generated Imagine and Animation) with what I thought was a pretty cool demo-disk. And it was, but I didn't use any of the big name software that studios were looking for such as "LightWave 3D" or Maya which was a software package everyone was talking about at the time that hadn't been released yet. (Who knows... I'm going on memory.) The chances of me actually getting a job at that time in Hollywood or movie making in general was pretty slim.
That Friday Night, I had some time to kill so I went for a walk down the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, bought a ticket for a late-night showing of "The Phantom Menace" and Mann's (which was once "Grumman's") Chinese Theater and then with three hours to kill I took a walk back around the Strip.
Now, I don't know L.A. or Hollywood that well, but down the street from The Chinese Theater, there's a News Stand that's pretty famous (it's been featured as back-ground scenery for some movies, TV shows, commercials and other print-ads) and across the street there's the almost equally famous eating and drinking establishment, and with out-door seating (I might be wrong, it could be up the street, or down the street... but it's the same general area.)
In typical Fisk fashion, I strike up a conversation with some people there. I talk to some other tourists (wanna-be actors, actresses and other artists who are either under or over qualified to work in the Hollywood Entertainment Industry.)
One of the people I talked to was a woman at another table who claimed that she worked for Paramount and she was busy working on some "Big Deals" and future projects. She wove this tale about the movies she's working on, dropping names of famous people and sequels...
She was telling me about "Britney Spears" and "Crossroads" or the chance to star in the sequel to Grease as the daughter of "Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta's characters," and with her boyfriend Justin Timberlake as the son of Jeff Conway and Stockard Channing...
This was some pretty far-off nonsense as far as I can tell, I could tell when she said that the woman who played "Frenchy" in the original was one of the Executive Producers. But, my rude (smart ass) gene was recessive that week and I just continued to listen to her while I ordered up another drink to go with my burger as she detailed part of the plot was about how Britney and Justin's characters attend Rydel High School during the height of the Disco Era, not knowing that their parents knew each other but were estranged since some "misunderstanding" or "plot-device type of blow-out" and towards the end, the cast of the original have to come back during a reunion that coincides with the younger casts prom, with a multi-generational dance-off and contrived coming together song and dance routine...
But, if Spears took the offer to do another movie called "Crossroads," then the odds of this flick being made would then be pretty slim. (No, I'm not going to host a link to where you can buy "Crossroads," Don't even ask or I'll buy one for you and then beat you to death with it... idiot!)
I'm really trying not to be rude, but I thought she was a crack-pot and I'm trying not to make eye contact. At this point I was looking at my watch and mentioned that I was going to catch the late night showing of "The Phantom Menace." This woman who claimed she was from Paramount switched gears and started in with (what I assume) with her drunken rant about what she "knew" about Indiana Jones.
She started to tell me that George Lucas was rambling on and on with Steven Spielberg about the Left Behind books and how he wanted to make another "Indiana Jones" trilogy, and this was perfect timing because George Lucas was dwelling on "Episode II" and "Episode III" of his Star Wars prequels and how could a charismatic figure distort history and current events and become "The Anti-Christ." She told me that George Lucas wanted to weave a tale that would include Roswell, Hanger 18, Aliens and how they fit into the bible, Israel becoming a nation again in 1948, End Times Prophecy, a man who wants to be The Anti-Christ... and Indiana Jones' roll in all of this since he was the one who found The Ark... since the recovery of The Ark is so vital to the End Times Biblical Lore... some point she throws out the title "Relics Of Megiddo"
At some point, I think it was after the second and last drink that the notion occurred to me that this woman knew me from my home town and was pulling my leg and I'm just waiting for her to say "Don't you know who I am? You knew me as... and now I'm a... here in L.A.!" The next minute I think she's telling the truth and it's just coincidence that she knows something about a movie or two that's interesting to me. Then, I'm thinking... I have to get out of here or I'll miss the movie. (It wasn't so much about "The Phantom Menace," but it was more about how this was a great chance to finally see what is simply the most famous Movie Theaters in the world...) I left after a brief good bye I went to The Chinese Theater and had a great time just exploring the theater before the movie, then again I wondered about before heading back to my grubby hotel that I wished was closer to the airport then it was. I'm also missing my new wife and I'm thinking this whole trip is one of the dumbest things I've ever done.
The woman who claimed she was from Paramount coined the name "Relics Of Megiddo." I didn't. It's not a title of my creation. I don't know if the "first" movie of this "Trilogy" is "Raiders Of The Relics Of Megiddo" or "Indiana Jones And The Relics Of Megiddo," or just plain ol' "Relics Of Megiddo." I don't know if she made it up right there on the spot, I don't know if I heard it right (I admit that I got the spelling wrong a few times.) I'm the first one to ever mention "Relics Of Megiddo" on other forums (including the now dispended "Lost Pages" and left little bread-crumbs in articles that I used to write for The Indy Experience (which you can read here...) in hopes that someone who knows what I'm talking about would PM me and say something. Is this woman for real, do they know her? Have they heard the same story, too?
