Willie being a (deliberate?) caricature of the frequently screaming damsel-in-distress archetype — see Fay Wray’s Ann Darrow in the original 1933 “King Kong” for one of the more infamous examples of this sexist cliché — didn’t do much to help convince Kate Capshaw to sign on for Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark” follow-up. In Capshaw’s words:
“At that time, I didn’t ‘do’ sequels. And I didn’t ‘do’ action adventure. For my screen test — with Steven, not Harrison — it was a scene between Willie and Indy where she’s really hungry. It’s difficult to find audition scenes when there’s so much action. You can’t just go in and yell.”
To her credit, Capshaw displays a real knack for screwball comedy during the scenes where Willie flirtatiously matches wits with Indy in “Temple of Doom.” That’s not to mention her singing and dancing in the film’s opening “Anything Goes” musical number at the Obi-Wan Club in Shanghai, a fabulous sequence that proved Spielberg had the skills to deliver knock-out song-and-dance sequences almost 40 years before he directed his version of “West Side Story.” As for Capshaw, she would continue acting for a decade after she married Spielberg in 1991, at which point she retired and began combining her work in other fields of art with her activism.
In short, say what you will about Willie and “Temple of Doom” in general (goodness knows there’s a lot to be said), but we’re all the better off for Capshaw having agreed to star in it.