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Film Studies 101
Feature
Indiana Jones: The People Who Were Almost Cast
Indy could have been a very different franchise if any of these people had made it in front of the camera

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Indiana Jones: The People Who Were Almost Cast |

Indiana Jones
The casting of Indiana Jones is one of Hollywood's great folk tales. Spielberg suggested Harrison Ford to George Lucas after a countrywide search to find an unknown (or "Johnny, a construction worker for Malibu" as Spielberg was prone to say) proved fruitless. Yet Lucas nixed the idea, having already used the actor twice before. Among the young actors who subsequently auditioned were Tim Matheson, Peter Coyote (who Spielberg later remembered for the role of Keys in E.T.), John Shea and Tom Selleck.

Selleck, at that time the Marlboro Man on countless freeway billboards, was offered the role, then in the kind of cruel twist of fate that kills careers, CBS TV picked up the option of a pilot Selleck had just made, Magnum PI. The final irony was that an actor's strike delayed the start of Magnum's filming meaning that, because Raiders, shooting in Europe far away from Union regulations, Selleck could have done the role after all. Showing he has a sense of humour about it all, Selleck appeared in an episode of Magnum that parodied Raiders with riffs on the hat, the whip and booby traps.

With less than six weeks to go before shooting, Spielberg found the solution to his problem at the London premiere of The Empire Strikes Back: re-enter Harrison Ford. The rest is history.

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