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Greek Indiana Jones twin brother

12 May 2009 / 13:05:48  GRReporter
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For seven years, Chris Strompolos and his friends were shooting a copy of the film “Indiana Jones – Raiders of the Lost Ark.” When they were ten years old, Chris and two of his friends started filming the remake of the first Indy film. Back then, none of them imagined that the filming will continue for seven years and that twenty years later their work will be recognized.

Steven Spielberg himself sent a congratulation letter to Chris and Hollywood producers have already made an offer to make a film about his life. “Just like many other children during those day, I was a fan of Indiana Jones too. When I first saw it in 1981, the only thing I wanted to do was to play Indy. This is how Eric Zala, Jason Lamb and I started this unforgettable adventure,” says Chris Strompolos for “Ta Nea” newspaper.  

“Even though both my parents are Greek, I never learned the Greek language. When I came to Greece, my relatives were shaking their heads and saying: “Chris, it’s a shame that you cannot speak Greek,” says the grown up double of Indiana Jones.

Chris’ childhood dream comes true, when he is 18 years old. “When we started filming, we rented a Betamax camera and a friend of my mother’s – a cameraman, who was working for the local TV station, taught us how to work with it. Actors in the film were our friends and classmates. At the beginning of fall in 1982, after we had been filming for 3 months, we realized that what we had done was not watchable.” But after the first disappointment Chris and his friends do not give up.

During the first three years, when Indiana Jones was still not out on video tape, they were filming by memory and when they could not remember a scene, they use to go to the nearest cinema to watch the movie again. They drew more than 600 scenes, which became their guide for the film.

Chris remembers that during the hard scenes – like the one with the truck chase or with the digging in the dessert, his friends and him got really scared. “Imagine young children in the middle of nowhere, wet from the rain, without food and water: we were a pitiful picture. Policemen were warning us many times that they will arrest us, because during filming we needed to blow up some things, to stop street traffic, etc.” But except for the hard times on the “set”, Chris had pleasant experiences as well, like his first kiss.

When in 1989 they finished filming, the children put the film in a drawer, where it was gathering all the dust for 14 years. In 2003 director Eli Roth found out about the existence of the tape and gave it to a friend of his, so he can play it during the Butt-Numb-A-Thon film festival. After that, Roth showed it to Spielberg and Lucas – the creators of the real Indiana Jones.

“Back then we got scared that they might sue us for the rights of the movie,” remembers Chris Strompolos. Not only that no one sued them, but Spielberg himself sent them a letter, in which he thanked them for the honor that his film inspired the production of Chris and his friends. “I have put this letter in a frame above my desk. One year later I met Spielberg and this was one of the most exciting moments of my life.”

According to some calculations of the Greek Indiana Jones, the production of the film cost about ?5 000. “Those were the money they gave us for breakfast, for presents, but also the ones we saved during summer when we were working.” Until now, they haven’t gain even a cent for the distribution of the film, even though their adaptation is very famous, successful and is shown during many different festivals worldwide.

After they finished filming Indiana Jones, Chris and his friend Eric Zala made their own production company, where they are still working together 27 years later. But the true recognition for them is the offer of producer Scott Rudin (“The Hours”) to make a film about the life of the children who made their own adaptation of Indiana Jones, which is going to be ready in 2011.

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