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Interview

The Young Indiana Jones
Re-visit the series that introduced us to little Henry Jones Jr.

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The Young Indiana Jones is a part of the Indy universe that divides fans. There are those who consider the TV series a vital part of the character's history, introducing us to formative moments in the young adventurer's life. Then there are those who find the fact that it crossed Indy's path with that of almost any historical figure you can name from Sigmund Freud to Ghandi to be, well, a little silly, frankly. But during the shows run from 1992-93, it featured guest directors such as Nic Roeg (Don't Look Now), Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Terry Jones (Monty Python) and Joe Johnston (The Wolfman). Guest stars also included the likes of Daniel Craig, Catherine Zeta Jones, Elizabeth Hurley and Christopher Lee.

We spoke to Sean Patrick Flannery, who played the teenage Mr Jones, about his memories of the show.

The Young Indiana Jones

What do you remember of your audition process for the show?
Well, the first audition was like me and a casting director's assistant. Like any casting process, it was a case that slowly and surely they'd call you back for more auditions and you'd see more people, until finally I met George Lucas and we did a camera test. I'd love to tell you that George was some eccentric weirdo, but he's the most regular guy you could ever meet, he really is. I think he saw all the auditions, so I guess meeting him was just something for him to see if I was a nice guy.

Do you remember what you did in the auditions?
Yeah, I remember them all. The audition scene was the dinner table scene with myself and Elizabeth Hurley in the London episode.

The moment you got the call to say you had the job must have been a special one. What do you remember of that?
Well, I was asleep and my agent called and woke me up and just said, 'You're going to London'. It was bizarre and kind of crazy.

Indiana Jones was and is an enormously popular franchise. How aware were you of what a big deal this was? Were you a fan of the films?
The three Indy movies were already so huge that you knew it was big shoes to fill.
Yeah, I don't think any kid of that age wasn't a fan. When Indiana Jones came out, I must have been 15 or 16, so it was the most exciting movie I'd ever seen at that time. So, I was pretty nervous going into the audition. I think everybody knew that we had a responsibility to the fans and that there was a lot of focus on this. The three Indy movies were already so huge that you knew it was big shoes to fill. I had some trepidation about that and there was also desire. It was the biggest thing to happen in my life and it also opened up every door to everything that's happened in my career since.

How much do you remember of the shoot?
Oh, I remember everything. I went to 40-something different countries. I had to go and get a passport to get this job! It was a life-changing experience for me. Every episode took about five weeks to shoot, so it was very labour intensive. They were all international cities. There were times when I'd go to a city and we were in and out in four or five days. But, then there were other times where you had a week or so of downtime. I was going out and having my fun. It was truly amazing.

Do you have a favourite episode?
My favourite episode to work on was probably 'Barcelona, May 1917', which was directed by Terry Jones who, for obvious reasons, was one of my favourites. Also, I got to work with one of my favourite actors on that, which was Timothy Spall.

The Young Indiana Jones

Did you ever get to meet Harrison Ford?
No, he was in an episode but not with me. So, I've never actually met the older Indiana Jones, which is a real shame. I would have loved to meet him and would still love to meet him, but never have. Bummer.

What about Steven Spielberg?
Yeah, I met him in Prague. It was very brief. We spent a couple of hours on set, but, again, he was super-nice and real informative and just a nice guy. I think I must have been ten when I saw Jaws - I used to sneak into all the movies - so I was a big fan of his.

What's your over-riding memory of the show?
Probably George's daughter. She came out to Phuket and was out playing in the water on the beach and I saw a shark swim up. She was wading out in the water and suddenly we saw these fins, so I had to run out and grab her. It wasn't quite an Indiana Jones rescue, but it was 'Oh my god, that's a huge shark'. Maybe it was more Jaws than Indiana Jones.


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Interview by Ian Freer

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