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March 19 2006

Is Harrison Ford Too Old to Play Indy? And should Nathan Fillion replace him? This is the question asked in this week's Sci Fi Wire Poll.

The tags? They crack me up.

Indy 4 is heading into production, it appears. I really, really hope somebody puts Nathan's (full!) name on the table for this - I think he's both perfect for the role, and he deserves the $$.
I think Ford's too old, but no one else should play Indy (except for River Phoenix... and whoever played him on TV... but that's it!). There's about as much need for a new Indy movie as there was for Terminator 3 (that is to say: none).
Except that, despite it all, T3 wasn't a bad movie.

Yes, there's no need for Indy IV - but if they are going to make it, Harrison Ford should reprise the role. Lucas was recently asked abou age being a factor and he noted that this is part of the script.
I read an interview with Harrison Ford in the latest Empire magazine and he got asked about M. Night Shyamalan working on the script at one point.

Yes, he was, and I think we lost him through the failure of George and Steven to attend to him, which I think is a real shame.

No one else can play Indy but Harrison but I would loved to have seen M. Night Shyamalan's take on the hero that is Indiana Jones. Course there would have probably some weird twist at the end.
As much as I love Nathan Fillion I would hate to see this happen. Everyone would be comparing him to Harrison Ford and would be super critical and blame it all on him if the movie failed. Here's hoping NF can find a role to make him as big a star as HF that is all his own.
Course there would have probably some weird twist at the end.

In the M. Night Shymalan script, Indiana Jones would realize he's a suphero-like character of George Lucas' creation and that while he's spent his life being scared of snakes, he should've been more scared of water.
Indy 4 must never be filmed. I really hope they never make it--Last Crusade was too perfect an ending.
As long as the film is set in the 50s, as rumoured, then there's definitely no need for any recasting. Ford's 63 but he can pass for ten years younger - must be drinking from the Grail.
I loves me some Ford and Fillion but like Firefly Flanatic, I'd hate to ever see any comparisons -- and later blame -- directed at my beloved Nathan.
Silly question. The important question is: How old is Henry "Indiana" Jones IN THE STORY? Then the next question is: Is this within Ford's age range?
I'd love to see Nathan play a "younger" Indy in a flashback. A pre-Raiders Indy.
Nathan deserves better than to be seen as "the replacement" for an existing movie franchise. The Indy films are fantastic but they have had their time now so the trilogy should remain as it is. That is how it will be best remembered anyway.

Nathan is more than good enough to be given an all new lead character to spawn his own franchise of movies. It's just a pity that that character isn't likely to be Captain Mal.
Yes, I think there have been enough comparisons already. Nathan will find his own strength and stardom without being the "next Harrison Ford".
On the other hand, he would be a great Indiana Jones.
Man, Whedon's got freakin' Wonder Woman (Dawn moment). The blame will be flyin' thick and fast soon. Fun!

Indy 4 is almost certainly going to happen. I suspect if people are going to write it off, they should at least wait to see who's making it, what the story is, who the actors are, or indeed anything about it.

Knight working on Indy 4? Bliss. I watched The Village at the weekend again. It's a good movie. And I know the world disagrees with me, but the world is clearly wrong. Or not me. Or both.
M Night's work isn't going to be used for the film--it was a few years and screenwriters ago.
I somehow didn't see the Indiana Jones movies till last year, maybe that's why I don't fear this sequel as much as some people, I haven't watched and treasured the movies since they were released. With the amount of work the script has been through you'd think it would be pretty difficult to screw it up.

I look forward to any future entries to the series, but think that noone other than Harrison Ford should play him. Age shouldn't be too much of an issue, just set it 20/25 years after the last one, Indy didn't seem like a character that would be happy to retire into a routine, normal life.

