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TheRaider.net Features Interviews Brandon Kleyla
 
Brandon Kleyla interview
by Mitchell Hallock - posted on Dec. 17, 2007
 
Brandon Kleyla

This summer saw the launch of two Indiana Jones films. One, the long awaited Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull starring Harrison Ford and the other is Indyfans and the Quest for Fortune and Glory, a docu about Indiana Jones fans made by "Indy Fans".

The film is a labor of love by filmmaker/actor, Brandon Kleyla, who set out this year to make Indyfans, to be the ultimate retrospective on Indiana Jones. Our paths crossed this June when Brandon flew to New Haven, CT, to document the filming of Indy 4 and interview Indy fans, including myself, on location. Now, I turned the tables on Brandon for this exclusive interview on Indyfans and the Quest for Fortune and Glory.

 

Brandon, can you tell me when you first discovered the character of Indiana Jones?

It was 1989. I was still living in Florida, close to Disney world. When MGM Studios opened I remember my parents wanting to see this show called the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. I was only 6 at the time, and I remember watching the opening boulder scene and crying my eyes out because it was so loud. I had no idea what I was watching. When we got back home, I was quickly sat down to Raiders of the Lost Ark and that was the beginning of my long love for Indiana Jones.

What attracted to you to Indiana Jones and these films as opposed to other film heroes?

click to enlarge
Brandon (as Indy) and other fans at the 2007 San Diego Comic Con.

I would honestly say the stunt show at DisneyWorld in Florida. Being 6 when introduced to the character, I really loved the fact that I could go and SEE that excitement and adventure in front of me. And as far as I was concerned, that was Indiana Jones in front of me. For a little kid, being able to meet Indiana Jones was pretty darn cool. Not only that, but that was really my first introduction to seeing how movies were made. I really give Disney and the Indy show a lot of credit for me wanting to learn more about making movies!

What is your connection to the Indiana Jones fan base? Collector? Film buff?

I really only became involved with the Indy fan base about 5 or 6 years ago. Before that, I didn't know there really was a fan base. I just assumed it was my Dad and I. Once the Internet came into play, I found that there were more people who shared a love for Indiana Jones. Then I stumbled onto Club Obi-Wan, where I'm a frequent post-er, I started to contribute little bits and pieces to The Indy Experience and TheRaider.net, and I've really thrown myself in the middle of it all, especially now with the documentary in full swing.

What started you on the path to making IndyFans and the Quest for Fortune and Glory?

Well the first thing that I'm sure a lot of people don't know is that I had started to do a documentary about Indy Fans long before Indy 4 went into production. It was more of a "mock-umentary" than a legitimate documentary. Once Indy 4 went into production, I decided that if anyone was going to make a documentary about Indy, it had to be me. I didn't want someone to do it, who wasn't a fan, didn't know the fans, etc... I remember that once they started filming in New Haven, everyone at my production company quickly threw it together and we were on a plane to New Haven the next week. It's been non stop ever since.

Wow, one week! That was fast, I remember when you landed in New Haven, there was so much of the Marshall College set at Yale it was HUGE. How did you prepare?

I don't know if you can prepare for a documentary like this. I mean "you're meddling with powers you cannot possible comprehend," Lucasfilm and Dreamworks. Everyday it's something new. The best that I'm able to prepare, honestly, is lets say we know we want to shoot at Comic Con, we plan to be there, but that's about it. You never know who is going to show up or what's going to happen. You can't keep a strict schedule. Ultimately, this is about the fans, so they're really shaping the film. If I meet someone who says they have a huge collection, then I'm off to capture that. If this person says they have a story, then we get that. There's never been and will never be a "script," only a general outline of where we want the film to do. The FANS will determine the final product!

Who were you looking to meet?

click to enlarge
Brandon on the Marshall College Library set (aka Woolsey Hall at Yale Univ. in New Haven, CT)

That's a tough question. Everyone is asking, "are you going to interview Steven or Harrison?" But that's been done! To be totally honest, it's been so much fun just meeting the fans, like yourself and your sons at the New Haven filming, hearing your story about seeing the Indiana Jones films with your late father in New Haven and now passing that tradition down to your sons, hearing other fan stories, seeing their collections. It's the fans that I look forward to meeting.

We ran into this kid named Christopher at Comic Con. He's 9 years old and a huge Indy fan, but he's never seen the films on the big screen and only owns one Indy figure from Disney. The interview of him from Comic Con was so amazing, that we've made him a major part of the documentary. It's been so fun hanging out with Christopher and seeing his reactions to all this Indy stuff coming out. It reminds me of the Bruce Willis movie The Kid. It's like walking around with my younger self. But, most importantly he has reminded me about what's really important in life. Imagination and Creativity! To me, that's the most important thing we have. And that's what movies are all about, that's what this documentary is all about.

