In 1993, when word first leaked that Indiana Jones 4 was in the works,Harrison Ford was 51 years old. Thirteen years later — as Firewall, a thriller casting him as a head of security who must rob his own bank to save his family from kidnappers, arrives in theaters — the Indy sequel is still gestating. Meanwhile, Ford’s now older than Sean Connery was when he played Indiana’s dad in 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Is that too old? Will part 4 ever really happen?
”Oh, it’ll come together, no doubt about it,” promises Ford, manfully straddling a backless bench outside an L.A. photo studio late last month, a few gray hairs on his robust chest poking out through the open neck of his button-down while his mini-pirate hoop dangles in one earlobe. ”We’re closer than we’ve ever been. There’s a script upon which there’s pretty general agreement. Steven [Spielberg]’s doing some work.”
But we’ve been waiting 13 years for it! ”Yeah, I’d like to get it over with so I don’t have to answer the goddamned questions [about it] anymore,” Ford cracks calmly. Today he is at once gruff and soft-spoken, his shortest answers sometimes no louder than a rumble. ”George [Lucas] has been a bit busy making these sci-fi films he likes. And Steven has had a film or two, in turn. So it really is not that easy to pull the pieces together, but I think everybody feels it’s a worthy ambition. I know in my heart it’s gonna happen.”
And he is undeterred by age. ”Some mysterious number appears attached to my name, and all of a sudden I’m not supposed to be able to do [action scenes]?” huffs Ford, who’s 63. ”It doesn’t make much sense.” On a movie, he says quietly, ”it feels good to do a little physical exercise and work up a sweat. It’s better’n sitting around for eight months.” Shooting action sequences, Ford insists, ”is a sport for me. It’s my sport. And yeah, it’s fun.”
Yet can the sportsman still convincingly complete the plays? (Critics may say no.) Not since 2000’s What Lies Beneath has the megastar who’s banked $3.25 billion in career ticket sales had a hit, and not since 1997’s Air Force One has he scored as an action hero. Ford’s last two films, 2002’s K-19: The Widowmaker and 2003’s Hollywood Homicide, earned only a miserable $66 million combined. So last June, hoping to see Indiana Jones in action mode, EW traveled to Kamloops, a chilly city of glimmering hills and valleys several hours north of Vancouver, where the crew of Firewall was filming the movie’s slam-bang finale in a gutted cabin perched on a little peninsula overlooking a river. Most of the film is a cat-and-mouse thriller involving a bank and a battle of wits between Ford’s Jack Stanfield and a bad guy played by Master and Commander‘s Paul Bettany, but by this point in the movie, Stanfield is finally sounding a yawp and storming the cabin, Harrison Ford-style, taking on Bettany head-to-head in a ferocious attempt to rescue his family, including Virginia Madsen (in her first big post-Sideways role) as his wife.