Harrison Ford Had Many of the “Old Man Jokes” Removed From the New Indiana Jones
In June 2023, Harrison Ford, aged 80, will don his leather jacket and fedora for the final time in «Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.» The film depicts Indy’s lifelong antagonists, the Nazis, collaborating with NASA during the height of the space race.
Ford’s last portrayal of Indy on the silver screen was in 2008’s «Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,» 15 years ago. In that film, Indy humorously acknowledges his age, mentioning that he is a professor only part-time and that his eyesight is not as good as it once was after a failed bullwhip swing. However, in «Dial of Destiny,» there will be no jokes about his age, as he has now reached 80.
«Yeah. In [Dial of Destiny] there were a lot of old jokes in the script. We took them all out,» Ford told The Hollywood Reporter. «There is a moment where he observes himself in this situation and says, ‘What am I doing in here?’ But I hate what I call ‘talking about the story.’ I want to see circumstances in which the audience gets a chance to experience the story, not to be led through the nose with highlights pointed out to them. I’d rather create behavior that is the joke of age rather than talk about it.»
The film’s writer and director, James Mangold, said that the film reflects where Indy is currently in his life. «The mistake you can make in movies is when someone is of a ripe age but the movie continues this charade that they’re not that old,» Mangold said. «Every challenge he faces is through the reality of what someone of that age would be dealing with.»
Harrison Ford’s choice to remove all references to his age in his final performance as Indiana Jones is a setback to one of Hollywood’s oldest and still-existing «isms»: ageism. Older individuals are often unfairly stereotyped in negative ways, making it commendable that Ford, a man in remarkable physical shape for his age, has chosen not to propagate them.
The idea that older individuals are inept, absent-minded, out-of-date, and physically feeble can significantly harm their overall welfare.
«Ageism remains one of the most institutionalized forms of prejudice today,» Todd Nelson, Ph.D., professor of psychology at California State University, Stanislaus, told the Association of Health Care Journalists. «Our entire society tells older people, you are useless, unwanted, and a burden. It tells younger people that getting old is bad, and being old is worse.»
Moreover, aging is a highly individualized process, and to generalize such a diverse group of individuals diminishes their value to nothing more than a mere number. In reality, age often accompanies a plethora of advantageous traits, such as knowledge, self-assurance, and sagacity that younger generations would do well to aspire to.
It is delightful that we have the opportunity to witness Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones embark on one final escapade, regardless of his age. As he famously conveyed to Marion Ravenwood in «Raiders of the Lost Ark,» «It’s not the years» that count, but rather the «mileage.»