Scott Rudin has purchased the life rights of the trio of filmmakers who constructed the ultimate tribute movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation,” to develop through his Paramount-based production shingle.
In a deal worth mid-six figures, Rudin obtained the rights from Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and Jayson Lamb. While adolescents in Mississippi, the trio launched a shot-by-shot remake of “Raiders” in Zala’s backyard while on summer vacation in 1982 and finished seven years later.
Strompolos, who starred as Indiana Jones, came up with idea when he was 10 and told his friend Zala, who was 11, about it as they rode the bus to school. Zala eventually storyboarded the 649 scenes in the film; Lamb, who was a fan of horror pics and Rick Baker special effects, shot on a VHS camcorder.
The three — who would eventually spend somewhere between $5,000 and $8,000 — combined ingenuity with Mississippi backwoods locales to re-create signature scenes from the 1981 blockbuster such as the rolling boulder, the live snakes and the truck sequences. A lack of coin, however, did force them to improvise, subbing a dog for a monkey, for example. After the film was completed, it remained largely unknown until it was discovered two years ago by filmmaker Eli Roth, who submitted it for a showing at the fourth annual Butt-Numb-a-Thon Festival organized by Harry Knowles in Austin, Texas, in December 2002.
That led to a letter of endorsement from director Steven Spielberg, the trio’s story being pitched in Hollywood and a “Raiders of the Lost Backyard” feature in the current issue of Vanity Fair.