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The Making of

Chapter 2: Casting


In January 1991, official preproduction started and a search got underway to cast the actors who would portray Indiana Jones and the people surrounding him. The series’ casting office contacted with many agents who may represent anyone who might fit the character’s description.

The first persons Lucas turned to were Harrison Ford and River Phoenix, to reprise their roles from Last Crusade. Ford turned down the part of Old Indy because he believed that a role in a TV series had nothing to offer to his career. On the other hand Phoenix who had begun his career from TV sitcoms had struggled to get out of the television medium and was unwilling to return to it. Unfortunately, two years later he was found dead from a leathal cocktail of drugs.

Since the two front runners turned down their respective parts rumors started to circulate among the industry. At some point, there was a rumor that Jason Connery, son of Sean, would take the role of Young Indy but since they needed someone younger nothing ever happened.

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Corey Carrier as
10-year old Indy.

The role of 10-year old Indy was given to the 11-year old Corey Carrier who had worked previously in a television movie called Bump in the Night and sitcoms like Spencer for Hire and Edward Woodward’s The Equalizer. Carrier’s feature film credits included My Blue Heaven, After Dark, My Sweet, Men Don’t Leave and The Witches of Eastwick. Carrier’s adventures began when his agent received a phone call asking if she represented anyone who might fit the character’s description. Thinking she had the right boy she sent little Corey to New York to meet with the show’s casting agents. They called him back a couple of times and then they sent him to California to meet George Lucas for final approval.

The part of adolescent Indy was finally given to 26-year old Sean Patrick Flanery who was chosen out of hundreds who auditioned for the role. Flanery was one of the many people standing in line at the theater back in 1981 to see Raiders of the Lost Ark. "My first encounter with Indiana Jones was in the theater. I must have been ten years old, but it was the most exciting film I’d ever seen in my life. The scene where the big ball chases him out of that tunnel stuck with me… It’s still with me. That was the talk of every classroom. ‘Did you see Raiders of the Lost Ark yet?’ I mean, the thought never even entered my mind that one day I’d be playing Indiana Jones. It’s weird how stuff like that happens."

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Sean Patrick Flanery

Sean Patrick Flanery was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and he was raised in Houston, Texas, since the age of three. As any other boy in his teens he was interested in rock music, sports, and cars. During his University days he fell for a gorgeous girl who was taking a drama class. Flanery dropped an English class, posthaste, and signed up for drama. Immediately he fell in love with drama and had the chance to do all kinds of College Theater while the girl ended up being a real flake.

Following graduation Flanery moved to Los Angeles and got a job as a waiter in order to support himself. He managed to save some money and had new head shots taken. With these shots in hand he started to look for an agent to represent him. Eight months later he got one he could trust and started with a string of television commercials and later with small roles in several movies. In January of 1991 he was called in to audition for the role of Indiana Jones. After numerous callbacks and a meeting with George Lucas, Sean started getting exciting. It wasn’t until three months later that he was notified that he had won the role. "It had been slowly building up and I knew I was getting closer and closer and closer, and finally toward the last week, I pretty much knew I had it, but I didn’t have the final word, so I couldn’t sleep at night!"

After being cast, Flanery found himself flying to London were he spent four months heavily busy in preparation for his demanding role. "I spent two months in preproduction taking horse-back-riding lessons. I got pretty good. I did all kinds of trick riding, you know, standing up in the saddle, jumping on the horse from a full gallop, running next to it, jumping on, jumping off, jumping back on, jumping over cliffs, I mean, all kinds of stuff. I learned a lot about stunts. How to do stunts, how to do falls, how to do punches. What the camera reads as opposed to what really looks like a punch. I’ve even taken some piano lessons."

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George Hall as old Indiana Jones.

As for Old Indy, the part was given to Broadway actor George Hall. A graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater in New York, he had performed in over nineteen Broadway shows, had worked with such Hollywood names as Carl Channing and Richard Gere and had made appearances in several soap operas in New York. He had also appeared in the motion picture Johnny Be Good.

Hall nearly missed the role of Old Indy at first because in order to audition he sent a package to the Chronicles casting office containing an audiocassette and four headshots. When, the package failed to found its destination Hall visited the LA casting office in-person. After a few more visits he got the role.

