By Mark Hallum
A Queens native is bringing his filmmaking skills to the table to create a fan fiction addition to the Indiana Jones saga, a narrative that will take place in Alley Pond Park and revolve around the Queens Giant as the tree of life.
The Queens Giant, a 133-foot, 400-year-old tulip poplar, is “the oldest living thing in the city,” the city Parks Department says. It was likely just a seedling when the Dutch East India Company was conducting business in the area.
John Galligan, the film’s producer, director and lead fedora-wearing actor, hopes to have “Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Queens Giant” in the Queens World Film Festival upon its completion at an unannounced time.
“We don’t exactly know when the film is going to be finished, but we have a couple scenes left to shoot,” Galligan said, explaining he had used popular Bayside spots such as Bourbon Street on Bell Boulevard for certain scenes. “If you’re familiar with the tree, it’s massive. You can actually go inside of it. It has an opening, but it’s very tight to get in, so we couldn’t really shoot inside the tree. So we had to stage it in another place.
“We haven’t been able to do that scene, which is really the heart of the film. But everything else, we’ve done. We’ve done fight scenes. It’s really extensive how much we’ve finished.”
True to the Indiana Jones franchise tradition, the protagonist will be seeking religious relics. Galligan was reluctant to give away too much, but said Jones will pursue dark secrets of a demonic presence from Buddhist lore within the tree.
Recall Studios is helping with the project from assistance directing to editing.
Galligan’s film will revive a character featured only as a corpse in the original Jones film, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The fictional Dr. Forrestal taught at Princeton and disappeared searching for a fertility idol in Peru. Jones discovers the fate of the man who was his professional rival when seeking the same relic in a temple in the jungle. Forrestal had died as a result of springing a booby trap.
But Galligan is bringing Forrestal to life in his own fan fiction prequel installment as Jones’s competition to uncover the secrets of the Queens Giant.
Galligan employed the help of visual artist Debbie Yoo to draw an aged map of what is now Alley Pond Park depicting the Queens Giant and surrounding landmarks, which Jones will use in his quest to discover what’s inside the mysterious tree.
“Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Queens Giant” does not yet have a release date.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall