Is Indiana Jones looking for a reboot? That’s the word from film website Latino Review, who are reporting that Disney (which acquired the Indiana Jones rights from George Lucas in 2012) is looking to treat the franchise like the Bond movies – bringing in a fresh actor every decade or so to keep the films from getting creaky. So who does Disney have in mind to play Indy? The answer is Bradley Cooper, star of such films as “American Hustle”, “Silver Lining Playbook” and “The Hangover”.
Cooper would certainly fit the bill as a young Indy. He would bring a masculine and roguish quality to the role. And at 39, he could easily carry the franchise into the next decade.
So what about Harrison Ford? Again, word is out that, as time passes, the studio doesn’t see Ford as a viable alternative. At 71, Ford is no longer a box office draw, and the studio is looking to put a tent pole stake firmly in the ground now – not try and milk an aging star (and audience) for one last time. While the last film did well at the box office, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was not treated kindly by critics and is generally not well regarded by fans of the franchise.
Speaking of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, what about Shia LaBeouf, who co-starred in the film, and who Steven Spielberg was apparently grooming to take the franchise lead from Ford? LaBeouf has effectively worked himself out of any consideration with his odd behavior, plagiarism accusations, and general lack of success in carrying a film.
Will Ford play Indiana Jones again? Or is Cooper (or another actor) bound to inherit the iconic hat and whip?
We’ll actually say ‘yes’ to both questions. By making known the studio’s desire to move forward with Indiana Jones, Disney is putting the pressure on Ford (and director Spielberg) to step up to the plate and commit to another film. Our bet is that it works. Ford and Spielberg will come around for one last go, while Cooper (or someone like him) will be prepped to restart the franchise shortly thereafter.
But let’s not kid ourselves – Disney won’t wait forever. They dropped $4 billion for the rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. They’ll want to recoup that investment sooner than later. And by taking Indiana Jones in the direction of the Bond films, it allows the studio to rely less on the star and the filmmakers – and thus gives them a steady stream of income for decades to come.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.