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#27: “Nothing Would Ever Top the Ark of the Covenant”: Screenwriter Menno Meyjes on INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE

Today’s guest is screenwriter and director Menno Meyjes, best known for his collaboration with Steven Spielberg in the 80’s. Menno was born in the Netherlands but moved to the United States in 1972 to study at the San Francisco Art Institute. After writing a script for one of the best-known episodes of Spielberg’s AMAZING STORIES TV series – “The Mission”, starring a young Kevin Costner and directed by Spielberg himself – Menno received an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel THE COLOR PURPLE, as directed by Spielberg. As a screenwriter, he also worked on films like Franklin Schaffner’s LIONHEART, Russell Mulcahy’s RICOCHET and Edward Zwick’s THE SIEGE.

After THE COLOR PUPLE, Menno was brought in to work on the third Indiana Jones movie, INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, taking over from writer Chris Columbus whose MONKEY KING script had been rejected. In our conversation, Menno talks about his collaboration with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and how elements like the search for the Holy Grail and Indy’s father were introduced.

He also discusses some of the other films he’s worked on, including his directorial debut MAX, an independent gem starring John Cusack as a Jewish art dealer based in Munich who, shortly after WWI, encounters a young, struggling painter named Adolf Hitler whose anger and disillusionment is slowly finding other, more harmful outlets. Menno also talks about his work on MANOLETE, a biopic starring Adrien Brody as the popular Spanish bullfighter, and he discusses his more recent move back to the Netherlands to direct independent films like THE DINNER and THE REUNION.

So without any further ado, here’s Menno Meyjes recalling how he came on board of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE.

The mp3 file can be downloaded HERE.

Editing: Christoph Schwarz
Music: Clark Kent

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