When even the most famous movie director of all time, working with two of Hollywood’s biggest stars, can’t unlock a filming location then what does he do? Steven Spielberg couldn’t get permission to film Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade in Petra, Jordan even with the star power of Sean Connery and Harrison Ford attached. So he turned to royalty. F1 royalty to be precise.
Spielberg had been denied permission more than once and was desperate to not have to revert to a plan B and give up on his dream location. A chance meeting with Formula One legend Sir Jackie Stewart at a charity charity clay pigeon shooting event that Stewart had organized at Gleneagles managed to unblock the issue.
Spielberg, Harrison Ford and Sean Connery were all present at the event and Sir Jackie and Spielberg were talking when Stewart noticed Spielberg was distracted.
“He starts looking over my shoulder and I’m thinking, ‘what have I done to deserve this?’ And suddenly he says ‘excuse me, but that looks like King Hussein of Jordan over there’, and I said ‘yes, that’s who it is.'”
Spielberg explained his dilemma, with Sir Jackie Stewart playing matchmaker to get the issue unblocked right at the very top.
“I said ‘maybe you should speak to his Majesty’, so I got them together – bingo – he got his permission and he was a very happy chappie.”
They used the Treasury, Petra’s most well known building, as the home of the Holy Grail in the movie. Sir Jackie told the tale as part of an event for his dementia charity. When his wife was diagnosed with the disease seven years ago he was spurred into action.
The charity has raised millions to fund a network of researchers who are taking the advances from McLaren F1, Red Bull Racing and Dyson and applying them to the study of the disease.
“Without urgent progress, one in three people born today, will go on to suffer dementia and that is unacceptable.
I passionately believe that the way Formula One uses advanced technologies and innovative thinking to achieve remarkable developments at speed, can help scientists to create a real and much-needed breakthrough in dementia research.”