This wasn't the highlight of my trip. I tried to put it out of my head for a long time, and there were so many other great stories about my trip out to L.A., meeting so many great people who got my demo-disk and like what they saw and gave me some great words of encouragement (Most notably, Paradise Studio gave me the most and best feed back.)
This is also when I learned that all major studios have people in there promotions and distributions office that monitor internet traffic and fan-sites to see if there are any copyright violations, big spoilers and other leaked information. This task is usually done by "Runners" or assistants and a few lower-level executives. I assume it's not their entire job... but it's one of their task. Just think, we "bloggers" and fan-boys have been entertaining our entertainers for almost a decade now!
Most notably, though... the biggest part of this trip in October of 1999 was really the end of my dream of ever working for any FX studio. It was then I really grasped the notion that if I was going to make it as a "Renderking" then I was going to have to go out on my own or freelance from home after I got some faster equipment and more powerful software...
Careful of who you blab too and who you believe...
I've told the whole story (what else can you call it besides a "story?") about the woman who claimed to be from Paramount to a few people. I can name off most of them off the top of my head, mostly as user-names from other forums. I've written many times of what I think the "Relics Of Megiddo" could be, it's connection to the first movie and what I know of biblical prophecy and other movies of this genre. (There's a point here that makes me think that I'm sort of making too much of a big deal about a conversation I had that only lasted a half an hour, 45 minutes tops.) At some point I became convinced that she was just another one of "us" who just wished she had inside information but was just a work-a-day schlub wishing she knew more then she really did...
... And people have tried to burn me before with what they think they know. Perfect example is the girl named Michelle that I met through on-line networking, who tried to convince me that her and her boyfriend John were set to star as "Young Indy" and "Young Marion" in a series of prequels and had been hand-picked PERSONALLY by George Lucas. There was someone who had this elaborate story about Mark Hamill playing a Catholic Priest and relic hunter who would play Harrison Ford's rival. Then there are the endless parade of stories that have popped up all over the internet about some plot points, like Kevin Costner playing Jones' half brother, Natalie Portman signing on to play Indy and Marion's daughter. People have speculated that the "McGuffin" would be The Tree Of Life, Excalibur... there was the "Indiana Jones And The Saucer Men" that brought Jones to Area 51 in Grooms Lake... or Hangar 18, the infamous hangar on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. All of which, even the ones reported by the main stream media between 1989 and now, all seem to be the work of a rabid fan with an over-active imagination that some how made it across the news desk of some editor with some time to kill during slow news cycles.
And then there were the accidental rumors - Aaron Gantt from "The Indy Experience" had an on-line chat with the admin of another forum and Aaron joked about how he wouldn't be surprised if "The Terminal" was just a cover for the making of the next Jones film. The admin turned around the next day and said that a "Reliable source claims "The Terminal" is a 'Blue Harvest' for 'Indy4,'" - which was then spun by a rival site as "Attention Getting Make-believe" (My paraphrasing...) I've known Aaron for more then 5 years, spoken to him on the phone countless of times and I can tell you he's a straight up guy who doesn't tolerate guff. I never caught Aaron in a lie, unless it was a prank and eventually he would say "gotcha!"
Same can't be said for me... on April Fools I sent him an instant message saying that Akurba/Hat's Direct would be the suplier of the fedoras in the next Raiders Sequel. I got so busy at work, I forgot to tell him April Fools, he trusted me... and ran the story on The Indy Experience. And then the story spread like crazy. The hardest thing I ever had to do was tell him the truth. He didn't speak to me for days. He tells me to this day that he's going to get even.
... Speaking of fedora's for this picture, this time I really do know the guy who's making them... and if you follow The Fedora Chronicles, you do, too. Nobody else deserves this success the way he does. Ironically, one of competitors and bitter rivals on-line "Big Liar Hatters" tried to con me into using The Fedora Chronicles to spread the word that he ("Big Liar Hatters") got the contract two summers ago. What comes around, goes around...
So, Aaron Gantt has a hard time believing anything I say with out some serious confirmation. When I shaved my goatee and told him, he DEMANDED I show him a picture. Even then he couldn't believe it. So, don't lie to your friends because they won't ever believe you next time you're telling the truth.
But, I totally admit that in some of the retellings of what happened, I embellished what I think "The Relics of Megiddo" could be. I totally cop to that. Much of I wrote about "Relics Of Megiddo" elsewhere is purely speculation and there were times that I didn't make it clear that it was speculation and not "facts," which may have given people the impression of something were just my thoughts and ideas were what was going to be in the fourth movie if they ever made it.
