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Movies PopWrapped | Movies

Raiders! The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made To Become Actual Film

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


10/15/2013 11:09 am
PopWrapped | Movies
Raiders! The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made To Become Actual Film
Media Courtesy of Alan Eisenstock

Sarah Goddard

Content Editor

Everyone has their all time favourite film, that one film that you’ve watched over and over, can recite the dialogue word for word and more often than not, have at some point, staged a little re-enactment or two of your favourite scene. Meet Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala, two kids from Mississippi who met in elementary school. The pair took their love of Raiders of the Lost Ark to a whole new level. Every summer from the age of 11 until they were both 18, they staged a shot-for-shot remake of their beloved film and they called it Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation and author Alan Eisenstock was so impressed with what he saw, he wrote the book Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made, that chronicles the 7 year journey undertaken by the two young men to create something truly unique. As Deadline reported earlier today, that book has now been optioned by Napoleon Dynamite producer Jeremy Coons and will be turned into a narrative feature which is essentially “a movie about the making of a movie that is a remake of another movie.” When speaking with Deadline, Coon told them “I thought the movie was an urban myth but when I saw it, from a filmmaker perspective it was more inspiring than any movie I'd ever seen. These kids had done something ridiculous and impossible and the last time I had the experience of a movie being made because it was sheer fun was when I’d seen Kill Bill. I went in feeling cynical but there was no cynicism in these kids. They did the movie because they loved it. It had its premiere and then sat on a shelf.” The two young filmmakers, both now in their 40’s, will produce alongside Coon, having signed off their life rights and will begin the process of by creating a documentary about making the film itself. Coon admits that making the film may present some challenges as technically it is a remake of a true classic, and was filmed without the appropriate rights and permissions. He hopes that he will be able to gain the cooperation of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and while he as yet hadn’t heard anything from Lucas, in 2003 Spielberg sent Strompolos and Zala a letter of congratulation for their production. Describing some of the antics and craziness Strompolos and Zala got up to during filming, Coon says “They shot the Nepal bar scene in Eric’s basement and lit the whole thing on fire.  His mom saw what they’d done and she was not having any more of that.  They had to get an adult, an extra in the original George Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead who was less responsible than they were.  The scene that got me most was this; one of the kids learned everything about special effects and did a mold face on Eric so they could recreate Bellog’s face as it melts after he opens the Ark.  They did it with plaster, they put the ball in Eric’s mouth so he would appear to be screaming.  Five minutes in, Eric starts sweating, and he can’t hear or speak.  They used construction plaster, which gets hot when it hardens.  And they couldn’t break the mold.  His mother comes down to see them trying to cut through it with a hacksaw.  The hospital finally got it off with a cast saw, carefully working around his head with this little circular saw to free him.  The plaster ripped out the eyebrows and every eyelash on this poor kid.  He had to pencil on some eyebrows to go back to school.” If this sounds like something that interests you, as it did me, I highly recommend checking out the book trailer for Raiders! and see what it’s all about.


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