Exit Indiana as Ford harbours no regrets

Cannes farewell marks 'a relic' of star's life passing by

by Richard Mowe

James Mangold, Harrison Ford, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge attend Indiana Jones and The Dial Of Destinyphotocall at Carlton Pier, Cannes
James Mangold, Harrison Ford, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge attend Indiana Jones and The Dial Of Destinyphotocall at Carlton Pier, Cannes Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney. Copyright Getty 2023
In the cold light of a rainy day after last night’s rip-roaring premiere of James Mangold’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny at the Cannes Film Festival legendary star Harrison Ford feels good about the brouhaha and hanging up his fedora.

Thousands of the faithful screeched his name as the film team mounted the red carpet. Later he received an honorary Palme d’Or from Festival director Thierry Frémaux for a career that has also included Star Wars, Clear And Present Danger and Blade Runner.

Addressing the world’s media at a press conference this afternoon Ford confessed: “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.”

Hands up: Harrison Ford and James Mangold meet the media in Cannes
Hands up: Harrison Ford and James Mangold meet the media in Cannes Photo: Richard Mowe
The fifth instalment of Indiana's adventure sees Ford’s globe-trotting archaeologist again facing a race against time to recover a legendary artefact, said to hold the power to change the universe and the course of history. Along for the ride are his god-daughter Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mads Mikkelsen as an ex-Nazi who works for NASA.

Thanks to the magic of digital technology Ford is de-aged to look like he did 35 years ago. “I wanted to see through the completion of the five films and to round out the story of the man who depended so much on the vigour of his youth. And everything was brought together to support me in my old age.”

Asked if he really wanted to let Indiana go he laughed, saying “Isn’t obvious why I should let him go?” He will continue working in TV series Shrinking in which he plays a psychiatrist as well as a new season of 1923 opposite Helen Mirren.

He was pleased with the representation of himself as young man. “The technology has evolved to the point where it seems very realistic. I know that that is what my face looked like 35 years ago. It is scientific mining of the library at Lucas Film. Effects like this stick out like a sore thumb if they are not real but here the tech is used very skilfully and assiduously. I do not look back and say I wish I was that guy again. I am really happy with ageing. I do not look back and wish I was young again.”

Ford was delighted with director James Mangold (taking over from Steven Spielberg) as a collaborator. “I loved his films and know them all but I didn’t know him as well as I do now. He is generous, supportive and disciplined. He never stops and pours himself into the job.”

After a compliment about his physique on show and his enduring “hotness” after he takes his shirt off he rejoined: “I have been blessed with this body, so thank you for noticing.”

Mads Mikkelsen and Harrison Ford
Mads Mikkelsen and Harrison Ford Photo: Richard Mowe
Mangold recalled seeing Raiders Of The Lost Ark in a multiplex in a mall in upstate New York as a 17-year-old. “I never dreamed then that I would be directing one of them. I wanted to make my own film and the final script went through many drafts. I was also in touch with Steven [Spielberg] both before and during the shoot. Eventually the movie tells you in which direction it wants to go.”

Waller-Bridge confessed to a certain trepidation, but was delighted to be “part of the gang.” She added: “It was nerve-wracking to come to something that is so adored. I love the fighting, the stunts and the action elements. It is surprising how freeing they are for an actor.”

Kathleen Kennedy, who is head of Lucasfilm and has been associated with the franchise since its inception, declared that she supported the current writers’ strike in Hollywood. “We couldn’t have done any of this without great writing. Most people I know are in full support of writers getting what they deserve.”

The producer insisted the series had reached the end of the road and there were no more Indy adventures planned. “That’s it. And you got the answer from the right person,” she smiled.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is released in the UK and Ireland on 28 June.

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