Succinctly - I was speculating and fleshing out the details about what could have just been the ramblings of a fellow fan who reads "Variety" and only wished she worked at Paramount. She had no idea I was a fan of "Raiders..." or it's sequels.
Self-Propelled Studio Fluff - Distributed by Fans Inc.
But some of the other stuff I have "Insider Knowledge" has indeed come around and backed up, most notably the fact that studios do indeed have people who monitor "fan site" posts and traffic. One example is "Trek United." I posted a couple of messages letting them know that Paramount does indeed monitor what goes on all of the "major" fan sites and they know what they (Trek United) are doing before they do it. At one point, after one of their campaigns failed.
- Paramount knew about the protest "Trek United" was going to have, and instructed their employees to use a different gate when leaving for the day.
- The Mailing Campaign with fancy flyers and letters was subverted when the folks in the mail room was told NOT to deliver Trek-Related junk-mail to executives and Paramount had rented extra dumpsters for the load they knew was coming...
After an "I told you so" post on the Trek United Forum, one of the staff members of Trek United "Gigglest" accused ME of being a "Paramount Insider" and had "proof." I'm still waiting to see that proof. (Yes, we here at Paramount Rumor and Spin Control have offices in Central New Hampshire! That's how we make sure the rabid fans can't find us!) Some of the Trek United members have also e-mailed me asking what I know, convinced that I am what they think I am...
Moderators from one of my favorite sites have told me that they've been slapped down by "The Studios Big Brother Division" for some things members have posted, and other times have thanked the staff of this site for making their job easier when production of a particular film began because of the resources they provided was actually BETTER then their archives. (Can't comment on which site though, I don't have permission and I don't want to piss these people off...)
Unreliable Reliable Sources on The Company Payroll?
Yes, I really met with a woman who claimed to work for Paramount Pictures and claimed she had knowledge of "The Next Sequel To Raiders Of The Lost Ark..." but I told this story not to say "Hey I met someone who's working on IndyIV," but to say "You wouldn't believe this chick who tried to pull my leg," and I don't talk about this often. I only bring up "Relics Of Megiddo" occasionally in hopes that someone else knows what I'm talking about. I really don't have any idea if George Lucas has read the Left Behind books. I don't think he's really that "into" Bibical Lore, since it was Philip Kaufman who brought up the idea of using The Ark Of The Covenant in the first movie. She could have been a member of Paramount's "Ministry Of Disinformation" for all I know. I digress...
For the longest time, I honestly believed that this woman was just making crap up and didn't know what she was talking about...
And then "Crossroads" was released...
And news stories started coming about the failed sequel to "Grease." Dee Dee Conn ("Frenchy") was named as one of the producers... I'm starting to believe I was rude to someone who knew what she was talking about...
But nobody ever came forward to say they have spoken to the same woman, nobody has ever had a similar story, and unless I wrote it on The Fedora Chronicles or other sites like The Indy Experience, The Lost Pages, an other Indy Forum and another George Lucas fan-site... nobody else has ever said anything about "Relics Of Megiddo." Ever.
Other people have told me that "The Tree Of Life" was the actual item to be used in the next film and were told by a reliable source at Paramount, others have said they were told "Excalibur" is the next 'artifact' and were told by a reliable source from Paramount. Yet another fan says he's been told by a reliable source that Paramount's Amusement Parks will have "Indy Themed" rides, or that Disney will. Others have said that "a reliable source from Paramount" has told them about new comics, an Animated series... I'm waiting for the next rumor from a reliable source that there will soon be a new breakfast serial called "Hovitos Crunch."
So, this brings me back to "IESB.net" and a "very well respected Paramount studio source" that's "solid as a rock!" I'm sitting here at my desk wondering if this is the same person that told me about George Lucas' "Left Behind" inspired new Indiana Jones Trilogy. Is it someone totally different? Or is this story just make-believe on the part of Miss Sanchez? I would really like to ask the folks at IESB a few questions about there source, and talk directly to Stephanie Sanchez, my self. I don't want to call her out as a liar and say she's making it up, because I want to believe her... but when MTV.com posts a statement from Lucasfilm’s Director of Publicity John Singh that this is just “Idle chatter among Internet fans...” I have to wonder while still wanting to believe Miss Shanchez. (Paramount and MTV are also owned by the same company... odd coincidence, isn't it? More Unreliable Reliable Sources?)
Self-Made Reality, Just add Water...
