Ahh what could have been……
It’s pretty common knowledge that Tom Selleck was the original choice for Indiana Jones. For years I’ve thought about this, and I know that most people come to the same conclusion Mr. Selleck arrived at…..That Harrison Ford was the better fit for the part.
But the other night I was watching a Magnum, P.I. rerun (the excellent “All for One” two-parter), and I was struck by how well Selleck was able to transition between world-weary, hard-as-nails, and humor. Selleck may not be the greatest actor who ever lived, but the essence of Indy is certainly within his skill set.
Trouble is, that Indy is Harrison Ford’s signature role……It’s nigh impossible to separate the two. Indy works so well for Ford’s……Let’s be charitable and call it his “lazy” acting style. Selleck, despite being only 3 years younger than Ford, seems younger and more physical.
It’s a tough call.
Selleck had the poor fortune to pick some less than stellar films. But when he’s given the chance to stretch out, he can deliver the goods. Magnum, P.I. was a groundbreaking show and it wouldn’t have been if not for the serious dramatic chops that Selleck displayed. And the fact that he was able to do that dramatic heavy lifting while being able to do the humor and the physical stuff that the series required at the same time speaks volumes for his range.
Consider his role in High Road to China. That’s about as close to an “Indy” character as he played. Say what you will, but it’s a fun movie, and viewing it, it’s easy to see what he could have done playing Dr. Jones.
I’d bet that Indy was written (or directed) down to Ford’s style. Ford’s not a particularly engaging or dynamic actor, but within the framework of the three Raiders movies (that’s right, three) he works well with the material…..Maybe he’s playing above his level, but Ford as Indy is not just serviceable, he’s good. Ford actually disappears into the character (though less so in Last Crusade than the prior films).
Still…..I’d really like to have seen what Selleck did with it.
On the other hand, once I found out that Kurt Russell auditioned for the role of Han Solo, all I can think about is how awesome that would have been. Go watch Star Wars (I’ll wait). Ford’s basically doing a Kurt Russell impression throughout the entire film. Think about how awesome those movies would have been with RJ MacReady/Snake Plissken/Jack Burton playing Solo, instead of Harrison Ford putting on his best Russell affectation.
Of course the downside to that is that we probably wouldn’t have gotten some great Kurt Russell films…..Would he have done all the Carpenter films? Who knows? Maybe he would have done bigger and better things.
I didn’t mean for this to be a post that just craps on Harrison Ford, but I was thinking about the medeocre film The Fugitive and how Tommy Lee Jones nails something very important in that film, and then……Well here we are.
Anyhoo….. Jones chases Ford into a dam (because why not), Ford tries to explain why he’s running, and Jones delivers the best line in the movie…..
“I don’t care.”
“I don’t care” is a wonderful thing. So is, “so what”. Check this out…..
“Them gays is gettin’ married!”
“I don’t care.”
“Those people cling to their guns and their Bibles.”
See how that works? When something doesn’t have any impact on you, you don’t need to lose sleep over it. Try it, it’s liberating. Think of all the things you can stop fretting about.
Now I’m not suggesting that you completely stop caring about the rest of the world….That’s sociopathic, and not what this is about. Nor am I suggesting a post-apocalyptic state of anarchy (starring Mel Gibson, which as history has shown, is awesome in its own right). But there’s a lot of sense to be found in the old saw, “live and let live.”
Simply put, who cares what consenting adults do, as long as it doesn’t harm someone else? To paraphrase something I read elsewhere……I want gay married couples to be able to defend their pot plants with AR-15s.
And let’s be clear about what constitutes “harm”. Catching a whiff of cigarette smoke, seeing two dudes kissing, or watching The General Lee leap over a washed-out bridge (and my God, there were a lot of those in Hazzard County) – none of these things rises to the level of “harm”.
We’ve become a nation of whiners. You don’t like seeing two guys kissing? Get over it, gay people aren’t going anywhere. Losing sleep over the fact that “those people” don’t pray to the same god you do? Figure it out, because they’re not going anywhere either. Are you bent because some people like to shoot guns? I’ve got news sport, there are more guns than people, and you’re stuck with them.
Here’s a thought, and it’s a radical notion……Maybe talk to them and find out where they’re coming from. Disagreement isn’t a bad thing, and hell, you might just learn something. But for your own sanity, stop caring so much how other people live. Yours is not to judge. ‘Cause I guarantee that “those people” who you’re so disgusted with are probably just as disgusted with you.
If they care, which they shouldn’t.
Now about that awful Six Days Seven Nights……..