Harrison Ford recently shared that Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character, Helena Shaw, teaches Indiana Jones how “to love, and laugh, and live again” in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Ford made the comments while speaking with ScreenRant’s Joe Deckelmeier, who asked him, “Can you talk to me about what you wanted to focus on in the final chapter with Indiana Jones?”
Ford responded, “As much as we’ve come to know the character and through his experiences and his relationships this is the last Indiana Jones for me. So I wanted to deal with the end of his career. I wanted to deal with his age… And his less physical capacity is available to him. And he’s also ending his academic career, which has not been the high point of his life. So he’s a bit damped down in spirit until he’s challenged by the character that Phoebe plays.
Ford continued, “And in the context of that relationship he learns to love, and laugh, and live again.”
The actor previously explained why he chose to return to the role of Indiana Jones telling Variety, “I wanted to do the rest of the story to see the end of his career.”
As for Indiana Jones’ character, the idea that the character is spiritually damped down is something that Ford had previously detailed as well.
He told Fandango, “I think he has been teaching for however many years. He’s a bit dispirited with teaching. His students are not keen with archaeology necessary. And they’re kind of loafing through his classes and I suppose he is as well. And he’s now forced to retire by I suppose the rules at Hunter College and they are bringing somebody else in to be the head of the Archaeology Department, and he has no real future in mind for himself.”
Later in the interview he was asked, “Can you talk about revisiting [Indiana Jones] and any joy that you found in that?”
He responded, “There’s great joy in playing the character. I’m familiar with the character. I’ve enjoyed playing the character. I’ve had great writing to support the character’s behavior and the sense of who he is.”
“But now we are taking him into the twilight of his life and his career,” Ford continued. “We’re seeing him not so strong, not so brave, not so attentive, but about to go on a grand adventure with a very fascinating set of compatriots and adversaries.”
Ford is not the only one making these comments. The movie’s director James Mangold informed Josh Horowitz during an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused show explained that the film is about getting old.
He said, “So what occurred to me very strongly was a kind of dose of, a bracing dose of honesty, that I just tried to see if I unloaded this on everybody if they’d all just run for the hills or stay with me,” Mangold continued. “And what that was, was just that the strong feeling that this needed to be a movie about getting old and that my star is pushing 80, at that point pushing, now firmly in the grasp of it. And there’s no way around that. You can’t make one of those pictures with a guy pretending he’s 45, but in his late 60s. There’s no fudgy room. He’s an old guy.”
He continued, “And that doesn’t mean you make the movie about ‘Oh my back aches,’ it means you make the movie about someone in the final chapter of their lives who is reckoning with all that’s happened and what is left and to happen.”
“And to me the second I could envision that, the second it became a more honest film, which I feel these films have always been really at their core entertainments, but they were always about something. And so what I presented them was this idea that the movie would be about time,” Mangold explained.
He elaborated, “And that therefore because I’m kind of a brainiac academic about movies. And every Indiana Jones movie the relic isn’t just a relic, the relic embodies a kind of question or mysticism or magic that relates to the theme of the whole picture. And that a movie about fatherhood ends up getting the blessing of one of the knights of the Round Table. A movie about a kind of aspergersy professor who hides in books ends up being about him having to confront the power of God inside a golden box.”
“Each movie the relic is not just valuable, or important, or magical, but that the magic itself and the kind of magic it possesses ends up relating to the actual theme of that picture,” he said.
“So I confronted all of them with this kind of slew of ideas and to my great surprise none of them ran away and they all seemed to smile and get excited,” Mangold concluded.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is currently in theaters.
What do you make of Harrison Ford’s comments that Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character gets Indiana Jones to live again?