“Idle chatter among Internet fans," Mr. Singh said? I'm suddenly thinking back to all the people who I told about the out-door cafe`- bar conversation and how she claimed she had insider info about another "Indiana Jones" sequel. I'm thinking about how a few of them are folks I haven't spoken to in a while... three in particular. I'm also thinking about all the people who told me about what they've been heard from reliable (or sketchy) sources, granted, again, there are a few that I think are just making all of this up as they go along... if you catch my drift. I'm thinking that one of the three people I shared "Relics Of Megiddo" with could be the "Solid As A Rock" source Miss Sanchez mentions.
How much of this is just a manifestation of our combined wishes and speculation? We've said on countless occasions that there should have been more "Raiders Sequels" since 1989. Rather then celebrating the fact that they are filming this fourth movie (It's funny writing that, knowing that while I'm putting the finishing touches on this rant they're actually getting ready for another day of shooting...) we should be "celebrating" the fact that they are making the third or fourth since "Last Crusade."
And it's not like there isn't enough material: All faiths have some lost relics, human history is full of folk lore and legends that involve lost treasure and artifacts. And there's enough real intrigue from the World War II era, The History Channel never runs out of material about uncovered secrets of every aspects of the conflict, and there's a treasure trove of stuff Hitler was after and his true obsession with The Occult. Every studio, including Paramount, has made and will continue to make movies that are either historical fiction, pure fantasy, or based on true stories that happened during the 1930's, 1940's and World War II. And since George Lucas likes to plunder the pulps and serials of his childhood, there's plenty there since so much of it is now hosted On Line. We've discuss endlessly how there's so much more for this character, there's no end to what they could have done with this franchise.
It's almost a crime that they missed out on these opportunities during the 1990's with the sudden burst of boundless things they could have done with Digital Composing (bringing "real world" elements such as Models, actors on sound stages together with CGI-Effects,) between the time of "Jurassic Park" and "The Phantom Menace."
It also seems awkward that they have three movies that take place during a relatively short period of time, and then a fourth movie so many years later, one would think they're almost obligated to make a few more just to balance things out...
... and that's just repeating again what I've said through out the years, and maybe that's what little evidence we have that this is one of the results of posting of what we wish was true all these years. It's like the old adage - if you repeat something long enough to enough people, it becomes fact or truth. Have we, as fans of the original three movies, created our own reality? Has our combined wishful thinking created something "real?" Something that's now "solid as a rock?"
Before you answer that, think about this - many other news sites have reprinted the news item from IESB.net as if it's genuine and as a fact, and many of them have no mention at all of the denial printed on MTV.com. Could it be that so many other news outlets want this to be true, too?
I would still like to talk to Miss Sanchez because I mostly believe her. If she's reading this, she should know that and she's welcome to contact me. If for what ever reason our constant speculation and retelling the same stuff over and over again has become a self-afferming reality and I'm at fault to a point, then I have to apologize.
One of the 10 people I told about "Relics Of Megiddo" responds to this rant:
"looks like it backs up some of the stuff I was hearing... I know that without a doubt, Lucas does want to see the Indy-verse be expanded and he is actively looking for ways to do it. I also know that he is looking at someone else to take over the series (just like Star Wars) and he'll go into a storyteller role.
I know that Lucas was getting uber spiritual in the late 90's. So your drunk informer could've been telling you something that was true at the time. However, as both you and I know, the story has grown and changed tremendously over the last ten years.
July 20th, 2007
Robert Sanchez has posted an appology/retraction to his report "Many More Indy Adventures on Their Way!"
ADDENDUM - We’ve always had a great, special relationship with ILM and Lucasfilm and as a courtesy to Lucasfilm, Steven Spielberg, Paramount Studios and cast, we have decided that we will no longer to continue to report on story details or contractual obligations in regards to the Indiana Jones franchise or at least keep them to a bare minimum.
We apologize for any damage or harm we may have caused to the production and apologize to John Singh directly.
We understand that keeping the excitement and surprises under wraps for the fans is an important part of going to the movies.
Take a picture kids, Robert is apologizing…
As an aside, I don't think Robert needs to be doing much apologizing. If you got a news story from a reliable source about a subject you're passionate about and other people are, too... what would you do? I'm thinking now that someone is releasing tid-bits and rumors (facts that were true and pure make-believe) about this movie all these years just to keep fans interested and hopes held high... and there should be some sort of apologizing on their part. But then, that would mean that they would also have to admit to what they've been doing, or at least there are some overly ambitious employees who need to learn to keep secrets better. (But if they did that, then what would fans have left to talk about?)
People.com: Travolta, Olivia Sought for 'Grease 3' - Paramount is prepping another sequel to its 1978 monster musical hit "Grease," this time to feature the kids of Travolta and Newton-John's characters." By Stephen M. Silverman, May 5th, 2003.
More articles from Ren can be found here: The Rant Archive