"I was so delighted when I found out I had won the role of the older Indiana Jones. It’s a wonderful opportunity. I think the idea of playing a man who has been known as a hero to the audience, in his final years, reminiscing about the time of his youth before he became a hero, is fascinating. My idea of the guy is that the eternal boy is in the man. I’ve forgotten who said it, but there’s a Latin phrase that means the old man is just the boy repeated. That’s what Old Indy is. You can see this in his movie character. He never stops being the excited boy in an adventure, doing wonderful things. It’s in Harrison Ford, in that little smirk on his face when he embraces a woman."

Hall never hesitated to say that Old Indy would be completely different from the character people knew from the movies. "Indy at ninety-three is feisty old and is never hesitant to tell someone what he thinks of their behavior if it is obviously mean-spirited. He’s heroic in the sense that he’s past the age of caring whether people appreciate what he’s saying or not. He’s old enough to know that the truisms are the truisms and should be believed because they are true. He’s a good storyteller and he makes people want to listen to him and learn from listening to him. And then they go on and learn something else and continue the process of learning. The challenge of playing Jones at age 93 is to make him interesting so that when he tells a story, people don’t go, ‘Oh, my God, here he goes again!’ I’m not playing the Indiana Jones that people all know from going to the movies. I’m playing a man, ninety-three, who is an Indiana Jones of another time and era. I want to be the Indiana Jones people love now."

Unlike the help River Phoenix had on the set of the Last Crusade, none of the three actors had the chance to meet Harrison Ford in person; instead, McCallum gave them videotapes of the three films to study the character and then they were left on their own to create the character at the different stages of his life.

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Flanery as Young Indy.

Comparing Ford’s characterization to the one asked Flanery discovered that "There’s a lot more adolescence apparent in my character, and he’s a lot more naïve than Harrison Ford’s character. But as far as mannerisms and gestures, that’s the stuff that I really tried to copy from Ford, like the way he puts his hat on or the way he wears it around girls, the way he cracks the whip, everything. I tried to emulate that as close as possible or incorporate that in my character. I just wrapped it all up and used what I could. Nobody ever really said, ‘We want you to emulate Harrison Ford,’ but, you know, he’s Indiana Jones. It’s the only perception we’ve got of Indiana Jones, so I wanted to at least include some of that in my character."

Describing the way George Hall approached the character showed the wise man that lied beneath the actor. "I don’t think I look much like Harrison Ford. The point is, if Lawrence Olivier had lived to ninety-three, he might have looked a great deal different from his younger, Shakespearean days. So one shouldn’t expect to look like one did when one was thirty… I’m not really concerned about the fact that I don’t look like what everybody thinks he should look like… I look like a man of ninety-three. But the makeup is really quite remarkable, even at close range. Actually, I think the makeup does give me a resemblance to Harrison, certainly from a profile. He has a stronger chin than I have, but, you know, people shrivel when they get old," he said laughing.

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Old Indy ready to
tell a story.

The actor admitted, however, that despite an intense scrutiny of Ford’s Indiana Jones portrayal, he has chosen to avoid adapting Ford’s mannerisms for his own use. "George Lucas sent me the films to get an understanding of the man, because I am him at age 93. There are certain little things I tried to do at the beginning, but between the ages of 36 or 38, when the films stop, and 93 a man changes a great deal. I tried the small facial expressions at first but I felt awkward with them; I felt artificial. So, I stopped trying them and just played it as this nice, curmudgeonly old guy, what the character would probably turn out to be. As you get older, there are certain physical things you can’t do that you did when you were 36, like sliding on that tank! Remember that wonderful scene where Indy’s caught on the side of that tank and nearly crushed to death? Well, at age 93, he would be crushed to death. He would never be on that tank. So, you must accept the changes."

A new person introduced to the world of Indiana Jones through Chronicles was his tutor Mrs. Helen Seymour. Once a teacher to Jones Sr. Mrs. Seymour followed the Joneses in their world tour in exchange of being responsible for little Henry’s education. At first Indy doesn’t like her, but as time went by he realized she taught him important lessons in life and stimulated his love of history. The actress to portray this character was Margaret Tyzack.

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Margaret Tyzack as
Mrs. Helen Seymour.

Tyzack had worked in television, film, and theater and with the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company in England. In 1990, she won the respected Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway play Lettuce and Lovage. Her past credits include the ground-breaking BBC series The Forsyte Saga, which was the television series that introduced the BBC’s programs to the world, and I, Claudius, in which she played the Roman emperor Claudius’ mother, Antonia.

