‘Indiana Jones 5’ Used New VFX Technology to De-Age Harrison Ford Back to Original Trilogy Indy: ‘It’s a Little Spooky’

Harrison Ford is back in adventure mode in the first images from “Indiana Jones 5,” which debuted exclusively via Empire magazine. Along with some photos comes confirmation that Ford will be de-aged using visual effects so that Indiana Jones appears in the film as his age from the original trilogy. The de-aging technology is only used in the film’s opening scene, which is set in a castle in 1944 and pits Indiana against a group of Nazis.

“Then we fall out, and you find yourself in 1969,” said director James Mangold, who is taking over filmmaking duties on the franchise from Steven Spielberg. “So that the audience doesn’t experience the change between the ‘40s and ‘60s as an intellectual conceit, but literally experiences the buccaneering spirit of those early days… and then the beginning of now.”

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“My hope is that, although it will be talked about in terms of technology, you just watch it and go, ‘Oh my God, they just found footage. This was a thing they shot 40 years ago’,” added producer Kathleen Kennedy. “We’re dropping you into an adventure, something Indy is looking for, and instantly you have that feeling, ‘I’m in an Indiana Jones movie.’”

As reported by Empire magazine: “Several techniques were employed to pull the sequence off, including new ILM software that trawled through archived material of the younger Harrison Ford before matching it to the freshly-shot footage.”

Ford said seeing himself de-aged was “a little spooky,” but he added, “This is the first time I’ve seen it where I believe it… I don’t think I even want to know how it works, but it works. It doesn’t make me want to be young, though. I’m glad to have earned my age.”

The bulk of “Indiana Jones 5” takes place in 1969 and is set against the space run. The movie will return the franchise to its “Raiders of the Lost Ark” roots by having Indiana face off against the Nazis once again (hence the 1944 opening). One major action set-piece in the film is set at the Apollo 11 ticker tape parade in New York, which took place Aug. 13, 1969.

“The simple fact is that the moon-landing program was run by a bunch of ex-Nazis,” co-writer Jez Butterworth told Empire. “How ‘ex’ they are is the question. And it gets up Indy’s nose…”

Mads Mikkelsen is playing the “Indiana Jones 5” villain, a man named Voller who is inspired by real-life Nazi-turned-NASA-engineer Wernher von Braun. The actor teased, “He’s a man who would like to correct some of the mistakes of the past. There is something that could make the world a much better place to live in. He would love to get his hands on it. Indiana Jones wants to get his hands on it as well. And so, we have a story.”

Starring opposite Ford and Mikkelsen in the film are Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Thomas Kretschmann, Boyd Holbrook, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Toby Jones, Antonio Banderas and John Rhys-Davies.

The fifth “Indiana Jones” movie comes at a time when Disney and Lucasfilm are hoping to revive the franchise in more ways than one. Variety exclusively reported earlier this month that Disney is actively looking to develop an Indiana Jones TV show for Disney+. The Mouse House and Lucasfilm have been bringing up the possibility of a streaming show set in the world of the globe trotting archaeologist in general meetings with writers of late.

Disney will release “Indiana Jones 5” in theaters nationwide on June 30, 2023.

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