Harrison Ford said Friday that momentum is building for a fifth movie in the "Indiana Jones" franchise and that George Lucas is already cooking up a suitable plot for a heroic senior citizen with a penchant for whips and fedoras.
"It’s crazy but great," the 66-year-old Ford said. "George is in think mode right now."
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" grossed $318 million in the U.S. alone and $770 million worldwide and is expected to be powerhouse seller on DVD and Blu-Ray when it arrives in stores Oct. 14. It was a film that many people in Hollywood assumed would never be made considering the difficulty in finding the right time and the right script to reunite Ford, Lucas and franchise director Steven Spielberg after the 1989 hit "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."
Now, though, the latest success and the fact that the franchise’s old machinery was revived has Ford thinking a fifth movie is not only a viable idea, but an attractive one.
"It’s automatic, really, we did well with the last one and with that having done well and been a positive experience, it’s not surprising that some people want to do it again," Ford said.
I asked Ford who specifically is stirring up the idea of another revival, whether it was Lucas, Spielberg or the star himself? "Really, it comes from the ethos, from the ether. It’s natural. It’s a way of nature, of course, success breed opportunities … also we don’t stay as closely in contact as have in the last year, that’s part of it."
Ford said, though, he would not be game to making an animated "Indiana Jones" film, a notion that became at least a possible option after Lucas took his "Star Wars" theatrical saga into the computer-generated realm with "The Clone Wars" this summer.
"I’m not philosophically against doing animation roles but not for Indiana Jones," Ford said. "I’d hate to see it reduced in any way from the movies that we have done and the way we have done them."
The iconic star said he had some doubts that his long-gone archaeologist hero would be an automatic 21st century sensation.
"It was never a lead-pipe cinch," Ford said. "It was a calculated business risk but I believe it paid off. I was somewhat surprised and gratified to see it did the business that it did. It was successful in almost every market. The first time we showed it to a disinterested outside audience was at Cannes. That’ s a crap shoot of the first order. Not only is that audience sophisticated and film-knowledgable, it’s French! And it’s their country and their festival and we somewhat expected to be seriously slapped around. But we were not, we were embraced…it was very gratifying."
The action hero long ago became accustomed to seeing his likeness on action figures, but even he was taken aback by the proliferation of his face and fedora this past summer as Indiana Jones became a pop-culture blizzard.
"It was everywhere I turned, I was on a Corn Flakes box or something else. That’s what it takes now to do a good job of marketing a movie like this."
Did the star’s 7-year-old son like the movie? "He hasn’t seen it. It’s a little scary for his experience at this point." What about the toy aisle, was he jolted to see Daddy on so many boxes? "He doesn’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean very much to him."
— Geoff Boucher
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" image courtesy of Paramount and Lucasfilm
Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008, photo by Christophe Karaba/European Pressphoto Agency