The iconic role of Indiana Jones is one of the most famous parts that Harrison Ford has ever played, but what many fans don’t know is that another popular actor very nearly got this part.
Karen Allen, who starred with Ford in the 1981 Indiana Jones movie Raiders Of The Lost Ark, spoke out this week to say that Tom Selleck was actually initially cast as the lead character in the film.
“Tom Selleck had been cast, and then it turned out ‘Magnum P.I.’ got picked up,” Allen explained to Variety. “They wouldn’t let him out of his contract, and so he was heartbroken. I only know that way after the fact because I sat with him many years later and he told me how heartbroken he was.”
Allen went on to talk about her own experience auditioning for the film.
“I auditioned with Tim Matheson and John Shea,” she recalled. “John Shea and I flew from New York together on the same plane to do a screen test, and Tim Matheson was in Los Angeles but I had worked with him just a couple of years before in Animal House, so we were pals. I did the auditions with them and since discovered that Sam Elliot and Jeff Bridges auditioned.”
“Other than those four, I don’t know who else auditioned for Indy but I know an awful lot of women who auditioned for Marion,” Allen continued. “I’ve read that a lot of women Steven was interested in refused to do a screen test and that was a way to eliminate people. So, I saw no harm in doing a screen test. I didn’t have a very established career at that point, so the idea of doing a screen test was thrilling to me.”
Selleck himself has previously opened up about nearly playing Indiana Jones, and he appears to be over the heartbreak these days.
“After I did the pilot for Magnum, I tested for Indiana Jones and got the job,” Selleck explained back in 2017. “Steven [Spielberg] and George [Lucas] offered me the job. And I said, ‘Well, I’ve done this pilot. And they said, ‘Thanks for telling us. Most actors wouldn’t do that, but we got cards to play with CBS. Turned out, CBS wouldn’t let me do it…Harrison Ford hates to hear this. Harrison, this is your role, and you’re indelible in it; it’s just an interesting story. I signed a deal for ‘Magnum,’ and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m proud that I lived up to my contract.”
Check out Selleck talk more about this in the video below.