Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Paramount Pictures / Lucasfilm

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is 1984’s installment in the action-packed adventure series. Set in 1935, the film actually serves as a prequel to Raiders of the Last Ark, which is set a year later. It sees Harrison Ford return as the adventurous archaeologist, who crash-lands in India and discovers the children of a village have disappeared, and their sacred Sankara stones have been stolen.

Here are 10 things you might not have known about the film…  

1) Dan Akroyd has a cameo 

After escaping the gangsters at the night club, Indy and crew arrive at an airport, where they’re shown aboard a cargo plane by a polite Englishman named Art Weber. Look closely, though, and you’ll spot that he’s actually played by lovable Ghostbuster Dan Akroyd. Both Spielberg and Lucas also have cameos in this scene, and can be seen carting around luggage as a pair of baggage handlers. 

2) The Chinese club is named after a Jedi

Temple of Doom starts out with Indiana Jones facing off against some less-than-pleasant gangsters in a Chinese club. But did you happen to catch the name of that club? As they escape, you can see the signage: Club Obi Wan, after Lucas’ much-loved Star Wars character.  

Club Obi Wan in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Paramount Pictures / Lucasfilm

3) The German mechanic from Raiders of the Last Ark makes an appearance

Remember the huge German mechanic who Indy fights in Raiders of the Lost Arc? That’s right – the one who gets torn up by the plane propellers. Well, he’s played by Pat Roach, who also appears in Temple of Doom. He plays the huge cult member who fights Indy towards the end of the film, and who ends up getting squished by a rock crusher at the end of a conveyor belt. 

4) Spielberg married Kate Capshaw, who played Willie Scott 

Although he has publicly stated that Temple of Doom is his least favourite instalment in the Indiana Jones series, quoting that it’s ‘too dark’ and ‘too subterranean,’ it’s actually where he met his wife. As the leading actress, Kate Capshaw played American night club singer Willie Scott. She and Steven got married in 1991 and have been together ever since. 

Steven Spielberg has joked that Kate only married him because he allowed her to back out of a scene in Temple of Doom where a huge python would wrap itself around Willie. Capshaw freaked out when it came to filming it, and Spielberg allowed the scene to be scrapped.  

5) The village shaman couldn’t speak a word of English 

After arriving in the Indian village, Indy speaks with a village shaman, who explains that their children have disappeared and that their sacred Sankara Stones have been stolen. You might not have been able to tell, but the actor couldn’t actually speak a word of English. Spielberg was standing just off camera, saying each line for the actor to repeat phonetically. 

Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Paramount Pictures / Lucasfilm

6) Jonathan Ke Quan didn’t attend the audition for himself 

The break-though star of the movie was Indy’s child sidekick, Short Round. But Korean actor Jonathan Ke Quan didn’t actually attend the auditions to try for the role himself. Instead, he was there to support his brother, who had gone to try out for the part. He spent his time there telling his brother what to do, and this caught the attention of the staff, who invited him to audition. Quan also went on to star in The Goonies; another Spielberg production. 

7) Willie Scott’s expensive dress was eaten by an elephant 

The glitzy red dress Willie wears for the first half of the film is made from very rare and expensive beads from the 1920s and 1930s. So rare and expensive were the beads that the wardrobe team could only make one dress, which would have to last for the duration of filming. They had to pray it wouldn’t get eaten by an elephant, then.

Well, actually, that’s exactly what happened. Whilst filming in the jungle, the dress was hung out to dry when an elephant started to eat it. They managed to pull the dress from the elephant’s clutch, and were able to repair it to an extent where they could continue filming. 

8) Custard and raspberry sauce 

One of the biggest gross-out moments in Temple of Doom arrives with the dinner scene at the palace. Throughout the scene, Willie is shocked by various appetizers, including a snake that’s sliced open, before dozens of its wriggling babies spew out onto the table! But the course that makes Willie faint is the chilled monkey brains, which the actors dig into! But what were they actually eating? Well, it was a mix of custard and raspberry sauce. 

Chilled monkey brains in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Paramount Pictures / Lucasfilm

9) A familiar sound effect appears in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Another reference to George Lucas’ space saga from a galaxy far far away comes in the form of a sound effect! In the scene where Willie is about to be sacrificed by the cult members, you can hear the sound of a lightsaber turning on when the doors to the fire pit open. 

That’s not the only Star Wars sound effect from the movie! When the cargo plane’s engines start to fail, you hear a sound effect from where the Millennium Falcon suffers some technical issues!

10) Mr and Mrs Longfellow

Two snakes were flown into Sri Lanka for the scene in the jungle where Willie mistakes a snake for an elephant’s trunk. Because the snakes had to be kept on hold until the scene was ready to roll, they were booked into their very own hotel room! And what names did the production team choose for the hotel guest list? Mr and Mrs Longfellow.

There you have it – 10 things you might not have known about Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom trailer

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Below, we answer some of the internet’s most-asked questions about Temple of Doom…

Where did Indiana Jones go in Temple of Doom?

Whilst fleeing gangsters in China, Indy winds up on a cargo plane which crash lands in India. He, his Chinese sidekick Short Round, and night club singer Willie Scott, end up washing up on the shore of an Indian village in a life raft. There, they are given a quest by the village shaman to travel to Pankhot Palace in search of the village’s stolen Sankara stones.

Why is Temple of Doom a prequel?

When Spielberg was asked this question, he gave a very simple answer: he and Lucas didn’t want to use the same bad guys. Nazis were the main villains in Raiders of the Lost Arc, so by jumping back in time, the filmmakers were allowed more freedom to choose a new antagonist. We got our second helping of Nazi villainy in The Last Crusade.

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