Here's Why George Lucas Didn't Want Harrison Ford To Play Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones, sword fight

YouTube screengrab

After "American Graffiti" and "Star Wars," George Lucas didn't want Ford to be in another one of his movies.

Harrison Ford has been acting for nearly 50 years.

Breaking into the 'biz was easy for the Oscar nominee - at first.

After landing the role of Han Solo in George Lucas' 1977 "Star Wars" while he was still working as a Carpenter, Ford found himself the star of a franchise and in 1980 appeared in "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back."
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But when Ford was up for the lead role in Steven Spielberg's 1981 Indiana Jones flick, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," getting the part wasn't as easy.

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas happened to co-write "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and didn't want Ford to appear in yet another one of his films

"I said, 'oh Steven [Spielberg], he's been in two of my movies. I don't want him to be my Bobby De Niro,'" Lucas recalls saying about about Spielberg's casting suggestion in a "Making Of" featurette.
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So with Lucas not wanting Ford to be in all of his projects - similar to the way Robert De Niro has been in many of Martin Scorsese's movies - the production set up a screen test with a fresher face: Tom Selleck.

Watch Selleck's screen test as Indiana Jones below:
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Let's watch part of that again.tom selleck indiana jones

Both Lucas and Spielberg thought Selleck was perfect for the part and were ready to shoot with him as the lead.

Unfortunately for Selleck, the actor had already filmed a pilot for a CBS detective show called "Magnum P.I." and couldn't get out of the contract.Advertisement

"They [Spielberg and Lucas] held the offer out for about a month," Selleck told the Late Show with David Letterman. "The more they held out the offer and talked to the network the more the network said no... so I had to kind of move on."

"Magnum P.I." would eventually get picked up and even won Selleck an Emmy, but it was nothing compared to the $1.8 billion franchise that the Indiana Jones series would go on to be.

And while Lucas may have initially not wanted Ford for the role, in retrospect Lucas said in a bonus feature for the film that "He was perfect for the part. I can't imagine anybody else in that part."Advertisement