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Harrison Ford “wanted to see the weight of life” on Indiana Jones

Peter Howell

Movie Critic

I was fortunate in May to be the first questioner at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival press conference for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” following its world premiere the night before at the Palais des Festivals. I asked lead star Harrison Ford, 80, what he wanted to see Indy do in this long-awaited fifth and final movie in the popular action franchise, and more importantly what he didn’t want to see him do. Ford obligingly gave a long answer to the first part of my question but he didn’t really answer the second part. Here’s his response in full, plus remarks from director James Mangold on the same topic:

Harrison Ford: “I wanted to see a good movie, I wanted to see a completion of the five films, I wanted to round out the story, I wanted to see this man who depended so much on his youth and the vigor of youth.

“I wanted to see the weight of life on him. I wanted to see him require reinvention and support. And I wanted him to have a relationship that was not a, you know, kind of flirty movie relationship, I wanted him to have a deep relationship with somebody.

“And I wanted to work with Jim (Mangold), which was proposed at a certain point. And I cannot have been better served with a script with the kind of actors that we have been lucky enough to get (and also) with the passion and the skill that Jim has brought to it that (composer) John Williams has brought to it.

“Everything has come together to support me in my old age. And I love the work so I just want to work and I want to tell stories, good stories. And I have been so lucky in my life to have that opportunity.”

James Mangold: “And if I can add something to what you're saying ... When Harrison and I first talked — and I'm just trying to zero in on Peter's question a little more — is that I think one of the great things about working with Harrison, is you realize leading man, star, legend, whatever, he's an actor, and he's always looking for what he's gonna play. And I think that when we spoke what he was looking for in the script, was why does this movie exist, besides all the obvious business reasons for the movie to exist? What are we going to explore, dig up not only in the ground, but in character that makes it worth doing as an artist? And I think that was really what excited me more than anything, because if you have someone like this with that kind of mandate and question, that's a huge opportunity as a dramatist. That's all you ever want, is someone asking you to ask questions as opposed to just giving pat answers. That was the main reason I jumped in, was this kind of artistic invitation I felt from Harrison.” 🌓

— Photo credit: Peter Howell, Toronto Star.


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