Hi Joe and Denise,
I know all Indyfans were excited to see that there
was an "Indiana Jones Handbook", as
the authors of it, is this really everything you
need to be to be like Indy?
Everything except maybe a healthy lack of respect
for one human life—your own. We definitely
don’t recommend trying this at home.
D’Agnese: I would
say it’s everything an “armchair archaeologist”
needs to be like Indiana Jones.
And please stay in your armchairs.
One would have to have a "vivid
imagination" to come up with such perilous
situations like Indy gets in, is it preparedness
that gets him out or a lot of luck?
Cover of The
Indiana Jones Handbook
Certainly having become an expert in his field—and
several languages, both living and dead—give
him a lot more know-how to draw from than the
average guy. Of course, even with all his smarts,
he still forgets (at first) how to spell Jehovah.
But I would say that lot of luck comes into play.
I agree. He does what a lot of experts do when
they’re confronted with a problem. He “pattern-matches.”
He says, “Tarantula, fangs, skin…I
know what to do.” But having said that,
when he is surprised himself at how well something
has worked out, those are some of his best moments
That’s where he’s his most charming,
too, when we’re reminded as an audience
that he’s kind of a regular guy making things
up as he goes along.
If you had to pick just one
of the situations that are in this book that you
would not want to try and get out of, which would
I’ve got to go with escaping from the Wrath
of God because come on, who wouldn’t want
to take at least one little peek?
I would never want to have to crawl under a moving
truck driven by homicidal Nazis.
When it comes to the "crawling
critters"; snakes, rats, bugs and others
- is there anything the book doesn't cover?
Let’s see, we cover tarantulas, snakes,
crocodiles, rats and insects in general. We even
warn of the adorable charms of monkeys. They can’t
And the horrors of giant vampire bats!
I don’t think we missed anything. I’m
sure someone will be quick to point out if we
In fact, we mention a few critters most people
won’t think about until they see the new
Now to make sure these ideas
work, you have diagrams throughout the book to
show the steps one should take, like how to crack
a whip, get out of quicksand, etc. Did you leave
the rubber raft as a parachute up alone or actually
investigate that type of "escape", with
dummies or something non perishable?
We didn’t touch that one. A lot of movie
magic went into that escape.
We had the raft. I just couldn’t get Denise
out of the plane.
How were you approached to write
this book and what was your initial reaction?
Chapter 1: Expedition Essentials
We had recently written a similar how-to book
for the same publisher, Quirk, that was based
on…Can I double-up on the plugs here?
Sure, be crass.
It was 24: The Official
CTU Operations Manual. So the publisher
asked if we wanted to employ a similar how-to
approach to the Indiana Jones movies and we were
pretty quick to say yes. We love love love the
movies. Writing this was a lot of work, but a
lot of fun.
And an excuse to watch the movies again, this
time taking notes.
Like we need an excuse…
Does being a big Indyfan help
crafting this handbook?
I don’t think a non-fan would have brought
the same level of enthusiasm to this.
We’re very grateful as writers to have worked
on this project.
Really, who isn’t a fan of Indiana Jones?
Was most of the research done
by watching and rewinding the DVDs?
I wouldn’t say most, although we did that
A LOT. We had access to Lucasfilm’s private
Indiana Jones database, which contains all things
It was an incredible resource.
also did the usual: Books, websites, and some
interviews with experts.
The section on avoiding the "wrath
of God" is a must read, do you think that
shutting your eyes was viable solution to avoiding
we know is that Indy and Marion closed their eyes
and were relatively unharmed. Those who chose
to look went the way of an LP on the dashboard
in August. And remember, the official reports
on the events of that day have been hermetically
sealed and locked away. We couldn’t get
I will remind you that this piece of advice dropped
from the lips of Doctor Jones himself, so it must
be treated as gospel.
Indiana Jones has said that he
"makes it up as he goes", were there
ever times you looked at the section you were
writing and maybe had a better way to get out
of a situation that was done onscreen?
a rope bridge
Wow…Good question. I think we were able
to better elaborate on how he handled situations,
not necessarily provide better alternatives for
handling them. Although, I have to say, he really
should have never eaten or drank anything in the
presence of Hong Kong gangster Lao Che. We do
go into that a bit in the chapter titled “How
to Survive If You Are Poisoned.” But that’s
not really a better way to handle the situation,
that’s more about how to avoid it in the
I also liked that we were able to unearth and
finally explain in delicious detail certain tricks
or skills that he did that most viewers never
saw on screen. The most famous example is how
he managed to survive clinging to a submarine’s
periscope in Raiders.
What other projects are you involved
Joe and Denise:
The 24 book came
out several months ago and will be around when
the new season starts. And if you really want
to geek out with us—and we’re pretty
geeky—we published a laymen’s guide
to chemistry for the Smithsonian that’s
in stores, titled Science
101: Chemistry. (It’s actually funny
how many times research for that book overlapped
with Indy!) And right now we are currently working
on two books: One is a lighthearted look at the
56 signers of the Declaration of Independence,
the other is a personal finance guide for the
self-employed, titled Feed
Where can Indyfans learn more
about your work?
Joe and Denise:
We have a very small, lame website, www.joedenise.com,
that highlights just a little bit of our work.
And we have a personal finance blog for anyone
who is self-employed, freelance or otherwise independently
employed, titled “Freelance Finance”
Will you be in line for Indiana
Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
to see if any of your handbook ideas work onscreen
or have you read the whole script?
Joe and Denise:
The stormtroopers wouldn’t let us
see the script. We will DEFINITELY be on line
Thank you very much for your
time, and where can Indyfans find the Indiana
Joe and Denise:
Online, and at all major bookstores. Thanks, Mitchell.
There you have it Indyfans,
everything you ever wanted to know about becoming
Indiana Jones in a trusty handbook. Now get out
there and start practicing!