Harrison Ford Gets Emotional Talking About an Indiana Jones ‘With the Weight of Life on Him’

Cannes 2023: The 80-year-old actor adds “I love what (the character) has brought into my life” at the film’s press conference

Harrison Ford and James Mangold at the Cannes press conference for "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" (Getty Images)

Harrison Ford’s emotional few days at the Cannes Film Festival continued on Friday with a press conference in which the 80-year-old actor teared up while talking about “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” the film in which his aging character undertakes what will likely be his final onscreen adventure.

“I wanted to round out the story,” he said. “This man who depended so much on youth – I wanted to see the weight of life on him. I wanted him to need reinvention. And have a relationship that wasn’t flirty. I wanted him to have deep relationship with somebody.”

(In this case, the relationship is a non-romantic one with his goddaughter, played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.)

Ford also drew laughs when asked why now was the right time to let the character of Indiana Jones go in the franchise’s fifth and final film.

“It is not evident?” the 80-year-old actor said, to laughter. “I need to sit down and rest. But I love this character, and I love what it has brought into my life.”

Costar Mads Mikkelsen, who plays a Nazi villain in “Dial of Destiny,” added that the leading man, who was 79 when he shot the film, put his younger colleagues to shame. “The first time we did a night shoot on this movie, we finished at five in the morning, we all were completely exhausted and wanted to go to bed,” Mikkelsen said. “Harrison pulled out his bicycle and went riding. i thought, ‘Come on, Harrison.’”

Ford was in a reflective mood throughout the press conference, talking about a lengthy career that allowed him “to learn from my experience a little bit of craft … and not get my ass kicked out when I didn’t do as well as I wanted to.”

The film premiered on Thursday night in Cannes’ Grand Theatre Lumiere, where it drew the usual extended standing ovation from an audience of more than 2,000 in the huge theater. Prior to the screening, Ford was surprised by a film reel showing footage from throughout his career, and then by the presentation of an Honorary Palme d’Or for his body of work.

“The warmth is unimaginable,” he said of his reception in Cannes. “And it feels good.”

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” is the first Indiana Jones movie not directed by Steven Spielberg, with “Ford v. Ferrari” and “Walk the Line” director Joseph Mangold stepping in for the fifth and presumably final installment in the series that began in 1981 with “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” “He more than filled the shoes that Steven left for us,” said Ford.

Late in the press conference, Ford returned to the subject of age when he was asked about the opening sequence of the movie, in which visual effects technology de-ages him by a few decades. “This iteration of the technology seemed to me to be very realistic,” he said. “It’s not some Photoshop magic — it’s what I looked like 35 years ago.”

He paused. “But I don’t look at it like, ‘I wish I looked like that guy,’ Because I don’t.”

And as he pointed out, he’s not finished acting even if he doesn’t return with Indy: The two TV shows in which he appears, “1923” and “Shrinking,” have both been renewed for second seasons.

Check out TheWrap’s Cannes magazine here and all of our Cannes 2023 coverage here.

Sharon Waxman contributed to this report.