With her acting experience in Victorian interpretations Tyzack had no difficulty in her portrayal of Mrs. Seymour. "She is a Victorian lady and the thought of a child is, rather dismaying to her. She’s used to teaching adults, not children. Most Victorians believed that children should be seen and not heard. They thought of children as young minds to be formed and educated and molded. Victorian children who were fortunate enough to receive any education at all were in a classroom that was run very strictly. Perhaps Helen is a little firmer than other people were because she never dealt with children before in her life. And does initially say, ‘I’m not a governess, I’m a tutor.’ I think Indy and she eventually come to respect each other, and as he grows up he realizes what an influence she had on him."

Rémy Baudouin was another figure introduced to the world of Indiana Jones through the Chronicles. It’s because of Rémy that Indy leaves Mexico to fight in the Belgian army in World War I. The actor who was selected to bring Rémy to life was the character actor Ronny Coutteure, who, like Rémy, was Belgian.

Forty years old Coutteure, lived in Paris and he had been acting for over twenty years. He had performed in a number of TV films in France, Switzerland, and in his native Belgium, where he was very well known. He was also a comedian and had performed extensively in his own one-man shows. Although Ronny had a great deal of show-business experience, he had never worked in a foreign production before and that posed a problem for him in terms of language. "You know, English is not my native language, French is. I’m Flemish, which is like Dutch, so I prepare a week before. Every week I learn my lines for the following week and then every day I say them over and over. It’s very important to say your lines naturally. And for me, the only way is to say them over and over. After that, when I come on the set, I try to forget it because it’s also important to be ready for what can happen. I try to be free of my lines and see if I can invent something which can help. You must be very well prepared and then have some invention, too."

Describing the way he saw his character Baudouin said, "Rémy is a good guy. He’s quite tender, and yet, on the other hand, he’s also a man action. He knows what he wants. He helps Indy to become a great person. He educates him in a certain way. He teaches him some dangers and tells him how to handle women, which he really doesn’t know about any more than Indy! So he’s quite a funny character. He’s never satisfied. He does things in a new way. He’s a hero, but he doesn’t want to be a hero."

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Lloyd Owen as
Henry Jones, Sr.

Actor Lloyd Owen had the difficult task of playing a character that was first created by one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. As Professor Henry Jones, originally played by Sean Connery in Last Crusade, Owen had a unique opportunity to present unseen facets of the character while working from a blueprint already established by Connery. Lloyd didn’t naturally speak like Sean Connery, but he studied many of his films to imitate his accent. As in Last Crusade, in the Chronicles Professor Jones is on a search for the Holy Grail.

"I studied The Knight’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer, which talked about the medieval chivalry code, which is the subject of a book Professor Jones has published. So, yes, I do share his love for history," stated Owen and continued with his perception of his character, "I believe Henry was a good father. I think that’s obvious by the way Indy has turned out. He even said in the film that he’s not the kind of father that says, ‘Eat your food, go to bed, brush your teeth!’ He’s not that kind of guy at all. He’s a very liberal parent for the 1900s. I think the stubbornness and sense of purpose is in both Indy and Henry, and their understanding of cultures all over the world. Actually, what’s great about this entire series is that it is very open to all cultures and that’s specifically true in the episode we did in India."

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Ruth De Sosa
as Anna Jones.

Contrary to Lloyd Owen actress Ruth De Sosa was freer to create her character of Anna Jones, Indy’s mother, who was so prominently mentioned in Last Crusade. Although Anna appeared in many episodes, there was very little written about her character. Following the basic foundation of the character established by George Lucas she saw the opportunity to present Anna as a remarkable and lovely lady.

"I think that Anna is a very good mother and wife. I really have come up with ideas in my mind as to what Anna is like," the actress said. "I don’t know why, but when I read a scene, I just suddenly know who she was. And I’m glad the casting people thought I knew who she was, too! But I do have my difficult moments. You know, she dies very soon, within three years, when Indiana is only twelve years old. I think that she is very full of life and you’re very sad when she’s gone because she had so much energy, so that’s what I try to portray. I think she is definitely Indy’s guiding light. I think that part of his adventurous spirit comes from Anna."

Next: Production >>


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