Would be amazing for Nathan if they did go that way though, and if he were a success in the role you'd think it wouldn't hurt the Serenity franschise.
What no one's talking about is with the movie set after WWII, there can be no Nazis! And Indy hates those guys! Communists aren't quite as evil.
I don't really see a need for Indy 4, as I agree that the third one ended the trilogy perfectly, but I think it is inevitable. I cannot imagine anyone but Ford in the role, and I think it would be a disservice to both actors to consider anything different. That said, I certainly see Nathan doing Harrison Ford-type roles in the future, although I would not want to see him get as typecast as Ford became. As much as I have always liked Harrison Ford, I think Nathan is the better actor and has more range.
Silly question. The important question is: How old is Henry "Indiana" Jones IN THE STORY? Then the next question is: Is this within Ford's age range?
I'd love to see Nathan play a "younger" Indy in a flashback. A pre-Raiders Indy.

AmazonGirl nailed it for me, both about Mr. Ford and about our own Mr. Fillion. OTOH, Nathan himself just said he was willing to step in to other franchises, in this case, James Bond (but OTOH again, that is a franchise with a history of recasting). So -- flashback Indy, plus new characters in new franchises, IMO. Where's that option in the poll? ;-)
As much as I'd love to see Nathan pull this off, realistically it will never happen. Ford is involved in approving the final script so that means he'll reprise the role. The only way Nathan would be even considered is if Ford wanted to step down.
Well, gossi, it doesn't take a Hollywood insider to know that Indy IV will be produced by George Lucas and directed by Steven Speilberg and star Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. I think that's worthy enough pedigree to give the film the benefit of the doubt.

I'd rather not see Nathan as Indy, in any case, nor would he be a good James Bond.
I don't think Nathan should be the new Indy. That's mr. Ford's role and he alone should play it. If he's too old to reprise it with with the current script, it shouldn't be filmed. Just imagine someone doing a Serenity sequel in years to come, after mr. Fillion has gotten too old to pull off a convincing Mal and they end up casting someone younger in the role. However well he did it, the fans'd probably never truly warm to the guy.

So while I love Nathan to bits and really, really, really want to see him become a big ol' star, I don't think Indy IV should be the way to go. Not looking forward to the possible indy-fan backlash against him if he does.

[ edited by GVH on 2006-03-20 02:39 ]
Actually, looking at the whole project, I agree with those saying they'd rather this film not be made. We already saw the humor and adventure associated with an older Jones (namely, Mr. Connery). But, with the powerful people working on "Indy IV: Indy Needs an IV" ;-), of course it will be made, as Keith G and others point out. And it is Mr. Ford's role, fair and square.

Even if he's not in this film, at least Nathan is on a course to keep getting lead roles in movies, so his "big break" is still very likely, and that indeed is good for him personally and for the 'Verse. :-)
I think they should cast Nathan as the bad guy with black goo coming out of his eyes before Indy cuts him in two.
Everyone would be comparing him to Harrison Ford they did with Serenity (aka Mal/Han comparisons).
Two things instantly sprung to mind. 1) Brendan Fraser has already been Indy in Mummy I & II -- quite a few critics noted that at the time. 2) If they do factor age into the script, then it must be Ford. The best Star Trek of them all was STII- Wrath of Khan and part of what made it so good was that they allowed Kirk and crew not just to acknowledge that they were getting older but made it an important part of the way they fought their foe. No reason that can't work as well for Indy and his Pa.
As much as I like Harrison Ford, there comes a time when age DOES become a factor. Who here can watch Death Wish V without being conscious of the fact that Charles Bronson was 73 when he made it? I want to suspend my disbelief, not lynch it.
Age isn't a problem unless someone is too fussy about it, Harrison Ford can play a aging Indy, turn age into the script's advantage, Lethal Weapon 4 anyone.
As long as Lucas and Spielberg live, I doubt anyone will be cast in a full length motion picture version of an Indy story other than Harrison Ford.

In other news, Nathan Fillion has been reported as saying:

"Did you ever see Galaxy Quest? When Tim Allen comes out and he cheers, well, that's going to be me when I'm 60. I'll be this fat and balding guy who's trying to squeeze into his outfit and wears suspenders."

