One of the first rules of filmmaking is you should never work with animals, and it’s safe to say the costume department on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom would agree with that sentiment. Apparently, an elephant on the set of the ‘80s movie actually ate a dress which was to be used for the film.
Temple of Doom is the second instalment in the Indiana Jones movie franchise, and stars Harrison Ford in the titular role, alongside Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan, and Dan Aykroyd, and of course, a very troublesome elephant. The Steven Spielberg movie is renowned for introducing some light horror movie moments to the family friendly franchise, but it turns out the real horror was the costume-consuming elephants on set.
In a clip from the Making of the Temple of Doom, costume designer Anthony Powell recalled a very glamorous, one-of-a-kind dress that Kate Capshaw was to wear, that he had specially made for the actor. Unfortunately, the elephant in question didn’t care how special this dress was.
“I had it made by Barbara Matera in New York. It was completely made of original 1920s and 1930s beads and sequins that Barbara had been collecting for years,” Powell explained. “This meant there was only enough stuff to make one dress.”
“I thought that wouldn’t be a problem, as the dress was only used in one scene. But then, the whole schedule was rearranged,” Powell continued. “We were night shooting, Harrison and Kate were sitting by a little campfire, and the dress was hung over the branch of a tree.”
“I looked over and an elephant was calmly eating the whole back out of the dress,” Powell said. “When we came to shooting the sequence where Kate has to look stunning in this dress, we had to fly Barbara back over and give her a pot of the remaining beads and sequins to repair the dress.”
You’d think it would go without saying, but if you are going to work with animals, make sure they’re well-fed and that you keep an eye on your props!
Check out our guide on Indiana Jones 5 for Ford’s next jaunt in the role, hopefully minus elephants and snakes!