Harrison Ford on Indiana Jones Retirement and Going Shirtless at 80: ‘I’ve Been Blessed With This Body’
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” stars Harrison Ford in his final performance as the swashbuckling fedora-wearing adventurer, a legendary role he’s played in five films across 40 years. But he says he is officially ready to retire the character.
“Is it not evident?” the 80-year-old actor joked at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday’s press conference for the action-adventure. “I need to sit down and rest a little bit.”
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In returning to the character for one last time, Ford expressed a desire to see “a completion of the five films.” He added, “I wanted to see the weight of life on him. I wanted to see him require reinvention. I wanted him to have a relationship that wasn’t a flirty movie relationship.”
He’s referring to the character played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who plays the plucky goddaughter of Indiana Jones. She, too, was happy to play more than a damsel in distress. “I loved the fighting more than I can possibly describe,” the “Fleabag” creator said. “I was surprised at how freeing it can be to throw yourself at something and just jump off a Tuk Tuk.”
Director James Mangold’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” isn’t playing in competition, but it’s one of the buzziest premieres at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It marks Ford’s return to the festival for the first time since the fourth chapter, 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
When “Dial of Destiny” premiered on Thursday night at the Palais, where Ford was greeted with a movie’s star welcome, with thousands of fans screaming his name and audience members inside the theater showering him with applause. He also received a tribute award to celebrate his lengthy Hollywood career, ranging from blockbusters like “Star Wars” and “Blade Runner 2049” to “The Fugitive” and “Witness.”
“It’s indescribable. I felt… I can’t even tell you,” an emotional Ford said while reflecting on the prior night. “It’s just extraordinary to see a relic of your life as it passes by. With the warmth of this place and sense of community, the welcome is unimaginable. It makes me feel good.”
“Dial of Destiny” sees the globe-trotting archeologist in a race against time to retrieve a legendary artifact that holds the power to change the course of history. He’s accompanied by his goddaughter (Waller-Bridge) as they face off against Jürgen Voller (Mikkelsen), a former Nazi who works for NASA. The story takes him back in time, which sees Ford look like he did a few decades ago thanks to digital de-aging technology.
“It’s not photoshop magic. That’s what I looked like 35 years ago,” Ford said. “[De-aging technology] is just a trick unless it’s supported by story. I think it was used very skillfully. I’m very happy with it.”
Does the new developments in artificial intelligence mean that Ford may again appear as a younger version of himself in future “Indy” adventures?
“No,” said producer Kathleen Kennedy. Ford responded, “You got the answer from the right person.
For what it’s worth, one journalist in the room doesn’t need the promise of a younger Ford to buy a movie ticket. In a comical moment, she told Ford that she thinks he’s still “very hot” and enjoyed a scene in the film in which he takes off his shirt.
“Look,” he said while feigning surprise. “I’ve been blessed with this body. Thanks for noticing.”
Also during the press conference, the cast of Mads Mikkelsen, Waller-Bridge, Boyd Holbrook and Shaunette Renée Wilson spoke of their appreciation for the franchise. But given their age ranges, they each discovered the films at different points in their lives.
“It was before my time,” the 33-year-old Wilson said in reference to 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark” to laughter from the room.
Mikkelsen, who is 57, joked that “30 years before I was born, the first film came out” as Ford let out a sigh. “These films are legendary for a reason,” Mikkelsen added. “We all want to be Indiana Jones. That impact is all over the world.”
Mangold returned to the festival for the first time in nearly 30 years, when he debuted his first film ‘Heavy’ in 1995 as part of Director’s Fortnite. With “Dial of Destiny,” which is the first entry without Steven Spielberg at the helm,” he expressed a sense of pressure to please the franchise’s longtime fans.
“You make a movie, you feel a lot of responsibility. You take on a movie like this, you’re aware of added expectation because it’s a property that’s so dear to people,” Mangold said. “You will have to be meta aware, obviously, of the franchise. But in the end, you have to make the damn movie.”
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