As much as we like to stay away from the always-changing and seldom accurate Hollywood rumor mill, this one is too good to ignore. Trending now is a genuinely tantalizing rumor that Disney, which you might recall recently ponied up a fortune to buy Lucasfilm, is preparing to reboot Indiana Jones along with “Star Wars,” and that would mean recasting the iconic role of Indiana Jones.
Admittedly, when a movie star gets hot, and no one’s hotter than Bradley Cooper right now, they get mentioned for everything and that often means nothing more than their agent is dropping hints. You have to take these rumors with a grain of salt (no one but Robert Pattinson’s agent ever thought he was in the running for Spider-Man). But Cooper would make a lot of sense for a rebooted Indiana Jones franchise. At first blush he seems to be a completely different type, but remember that the young Harrison Ford often tended to play roguish. Cooper is a better actor than Ford, but does have action movie chops (the under-performing, but nonetheless entertaining, “The A-Team,” for example) and has done science fiction (“Limitless”) as well as comic book adaptation (this summer’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”). There is no confirmation that Cooper has been offered, or accepted, the role.
He’s also as busy as anyone these days, appearing into two to three movies a year. 2013 alone saw Cooper in “The Hangover Part III,” “The Place Beyond the Pines” and “American Hustle.” (“The Place Beyond the Pines” was actually shot in the summer of 2011 in Schenectady, New York, but not released in most areas until 2013.) He also has three movies in post-production, and “American Sniper,” which he’s producing and starring in, in pre-production. (Steven Spielberg, who has said in the past that he’d hate to see anyone else direct an Indiana Jones movie, was briefly attached to “American Sniper.”) That would make the fact that there is, apparently, no script for a new Indiana Jones movie, almost an asset, as Cooper probably isn’t going to be available anytime soon.
It’s interesting to note that the Indiana Jones franchise only has four movies to its credit, starting with 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The most recent, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was released in 2008. By contrast, in its first 27 years, the James Bond series had produced 16 movies with four different actors (Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton) playing the lead.
Despite the much smaller comparative output of the Indiana Jones series, Ford is not the only actor to play the part. River Phoenix played a young Indiana Jones in the third movie, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” There was also the George Lucas-produced television series, “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles,” which ran from 1993 to 1996, and featured Corey Carrier as Indy as a child, and Sean Patrick Flannery as a young adult Indy. George Hall appeared on the show as an elderly Indiana Jones, who introduced certain episodes (Harrison Ford appeared on one episode in the same role).
There is some question as to whether a recast Indiana Jones would mean a total series reboot, or whether it might be just a recast. Bearing in mind that “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” featured Harrison Ford playing Indy in the 1950’s and conspicuously older than the last time we’d seen him, you’d almost have to think the studio is thinking reboot.
And rebooting the series with Cooper (or someone else) as a younger Indy doesn’t necessarily mean that we couldn’t still see Ford in one last outing in the interim. The aging icon hasn’t ruled that out himself, and “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” left room for another installment. In any event, it appears the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm isn’t going to mean just new “Star Wars” movies. The man with the hat will be back as well.