Yes. Fillion would make a great Indy. Fillion would make a great anything if given the opportunity. As I've said before, the man's proven he's a powerful anchor for any ensemble. In order to do that, you need to be talented enough as an actor to be able to carry the weight of your own role, and then on top of that have the capability to make whoever you're acting opposite look good. He could carry a film solo if he had to. However, he's already got a role as awesome to play as Indy could ever be. It's called "Malcolm Reynolds." It's a hell of a role. Multi-faceted. Dark. Funny. Daring. You want an action adventure comedy romance suspense thriller? It's not Indy 4 for Fillion. It's Serenity 2.
Should Nathan Fillion play Indy?

A world of yes.

BUT - only if there had been no Indy movies before.

I'd like to see Fillion do damn well, and let's face it, taking on the role of a character that was made famous by someone else? Wouldn't quite be the best idea.

[ edited by Emma Frost on 2006-03-20 05:15 ]
You want an action adventure comedy romance suspense thriller? It's not Indy 4 for Fillion. It's Serenity 2.

And meanwhile we all might die waiting for that... and certainly Fillion's career would if he pinned his hopes on it.
Harrison Ford will always be Indiana Jones to me.
Nathan would be better off playing Wonder Woman.
Spielberg and Lucas truly did themselves a disservice by waiting so long to make Indy 4. They should have had Indy 4 thru 6 finished throughout the '90s. Harrison Ford is now too old. There's nothing wrong with the Indy character getting the 007 or Dr. Who treatment by allowing new actors to perform him.

[ edited by Hjermsted on 2006-03-20 07:08 ]
Harrison Ford should be Indy if they insist on making IJ4. However, it would make a huge amount of sense to introduce a long lost son or some such since they introduced his Dad in the last one. That, it would be fun to see NF play.
"Spielberg and Lucas truly did themselves a disservice by waiting so long..."

They were both a little busy with other projects. This one's always been more of a pet project for the two of them. They know there's an audience, but they had other things they wanted to work on. For Lucas it was the Star Wars thing, and building his special effects empire. For Spielberg it was over twenty other films. Harrison Ford's been a little busy too.

IF they ever get Indy 4 off the ground, it'll be because they'll find it fun. If it's not fun for them they won't do it. It's been over a decade in Development Hell. The script is now reportedly in the can and after Spielberg's recent serious works, he's probably aching to do something silly and fun. Lucas should be free, now that he's done ..well, what he had to do to ruin my childhood memories of a wonderful single film. And Ford? He's an actor. Actors need roles. I've read a bit about him. Before acting he was a carpenter. Did rather well for himself in that role. He tends to approach his film acting career as a job and not much else. The world sees him as a star. He's grossed more money (over five billion) world wide than any other. He just sees it as his bread and butter. The role of Indy is a lucrative one. He's sown his wild oats and proven the world over he can portray a suitable variety of roles. A fourth Indy film won't type cast him. Can't harm him, and will probably allow him to buy Calista Flockhart that extra Big Mac she so desperately needs.


I wonder if they're going to get the fedora out of the Smithsonian for this?

[ edited by ZachsMind on 2006-03-20 08:14 ]
Oh my, another Indiana Jones.

I am somehow reminded of South Park, "Don't watch the movie, you guys. It'll be terrible. Close your eyes!"

Maybe Nathan should play Indy Jr. And they can replace the guns with walkie talkies.
gossi said:
"I watched The Village at the weekend again. It's a good movie. And I know the world disagrees with me, but the world is clearly wrong. Or not me. Or both."

Oh man, the world is nuts. Or they just went into that film with some bizarre expectations of what it would be. Maybe it was mismarketed. Me, I hadn't seen any ads for it prior to going into the theatre that opening week, had avoided them so as not to be spoiled. The five friends I went with adored it. I had issues with much if not most of Signs, agree that Unbreakable was underrated (though not as great as many of its most vocal fans think), and The Sixth Sense was alternately chilling in parts but more than that, one of the most successfully happy-sad films ever (cried twice, heh). I think The Village nearly rivals Sixth Sense for best M. Night flick though. It was a beautiful story with strong performances. Frickin gorgeously shot too. Can't wait for Lady in the Water.

The people who complain about M. Night's signature "twists" as being fatal faults in his work (much as I disagree with them--except in Signs' case, bleh) are missing out on a whole bunch of other compelling aspects.
Raiders was my favourite film ever until - you know - that other one was released last year.

Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones, Spielberg & Lucas should factor his age into the mix, they did in the Last Crusade.

Nathan would be perfect in that type of role but deserves better than to step into Harrisons shoes.
Sorry..IMHO...Nathan Fillon will never hold a candle to Harrison Ford. Indiana Jones is Ford's role...just like Spike is Marster's role, or Magnum is Tom Selleck's.

NO ONE ELSE will ever be able to do justice to those roles, except the actors that made them memorable in the first place.

At least I wouldn't pay to see someone else play just wouldn't be the same thrill!
I agree that Harrison Ford has really made the role of Indiana Jones his own, but I think Nathan could play the character in a flashback to when he was slightly younger, or something.

However I do think it almost does an injustice to Nathan to suggest that he should just replace Ford. I think these sugestions are born solely from Nathan's performance in Serenity, and I think it's insulting to suggest that simply because there are some general similarities between the two characters that Nathan is basically playing Indiana Jones.

Mal is a much more complicated and compelling character than either Indiana Jones or Han Solo, and I think that Nathan deserves to make Mal an iconic figure, or simply to go on and work on other projects and attain success, rather than simply playing a character loosely similar to one he has played before. The man has range.
Harrison Ford is the only one who should play Indy.

I mean, would anyone want to see another actor play Mal Reynolds?
I agree, it doesn't do anyone any favors saying that Harrison Ford should be put out to pasture and some young guy should play him. I think that would be the death of young guy's career, since Harry is so much a part of Indiana Jones.

BTW, last I checked Indy wasn't an Immortal and he can actually age a bit. You know, Clint Eastwood did wonders in the UNFORGIVEN film. (which won an Oscar) People get older but we still manage to love them. Nobody will replace Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones.

Speaking of aging, if there's a Spike movie, vampires do manage to age. Look at the freaking Master--he's certainly not pretty like Spike and Angel. I would suspect a soul puts wear on you. And Illyria can age, too, since I guess she's taking her toll on Fred's body.
I mean, would anyone want to see another actor play Mal Reynolds?

No one else apart from Rob Schneider could do Mal justice.
Harrions is now older than Sean Connery was when he played Dr Jones Sr.

And considering Connery is still kicking ass I'm gonna have to go with no I don't think he's too old.

Would I love to see Nathan in the movie anyway? Sure. Perhaps in all his hears of globe trotting Dr Jones had a son. Hell maybe Dr Jones Sr had another after his wife died and Jr has a brother. Is it wrong to want Nathan to be all famous and what-not so I can point at people and say "See! I told you he was freaking awesome."
Not having read all the comments, I say this:


I think that if they incorporated a new person such as Nathan they should put it in the storyline, and have Harrison Ford still play Indy, himself. But Nathan would do awesomely.

Yes, and this is all noting that they really don't need another Indy Jones. But since THAT point is moot (they've already started production) I want Nathan in there.
Ha! Just check the current results, Yes and No are tied. I wonder why that is?
And I forgot to add that I also think Harrison could do a great job with the next Indy film. I haven't really enjoyed any of his recent films, but I certainly think he still has the energy to play Indy. I also hate the idea that actors or actresses are too "old" to work anymore.

Firstly, if someone is good for the part, age isn't necessarily as important as their ability, and I think there a lot of versatile people out there that could convincingly pull off a range of ages. Take even James Marsters as an example, certainly from season two of Buffy to season five of Angel he miraculously looks like he hasn't aged at all, or shows very little signs of it.

Secondly, the idea that all the best characters are young and beautiful, and actresses especially seem to find it difficult to find work after hitting fifty. I really think this is a problem with Hollywood that really needs to be altered, that not everyone has to be a young, thin, blonde woman, and that other characters can be just as interesting to write about.
If you wanted to restart the franchise with a new actor, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better actor for the job than Fillion.

I mean NO.

Maybe. I don't know!

Harrison Ford will always remain iconic, even if the movie sucks. The same can't be said for Nathan (yet). I would rather he become known for a series of Serenity movies or something not already established than as the guy who dared to replace Harrison Ford.