Besides the fans, who have you met that were involved in the actual Indiana Jones films to date?

click to enlarge
Interviewing Indiana Jones costume designer, Deborah Nadoolman.

Oh man, lets think. Anthony DeLongis (Bullwhip trainer on Indy 4). He's a great guy and was a lot of fun to hang out with. Deborah Nadoolman (Raiders Costume Designer), what amazing stories she has. But here's an interesting one, I met James Gammon (President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Kenya 1909 episode) once. I saw him in a performance of King Lear, which was amazing. I went up to him after the show and he was kind enough to sign my Young Indy script, from his episode. He looked at his wife and said "I haven't seen one of these in years." That was really neat!

I had a chance to meet the late Michael Sheard (Admiral Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders’ Sub Commander and Last Crusade’s Adolf Hitler) and he had a lot of stories from the films production. Do you have any behind the scenes stories that fans might not be aware of that you have learned during the making of Indyfans?

Well if I answered that now, nobody would want to see the film. (Laughs).

Have you sought out any original locations from the earlier films to get some behind the scenes stories?

We filmed in New Haven and got a ton of great stories there. We may dig a bit deeper and see what we can find from earlier locations, but we'll have to see. Again, it's tough to really plan to far ahead on this project. We are making some of this up as we go, to quote a certain archeologist.

Speaking of fans, what has been the reaction from them on what you are doing?

click to enlarge
"No Time for Love": The Indyfan Girls at San Diego Comic Con 2007.

The fans are great, Obviously! Other wise, why would I want to make a documentary about them. But seriously, the fans have been great and very excited about the project. But that's probably just because wherever we go, we take the "Indy Girls!" Haha. Actually many fans came after us in New Haven to get interviewed, same happened at Comic Con. It's really been great. It seems like everyone has a story about Indiana Jones in their lives.

Has there been one common element that you hear from fans again and again on why they enjoy the Indiana Jones films so much?

Probably the most commonly heard reason is just that it appeals to everyone, to every generation. It's almost the perfect family film.

With Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in post production and due for release next May, have you been following the making of the film?

Yes and No. Obviously I've been following what’s been on TheRaiders.net, for my own knowledge, but we have to keep in mind that Indyfans and the Quest for Fortune and Glory is not about Indy 4. Luckily, we have the mania of Indy 4 to use a backdrop, but ultimately, this is about the fans! As of right now, don't expect too much about Indy 4, but it will be included...

Have you heard from the folks at Lucasfilm on this project?

No comment. (Laughs). Of course we have! Oh, I think I've said too much!

Understood, excuse me Brandon, while I call for security. You should be expecting a squad of Imperial Stormtroopers or maybe Thuggees at your door any minute.

Uh oh! (Laughs).

Any plans on meeting Steven Spielberg, George Lucas or Harrison Ford for their take on the Indiana Jones phenomenon?

In Steven's case, we've left messages with certain people at Dreamworks and are awaiting return calls. I have a feeling we'll never get to Lucas, he has too many "top men" around him. (Laughs). But honestly, We're making sure that anyone we interview has something new to say. I'm sure the fans are tired of hearing the same things over and over, and we certainty don't want the DVD to be boring in any way, shape, or form.

What has this experience been like for you as an Indyfan?

It's been a great experience, for a number of reasons. One, I get to go do these amazing Indy things, and write it off as "work." Can't get much better than that! And two, like I said before, it's all about the fans. They're all great and so fun to talk with. That's really what makes it all worth it. It's been a great experience, and really has been an adventure in it's own right.

When can we see the final film?

Indyfans and the Quest for Fortune and Glory
Visit Indyfansfilm.com
for more info & news.

If everything goes according to plan, our goal is to have it on DVD when Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comes out on DVD. Like so many documentaries of this style, they all stop right when the film opens. I know I'll probably get hate mail for this next comment, but I want to be able to interview the fans even if the Indy 4 isn't any good. I know, I'm sorry, I said it. But seriously, I want to be able to get those reactions, either good or bad. So that's why it'll be along after the films release in theaters.

However, if you're in the Los Angeles area in April, we are teaming up with the Newport Beach Film Festival to bring some sneak peaks of Indyfans and the Quest for Fortune and Glory to the big screen. Of course we'll keep the news coming to The Raider as we get closer to the date.

Brandon, if there are some fans looking to learn more about Indyfans and the Quest for Fortune and Glory where can they go?

Well, they are more than welcome to find out more information or of even better if they want to be a part of Indyfans please visit Indyfansfilm.com or myspace.com/indyfans.

Brandon, it has been a great pleasure talking with you again, I want to thank you for including me in Indyfans and the Quest for Fortune and Glory and for speaking with TheRaider.net. Good luck with the film and we look forward to seeing it in 2008!

Thank you, Mitch! I just want to say TheRaider.net has been a great source for all things Indiana Jones over the years and keep up the good work!

 

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