- Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation News The Films Research Indyfans


Paul Shipper

Raiders: Adaptation
Cast and Crew
Articles and Reviews
Raiders' Guys Today
The Making of
Behind the Scenes
Concept Artwork
Indiana Jones Message Boards
Help Support Films Raiders: The Adaptation Pre-Production
The Making of


click to enlarge
Eric's storyboard.
Because Raiders of the Lost Ark was still not available for rental or sale in video stores when the boys started in the summer of ’82, they had no reference copy of the movie they were seeking to remake shot-for-shot. So, they got everything Raiders that they could get their hands on – photos from magazines, the published screenplay, storybooks, making-of publications, action figures, an illicit recording of the soundtrack from smuggling in a cassette recorder into a movie theater showing Raiders when re-released in 1982. With the amassed material, and by memory of seeing Raiders in the theater, they cobbled together a composite reconstruction of the original Raiders, shot-by-shot, laying it out in storyboard form. Before Raiders, Eric Zala wanted to be comic book artist growing up. This prepared him to hand draw over 600 individual detailed storyboards that became the blueprint they used for seven years, only rarely deviated from.
click to enlarge
Indy's costumes.
Eric also designed and drew multiple costume sketches, the hieroglyphics on the walls for the set of the Well of the Souls among dozens of other designs and drawings used for Raiders: The Adaptation. The hieroglyphics remain on the basement walls of Eric’s mom’s house to this day, although several sections were knocked down during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (the house has since been repaired).

In the beginning years, an over sized vinyl jacket and Chris’ grandfather’s hat were both spray painted brown, for use as Indiana’s jacket and hat.

The Idol was constructed out of a carved shrimp-net bobber, topped with half of a Christmas ornament.

The boulder went through no less than five different versions:

  1. Massive bamboo frame covered in cardboard and duct tape. It was too big to get out of Chris’s bedroom.
  2. A cable spool covered in cardboard, painted grey. It looked horrible and was half Indy’s size.
  3. Chicken wire – it blew away in a hurricane.
  4. Weather balloon covered in Paper Mache. It popped.
  5. Fiberglass was the last boulder. Eric and Jay dug a hole, made two individual halves and glued them together.
The Medallion prop used was an old jewelry piece of Chris’ grandmother, with a Red Pente stone Super-glued in the center.
The giant Jackal statue that Indy (Chris) topples over in the Well of Souls scene was constructed out of an old hot water heater as the body, poles hung by wires as the arms, and an over-turned flower pot as the head, with a plastic tarp spray painted gold and 46 individual Styrofoam teeth in the open mouth.
Eric built the Ark used in Raiders: The Adaptation using $100 worth of lumber, and carved the cherubim on the lid out of a block of Styrofoam, overlaying it with plaster, then spray-painting it gold.
Interesting fact: Eric, Jay and Chris were all raised by single mothers.

Next: Production >>


Join us
Twitter Facebook The Raven
* - More Product. More Exclusives.