If you’d like, please check out the past few Time Capsules:
It’s part of well-known Hollywood antiquity that mustachioed heartthrob Tom Selleck, star of smash ’80s series Magnum P.I. — and more recently Blue Bloods and scads of “Jesse Stone” TV movies (um, ask your parents) — was originally offered the role of Indiana Jones.
Selleck turned the role down, out of a commitment to his TV show, though an actors’ strike would ultimately delay production on his show that year so that he, as it turned out, would have had time to shoot Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was definitely one of those “the timeline shattered here, creating a trillion multiverses” moments.
Anyhow, in a legendary “what was briefly yours is now mine” twist of fate, Steven Spielberg pushed for Harrison Ford to be cast a few weeks after Selleck turned down the part and the rest is throw me the idol/throw me the whip history. Our Time Capsule treat this week is a look at Selleck’s screen test for the legendary movie, featuring another famous face, Sean Young (Blade Runner, Wall Street), as Marion Ravenwood. It’s the scene from the movie where Indy has tracked Marion down to her five-star resort in Tibet. It was a Thursday, so the night’s entertainment was “drinking incessantly to prevent frostbite.”
Let’s celebrate Marion as a female small business-owner, Henry Jones, Jr. as the the guy many South American villagers referred to as “blanco gigante,” and the bar patrons who all somehow, over time, grew an extra set of eyelids because of the constant blizzards outside. Get ready for your face to melt as if you’ve stared longingly into the godly depths of the Almighty’s traveling “take a book, leave a book” library… Watch the clip here or below.
Obviously, since this is the Earth-1710 (the one with no superheroes, Harrison as Indy, and also Birds of Prey winning Best Picture because all other movies were cancelled in 2020), it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the esteemed Professor Jones. Would Selleck’s career have mirrored Ford’s more if he’d agreed to the gig? Would the movie have been a hit if Selleck was in the role? These are the questions we ask ourselves at night while eating soup from a box and crackers from a tin. I mean, Selleck is no slouch. He can claim a huge TV career and an admirable go at being a movie star. Three Men and a Baby was one 1987’s top-grossing films. And An Innocent Man is largely responsible for why I have a crippling “you’re gonna be wrongfully convicted by crooked cops” phobia to this day.
Honestly, if this post does anything, I hope it motivates you to watch Quigley Down Under, which is a solid, but also offbeat, Western. Look, it has Alan Rickman in it and he’s good in everything. Except his “Jaques” in the 1985 production of As You Like It at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. That was total s***.
So let’s not look at the roles Selleck lost out on (Indiana Jones, James Bond) and focus on the one he got. Mr. Baseball.
Back in February, before the bulk of the world shut down, we spoke to Harrison Ford while he was promoting Call of the Wild (a role he should have turned down, citing the new Magnum P.I.) and asked him about Indy 5. At the time, the film was to going to start shooting in a few months, with Ford saying “We’ll see new developments in [Indy’s] life, his relationship. We’ll see part of his history resolved.”