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
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.
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
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."
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
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."
as old Indiana Jones.
As for Old Indy, the part was given
to Broadway actor George Hall. A graduate of the
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
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
"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.
Flanery as Young
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.
Old Indy ready
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.
Mrs. Helen Seymour.
Tyzack had worked in television,
film, and theater and with the prestigious Royal
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
series The Forsyte Saga,
which was the television series that introduced
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."
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
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."
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."