Think of it this way. Would we want to see the role of Malcolm Reynolds recast? Not in a million years. Now there is a rumor that there is a part for Indy's younger brother...
Sorry if this is a bit of a sidebar, but I haven't seen Last Crusade since I was a kid (probably too young to really appreciate it). Indy and his father drank from the grail, so are they immortal now? Or is the whole 'price of immortality' that the knight was talking about the fact that you won't die unless you leave the tomb/church/whatever? Didn't get that when I was younger and never got around to watching it again.

As for the topic at hand, Nate would do brilliantly, but for me this isn't James Bond. Indy will always be Harrison or no one in my eyes. He's older sure, but he's still a very vital man. Honestly don't think I could take him in a fair fight . . . if I thought he was going to start a fair fight . . . or if someone paid me . . . or if there was a woman involved . . . ;)
I have to say Nathan as Indiana would be shiny. I'm not really emotionaly attached to Harrison being Indiana, but I would love it if they could incorporate him into the movie somehow. A "passing off the torch" if you will. Ya, I'm sure there will be comparisons, but come's Nathan. He would be flawless.
I think if Nathan became Indy, he would become known as the "poor mans Harrison Ford", and Nathan deserves so much better then that (besides the fact that I think he can act circles around Ford). But I would love to see him in such a high-profile movie. I'd like to see him playing against the hero-type, perhaps as a younger rival to Indy, who is a lot of things Indy isn't: nerdish, careful, not into shooting guns or great romances, but despite all this, is a formidable rival. Or something else that takes him away from all the comparisons, because it really cheats Nathan out of his own limelight to constantly be compared to Ford.
Thirty years down the line, someone will be talking about some young, dynamic actor being the next Nathan Fillion.
I just think it's great that the "Nathan is the new Harrison Ford" meme seems to be spreading a bit beyond the strictly Whedony world.

And, if it comes true, nobody's going to tell me that doesn't greatly increase the chances of Serenifly being the "new Star Trek/X-Files cult phenom" or whatever.

[ edited by bobster on 2006-03-20 22:30 ]
Tycho--the price for immortality was that you couldn't leave the temple.
Thanks, pat. Was never 100% clear on that. Sounds like a bum deal to me. There's only so many games of temple solitare you can play before immortality becomes overrated.
Aw--what the Hell...If James Bond and Doctor Who can have different faces, then why not Indy? They'll have to recast Marcus Brody, anyway, since Denholm Elliott died in 1992.

[ edited by Gilmoid on 2006-03-21 00:16 ]
Because, he's Indy.

Honestly, I like the comparison to the idea of recasting Mal. Nope. Nathan is Mal. Harrison is Indy. (I just wish they'd leave well enough [Last Crusade] alone.)

I don't know anything about Doctor Who, but James Bond existed for years before Sean Connery portayed him. That's why I don't think he was the only man for the character.
Believe it or not, American actor Barry Nelson portrayed James Bond in a TV production of "Casino Royale" on American TV back in 1954:
I think Harrison should play Indy, and that the movie should reflect his age. However, I will heave violently if the words "I'm getting too old for this" are uttered by Dr. Jones.

Nathan could pull off the role wonderfully, but unless they do a prequel, I think he is too young compared to the Indy that we saw in The Last Crusade.
kathylovesspike: "NO ONE ELSE will ever be able to do justice to those roles, except the actors that made them memorable in the first place."

Just under a century ago (and perhaps even today in some dusty corners of libraries or universities) there were people who would argue that only John Barrymore captured Hamlet's true essence and blah blah blah, but before him there were others. Richard Burbage was perhaps the first man to portray Hamlet. No doubt among the groundlings, the first time someone else portrayed Hamlet at the Globe Theater, there were people arguing that only Burbage can play Hamlet. How dare anyone else say those words? Wear that costume? How dare anyone spoil the good name of Burbage by soiling the character with their performance.

Do you honestly care about Whedon and his works? The stories he tells? Do you honestly want people five hundred years from now watching a Tri-D vid of a performance of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Do you honestly want people to not only remember Buffy, Angel, and Firefly, but experience it again and again in new and innovative ways?

