Behind the Scenes: Sculpting “Indiana Jones: Pursuit of the Ark”Tuesday, September 18, 2012
“There was an old drive-in theater in my town,” recalls Sideshow sculptor Michael Norman, lounging with long black hair draped across his shoulders and an unlit pipe clamped between his goateed jaws.
“My sister used to take me. Many times – and I can’t remember if we did it with this particular movie – my cousin and I would hide in the trunk of the car, and my sister would pay just for herself to go in. She’d drive into the theater, we’d crawl out of the trunk, and all three of us would watch a movie for the price of one.”
“After we saw this movie, I remember trying to come up with the words to capture how amazing I thought it was.”
The project set before Norman depicts an iconic rider on horseback from the film he is describing. Firmly reigning in his mount atop a high hill, the rider sets his intense gaze focused on something unseen. The horse is in full-halt, one foreleg extended completely with the other drawn up. A long bullwhip hangs from the rider’s hip, and on the desk nearby rests the signature fedora of Indiana Jones.
“It’s from a scene directly from Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Norman explains, “when Indiana Jones jumps on a horse before he rides down this hill after the Germans in the convoy in order to capture the Ark.”
Norman rides horses regularly, and has co-organized group rides on several occasions with fellow members of the Sideshow crew – a group that has come to be known as “Sideshow Saddle Club” (or sometimes more fondly as “Pony Pals”). He’s grown familiar with how they move, and it shows in his sculpt of Indy’s steed. The statue is an immense undertaking, with a sort of Western feel, captured in a classic pose of an old, bronze cowboy-on-horseback piece.
He rotates the piece to another angle. “Frederic Remington sculpted a lot of cowboys on horses in this style, and his work is famous,” he says.
“A lot of them were bronzes, done in a very rough style. We were after that sort of feel.”
“Remington’s men on horses are absolutely amazing – the movement and the overall beauty of the pieces is just incredible,” Norman says. “I’m satisfied if I’m even able to bring to the table a small percentage of what he could do.”
Meanwhile, check out this behind the scenes gallery of work in progress: