Harrison Ford is known for his portrayal of Indiana Jones, but he wasn’t the first choice. Here’s a look at the actor who almost played him.
Indiana Jones is one of Harrison Ford’s most iconic roles, but he hardly liked it. By the time Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark went into production, Ford already had two deliveries in the Star Wars series to his credit. He played tough action hero Han Solo, another of his most iconic roles. Those movie franchises shared two specific common denominators: George Lucas. Lucas wrote and directed the Star Wars movies and wrote Indiana Jones.
As Independent reported, Lucas initially had no interest in casting Ford as Indy specifically because they had already worked together. In Lucas’s words, he didn’t want Ford to become his “Bobby De Niro.” So he decided to find Tom Selleck for the role. In the moment in which Indiana Jones was going into production, Selleck himself was a rising star in the 1970s, having won roles more frequently on television shows.
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The role of Indiana Jones was left to Selleck. Independent reported that Selleck filmed a screen test and was actually offered the role, which was on the table for about a month, showing just how serious Lucas was in looking for the actor for the role. But he couldn’t get out of his Magnum, PI contract. Selleck starred in the show as Thomas Magnum, a clever private investigator and overconfident in the popular sitcom, traits that would have easily translated into the role of the intelligent male adventurer and archaeologist Indiana Jones.
The CBS show began its 8-year run in 1980. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark it came out in 1981, which means it would have started the early stages of production no later than 1980. Selleck was simply locked into his contract and couldn’t find any way out. That meant he had no choice but to decline the role. Without Selleck in the picture, the role went to Ford. George Lucas later admitted that Ford was absolutely the perfect person for the role.
Had he landed the role of Indiana Jones, Selleck’s career could have taken a completely different trajectory. He became a star in his own right, but they probably would have included him in action movies. Instead, that’s what happened to Harrison Ford. After playing legendary action roles like Han Solo and Indiana Jones, Ford became a quintessential action star.
Ford has played the role of Indiana Jones for more than 40 years. He will return to the role in the currently untitled. Indiana Jones sequel, which will be released in 2022. By the time it comes out, the actor will be in his 80s. While Selleck would undoubtedly have brought something to the role, Ford’s longevity as Indy proves that he was absolutely the man for the job.
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