Harrison Ford knows jokes about aging can get old fast.
The 80-year-old star of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” revealed that director James Mangold (who co-wrote the film with Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth) removed the “old jokes” in the original script pointing to Ford and his hero’s real-life age. The actor has been playing the archaeologist for 42 years.
“In [‘Dial of Destiny’] there were a lot of old jokes in the script. We took them all out,” Ford told The Hollywood Reporter. “There is a moment where he observes himself in this situation and says, ‘What the fuck am I doing in here?’ But I hate what I call ‘talking about the story.’ I want to see circumstances in which the audience gets a chance to experience the story, not to be led through the nose with highlights pointed out to them. I’d rather create behavior that is the joke of age rather than talk about it.”
Co-writer and director Mangold added, “The mistake you can make in movies is when someone is of a ripe age but the movie continues this charade that they’re not that old. Every challenge he faces is through the reality of what someone of that age would be dealing with.”
Mangold continued that Ford “looks for ways to make it more like life, mess up the false moments and to take the piss out of his own character. He’s got this great sense of how to be a hero and how to undermine the tropes of heroism at the same time.”
Ford was also de-aged for certain sequences of his final turn as Indy, with “Dial of Destiny” beginning in 1944 and predominantly taking place in 1969.
“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,'” producer and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy said in an earlier interview with Empire. “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.'”
While Ford has called seeing the digitized younger version of himself “spooky,” he also admitted it was a “fantastic” feat in technological advancement.
“That is my actual face at that age,” Ford said. “They have this artificial intelligence program. It can go through every foot of film Lucasfilm owns. Because I did a bunch of movies for them, they have all this footage, including film that wasn’t printed. They could mine it from where the light is coming from, the expression. But that’s my actual face. I put little dots on my face and I say the words and they make it. It’s fantastic.”
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