By John H. Foote
In a shocking move that will send shockwaves through the film industry, two-time Academy Award winning Best Director Steven Spielberg has withdrawn from directing the upcoming fifth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise. The move caught everyone associated with the series off guard, most specifically star Harrison Ford, who had announced last week filming was to begin this summer.
George Lucas had already retired from movies and was to have little or no involvement, but until yesterday Spielberg was set to direct.
Mired in editing his musical remake West Side Story and with two other projects he has been circling for years, he might have decided he wanted to move one or that perhaps it was time someone else had a go at the series. James Mangold (Ford vs. Ferrari) is rumoured to be the director most likely to take over for Spielberg.
Spielberg directed the previous four films earning an Oscar nomination for Best Director for the first, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). As he ages, and time becomes his enemy, it could be that he just wants to do things he has not done before. With all due respect to both he and Harrison Ford, the fourth film was dreadful, and it might be time to hang up the whip for both or recast another actor and explore Indiana Jones as a younger man. I say Chris Pratt…action.
No word from Harrison Ford if Spielberg withdrawing impacts his part in the series, though I cannot see anyone matching what Spielberg brought to the series, or Ford going on alone.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.