Harrison Ford admits he wasn’t the first choice to play Indiana Jones

Jacob Stolworthy
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, coming face to face with a Cobra in 1981's 'Raiders of the Lost Ark': Paramount Pictures

Harrison Ford has reminded film fans that he was not the first choice to play Indiana Jones.

The actor, who is returning to the franchise for a fifth outing in 2022, was interviewed for his role in new film The Call of the Wild, when the conversation steered to the whipcracking professor he last played in 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

“I was not the first choice,” he told Parade magazine, noting that Tom Selleck was given the role but was unable to get out of his TV contract for Magnum PI.

True enough, George Lucas – who produces the Indiana Jones film series – favoured Selleck for the character as he had already worked with Ford on Star Wars and didn’t want him to become the Robert De Niro to his Martin Scorsese.

In a Raiders of the Lost Ark making-of featurette, Lucas reveals he told Steven Spielberg: “He’s been in two of my movies. I don’t want him to be my Bobby De Niro.”

Selleck came so close to securing the role of Jones that he filmed a screentest and was offered the role.

The actor told David Letterman in 2014 that the opportunity was on the table for approximately a month, during which time the network that produced his hit show Magnum PI “said no”.

He said: “So I had to kind of move on.”

Lucas later admitted that Ford was “perfect for the part”.

In the same interview, Ford revealed the secret to his long-lasting relationship with wife Calista Flockhart.

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