Synopsis by Mark Deming
Plenty of folks have a favorite movie they'll watch over and over again, but Jayson Lamb, Chris Strompolos, and Eric Zala enjoyed Steven Spielberg and George Lucas' freewheeling action picture Raiders of the Lost Ark a bit more than the average fan. The three friends were between the ages of 11 and 12 and attending school in Mississippi when Raiders became a runaway hit in 1981. Fascinated with the movie's intricate plot, striking special effects, and nonstop action, Jayson, Chris, and Eric decided to remake the film themselves, partly for fun and partly to figure out how it all was done. Armed with home-video cameras, improvised sets and costumes, and a lot of imagination, the three friends shot and edited a virtual scene-for-scene recreation of Raiders of the Lost Ark between 1982 and 1989 starring Strompolos as Indy; Lamb served as director and editor while Zala handled camerawork and special effects. After a screening of the final product for family and friends, the homegrown remake gathered dust in the guys' attics until filmmaker Eli Roth obtained a bootleg copy in 2002 (Zala made a few dubs of the video for some friends while attending New York University) and eventually passed it along to Steven Spielberg, who to the great surprise of Jayson, Chris, and Eric invited the guys (now in their thirties) to Hollywood and expressed his enthusiasm for their tribute to his film. Since then, Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation has been receiving occasional screenings at film festivals, and producer Scott Rudin has purchased the screen rights to Lamb, Strompolos, and Zala's story, with Daniel Clowes writing a screenplay based on their youthful adventures.