Harrison Ford is best known these days as Han Solo from the Star Wars series, Rick Deckard from Blade Runner, and even Jack Ryan. But perhaps his most legendary role is that of Indiana Jones.
But he almost lost the role to Tom Selleck – who stars in Jesse Stone: Night Passage, which airs today at 1:25pm on Channel 5.
In 1980 Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were looking for a new actor to join his upcoming movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
But the Hollywood bosses were worried they had worked with Ford too much on the Star Wars series, and didn’t want to create a relationship that of Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese.
Lucas even said as much: “[Ford] has been in two of my movies. I don’t want him to be my Bobby De Niro.”
So, they started looking at different leading men in Hollywood. And before long, they settled on Selleck.
“Harrison Ford hates to hear this,” Selleck later confessed. “Harrison, this is your role and you’re indelible in it. So, it’s just an interesting story.”
Unfortunately for Selleck, as we all know, he eventually lost the Indiana Jones Role.
Looking back, he said: “After I did the pilot for Magnum I tested for Indiana Jones and got the job. Steven [Spielberg] and George [Lucas] – my newest pals at the time – offered me the job.”
Selleck had some bad news, though. He had also recently shot the pilot of an upcoming TV show, Magnum PI.
He told Spielberg and Lucas this piece of information, but they assured him it wouldn’t be a problem.
“Well, thanks for telling us,” the duo told him. “Most actors wouldn’t do that, but we got cards to play with CBS.”
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Selleck went on: “I’m proud that I lived up to my contract. Some people said: ‘You gotta get in the car and drive into a brick wall and get injured and get out of Magnum and do [Raiders of the Lost Ark].’”
He added: “I said: ‘I gotta look my mom and dad in the eye, and we don’t do that [fake injuries].’ So, I did Magnum, it’s not so bad, is it?”
The rest, as they say, is history. Ford played Indiana Jones in the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, and continued to play the hero for three more movies after that.
Next year, the as-of-yet untitled Indiana Jones 5 will hit cinemas.
It is due to mark the final time Ford will play Indiana after almost 50 years as the hero.
The movie also included Phoebe Waller-Bridge as well as Mads Mikkelsen and Antonio Banderas.
Indiana Jones 5 hits cinemas on June 30, 2023.
The Indiana Jones movies are available to stream on NOW.