Harrison Ford held an AMA question and answer session on Reddit Sunday, where he discussed the story behind one of the most famous scenes in the “Indiana Jones” films.
In the first movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Indiana Jones is being chased through the streets of Cairo by a bunch of goons. He comes face to face with a scary swordsman who brandishes his weapon, preparing for what seems to be an epic duel. Instead, Indiana shoots the swordsman.
In the AMA, Ford said the scene was actually supposed to be a lengthy sword fight. But he was suffering from dysentery at the time, and he could only film scenes in 10-minute increments before having to run to his trailer to, uh, take care of business. Instead, Ford and director Steven Spielberg decided it would be better to have Indiana shoot the swordsman, considering the scene would have taken an extra three days to shoot.
Here’s Ford’s full answer and a YouTube clip of the scene he describes:
We were shooting in Tunisia, and the script had a scene in which I fight a swordsman, an expert swordsman, it was meant to be the ultimate duel between sword and whip. And I was suffering from dysentery, really, found it inconvenient to be out of my trailer for more than 10 minutes at a time. We’d done a brief rehearsal of the scene the night before we were meant to shoot it, and both Steve and I realised it would take 2 or 3 days to shoot this. And it was the last thing we were meant to shoot in Tunisia before we left to shoot in England. And the scene before this in the film included a whip fight against 5 bad guys that were trying to kidnap Marian, so I thought it was a bit redundant. I was puzzling how to get out of this 3 days of shooting, so when I got to set I proposed to Steven that we just shoot the son a bitch and Steve said “I was thinking that as well.” So he drew his sword, the poor guy was a wonderful British stuntman who had practiced his sword skills for months in order to do this job, and was quite surprised by the idea that we would dispatch him in 5 minutes. But he flourished his sword, I pulled out my gun and shot him, and then we went back to England.
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