Get off this kick that other people can't play the roles he invents. It's the story that matters. Speaking as an ex-actor, we come a dime a dozen.
It can be done, of course, but it's a fine line to tread when you are talking iconic figures in their trademark roles. The originator (or iconic actor) of the role (usually) has to be either too old, dead, disabled, or not interested before it can be recast with minimal controversy. Harrison Ford is not too old to play Indiana Jones, provided that Jones has aged in the story as well. If Harrison Ford is willing to play the role once again, there should be no question about who should play him.

On the other hand, if he decided to step down and retire as Indiana Jones, by all means, get Nathan Fillion (if he wants the role).
Well, ex-actors might come a dime a dozen, but I'd say the cast of Firefly/Serenity is a once in a lifetime ensemble. So like Nebula1400 said, some roles shouldn't be recast until that lifetime is up.
I'm far more interested in seeing the future tales of Serenity than I am in seeing those actors in those roles. I'd actually like to see Maher and Staite and all the rest in a variety of different roles. They've all proven themselves on both the big and little screen. Casting directors should be tripping over each other to get these talents - but not for Serenity. Except maybe for the movies, so long as they can and want to get together for them.

I want the tv series Firefly rebooted with an entirely new cast and a fresh start, on a network that's going to believe in Joss and his vision and the people who back him up. Roles don't belong to actors. Actors don't belong to roles. The general public needs to get off this kick because it's part of what causes Hollywood and TV City to act so psychopathic: they're only trying to give us what they think we want but what we want is not at all rational or logical.


The more I think of this the more I like the idea of Fillion being in Indy 4 but not as Dr. Jones Jr... How about Dr. Henry Jones The Third? Or more specifically, Johnny Ravenwood, son of Marion. Indy & Marion's love child from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then they could have three generations of the Jones' boys running around for Indy 4. ...and a dog. A big shaggy unkempt mutt of a dog whose face you can barely see for all the fur.
Also speaking as a former actor, of course other actors can play these roles, but that does not mean that they should or that they will play them as well. Actors are not interchangable, no matter how much producers would like them to be.

Theater performances are seen by few and live only in the memories of those who saw them. It makes it easier for another actor to be given a fair shot at the role. When the original performance is on film it makes it more difficult but still quite possible...A Star is Born, anyone? Usually if the role is made iconic by a particular actor however, the next one to take it on had better have waited long enough that most of the original audience is old or dead.

Personally I don't feel Mel Gibson pulled off Maverik or Steve Martin pulled off Father of the Bride. The originals had so much more finesse. On the other hand Gomez and Morticia Addams seemed to work fine as a European influenced version of the characters in the movies and a very American version in the TV show. (Needless to say I was thrilled when they created Star Trek Next Generation rather than trying to recast Kirk, Spock and McCoy as they were rumored to be contemplating at the time.)

I saw the original 1776 on Broadway with William Daniels, Ken Howard, William de Silva and John Cullum. Years later I saw the Brent Spinner and Pat Hingle version. I doubt that there were many people in the audience who had seen the original live, but there was a marked difference in the reaction of the audience between the two. Quite simply the audience was not laughing in the revival. Pat Hingle especially, stepped on what should have been his own laughs and undermined the funny every chance he got. It was as though he had no idea that Ben Franklin was witty, charming, engaging or anything but a cranky old man. (I'm sure that was how he got the French to commit troops to the colonies, by being cranky. /sarcasm) I had seen better in summer stock.

IMO Joss's words are even more dangerous to an actor who does not really get it. They will not fit in everyone's mouths equally. I think it is easy to underestimate the actors that have been in his roles and their contributions to Joss's work because he chooses so wisely. I would love to see Joss's work continue forever, but I would not expect certain of the characters to ever be done quite as well as when Joss has picked the actors and has been there to help them understand his vision. If we had a time machine, we might find the same to be true of Shakespeare...or not. There is no way of knowing.

I also look forward to seeing all the Jossverse actors in lots of other roles because they are generally so very good.

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