James Mangold reflects on the challenges of filming a 25 minute opening to Dial of Destiny with a de-aged Harrison Ford. We already knew the cold open of this fifth Indiana Jones movie would feature a de-aged Ford. Well, unless you were staying away from even the trailers to this point. Now Mangold speaking with Total Film talks about the challenges of this sequence and how modern technology made it possible.
“I just shot him, and he just pretended that he was 35,” says Mangold of his “incredibly gifted and agile” leading man. “But the technology involved is a whole other thing.”
“We had hundreds of hours of footage of him in close-ups, in mediums, in wides, in every kind of lighting, night and day,” says Mangold. The advancement of the technology also came with additional benefits. “I could shoot Harrison on a Monday as, you know, a 79-year-old playing a 35- year-old, and I could see dailies by Wednesday with his head already replaced,” continues Mangold.
“It wasn’t a year of effort to get to a first pass,” Mangold adds. “It was an incredible technology, and, in many ways, I just didn’t think about it. I just focused on shooting what’s [approximately] a 25-minute opening extravaganza that was my chance to just let it rip. The goal was to give the audience a full-bodied taste of what they missed so much. Because then when the movie lands in 1969, they’re going to have to make an adjustment to what it is now, which is different from what it was.”
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It is kinda sad that George Lucas took most of the 90’s off. We could never get more stories with the OG Star Wars cast in their prime, nor any Indiana Jones during WWII. But, it is what it is. The idea of a cold open like this excites me and I think it will juxtapose well with the version of Indy we’ll then follow in the rest of the movie. However my guess is that by the time we get to final cut, that sequence won’t be quite 25 minutes, that would be an even longer open than The Last Crusade. Still, even if the rest of the movie doesn’t work, I’m excited to see the WWII open.
What do you think as James Mangold reflects on the challenges of filming a 25 minute opening to Dial of Destiny with a de-aged Harrison Ford? Thoughts below as always.