Indiana Jones 5’s Opening Sequence De-Ages Harrison Ford To Original Trilogy Indy – Exclusive

Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade

by Ben Travis |

An Indiana Jones movie needs a killer opening sequence. The booby-trapped, boulder-rolling tomb in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. The poison-and-diamonds musical number of The Temple Of Doom. The Easter Egg-laden, River Phoenix-starring flashback that begins The Last Crusade. The atomic-bomb test site scramble in The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. Each represents a pure distillation of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’ love of adventure serials, pitching the audience straight into the action and giving you a thrill before the story proper has even begun. When taking over the reins for Indiana Jones 5, incoming director James Mangold not only had a high bar to live up to, but the opportunity to do something particularly special in the opening minutes.

“I wanted the chance to dive into this kind of full-on George-and-Steven old picture and give the audience an adrenaline blast,” Mangold tells Empire in our world-exclusive Indiana Jones 5 issue. The solution? A setpiece that dials the clock back to 1944, set in a castle swarming with Nazis. Through the miracle of de-ageing technology, we’re going back towards Raiders-era Indy. “And then we fall out, and you find yourself in 1969,” Mangold explains of the transition to the main action of the film. “So that the audience doesn’t experience the change between the ‘40s and ‘60s as an intellectual conceit, but literally experiences the buccaneering spirit of those early days… and then the beginning of now.”

Several techniques were employed to pull the sequence off, including new ILM software that trawled through archived material of the younger Harrison Ford before matching it to the freshly-shot footage. The original Raiders jacket was even pulled out of storage (possibly from the sprawling Area 51 warehouse) and tried back on by Ford, before being replicated thread-for-thread. “My hope is that, although it will be talked about in terms of technology, you just watch it and go, ‘Oh my God, they just found footage. This was a thing they shot 40 years ago’,” says producer Kathleen Kennedy. “We’re dropping you into an adventure, something Indy is looking for, and instantly you have that feeling, ‘I’m in an Indiana Jones movie.’”

For its star, coming face-to-face with his younger self even had him convinced. “This is the first time I’ve seen it where I believe it,” Ford tells Empire. “It’s a little spooky. I don’t think I even want to know how it works, but it works.” Not that he’s pining to return to the time of the original Indy movies. “Doesn’t make me want to be young, though,” he says. “I’m glad to have earned my age.” Or, as a certain adventuring archaeologist once put it, it’s not the years, it’s the mileage.

Empire – January 2023 cover

Stay tuned for more Indiana Jones exclusives coming soon from Empire, and seek out the world-exclusive Indiana Jones 5 issue – packed with the very first images and interviews, speaking to Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Boyd Holbrook, James Mangold, Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Simon Emanuel – when it hits newsstands on Thursday 24 November. Pre-order a copy online here. Indiana Jones 5 comes to UK cinemas on 30 June 2023.

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