The co-masterminds behind the Indiana Jones films, executive producer George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg, have been going public with their plans for INDY 4 in recent days, but what does the man in the fedora himself say about the rapidly developing project?
Doing the press rounds for his upcoming historical submarine drama K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER last weekend, Harrison Ford suggested that while he's enthused about the progress the filmmakers have made so far on the fourth big-screen Indiana Jones adventure, it's not exactly time for frenzied fans to start lining up at theaters. For one thing, there's the little matter of the screenplay frequent YOUNG INDIANA JONES scribe Frank Darabont (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE GREEN MILE) is busy writing.
"Well, it's official that we have an ambition to make the film, but unless we get a script that we're all happy with, I don't think it's sure that will happen," the cautious-speaking Ford told reporters. "So, I'm very happy about the fact that we've all committed to a certain idea, and we're developing it and hoping it will be fruitful."
That's a somewhat more reserved spin on the situation than fans recently have been getting from the filmmakers, who talk about the movie like it's all but a done deal. In a recent interview with CINESCAPE, Spielberg laid out tentative plans to start shooting in the spring of 2004 (after Lucas has had a chance to get STAR WARS: EPISODE III rolling) with an eye toward releasing INDY 4 sometime around the July 4th weekend in 2005.
Ford's comments also confirm the obvious necessity of setting the new film somewhat later than the original trilogy's mid-1930s era to account for the decade and a half the star will have aged since 1989's INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE. Does Ford, who turns 60 next month, have any concerns about the audience accepting a version of the character who is getting up there in years?
"No, not really," he said. "The audience will understand and appreciate that Indiana Jones has grown older, but he'll still be Indiana Jones -- finding himself in the same kind of dilemmas, using the same strengths to prevail over those circumstances. I don't think it's a problem. I personally don't think growing older is very much of an issue."
While Ford has maintained for years that he'd be interested in taking up the hat, whip and leather jacket again should a strong script and the tricky alignment of the Lucas-Spielberg-Ford schedules emerge, he says he has no interest in returning to another pair of franchises that released Ford-less installments this summer STAR WARS and the Jack Ryan series. (More cold water thrown on fervent fan hopes about the mythical possibility, dismissed at every opportunity by Lucas, of an STAR WARS: EPISODE VII-IX trilogy reuniting members of the EPISODE IV-VI cast.)
"No, I've walked out that door," Ford said. "I don't think about walking back in."