Did you know that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg originally offered Tom Selleck the role of Indiana Jones?
It’s true, and there’s a video clip of Selleck’s screen test to prove it.
Watch the screen test here:
Tom Selleck Got the Role After He Had Filmed the Pilot for ‘Magnum P.I.’
At first, Lucas and Spielberg were searching for a fresh face to take on the role of Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” And Harrison Ford had already become famous as Han Solo in “Star Wars.” They thought they didn’t want him for the part.
At that point – around about 1980 – Tom Selleck had not yet starred in the movies that would make him famous, such as “Three Men and a Baby” and “Mr. Baseball.”
So the young actor came in to do a screen test for Indiana Jones. After his screen test, the filmmakers offered him the part, per Classic Country Music.
There was one catch. Selleck had already filmed the pilot for “Magnum P.I.” The two projects conflicted. And CBS didn’t want to let him out of doing “Magnum.”
Lucas and Spielberg fought for Selleck. But CBS wouldn’t budge. Finally, they went with Ford. He became the Indiana Jones we all know and love. Meanwhile, Selleck became rich and famous on “Magnum P.I.”
Selleck Insisted He Wanted the Role
Tom Selleck later told Rachael Ray that he didn’t give up the role on “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” He said he wanted to play Indiana Jones.
“The thing I hate is, with Wikipedia and all that stuff, there’s all sorts of things that aren’t true,” Selleck told Ray. “I didn’t turn it down, I earned the part. I did a screen test, and Steven Spielberg and George Lucas said you got the part. And I said, ‘Well, I’ve done this pilot, and I don’t know whether it’s a conflict.’ They say, ‘We’re not worried about that.’ And then it was ‘Magnum [P.I.].'”
“It turns out I could’ve done both,” Selleck added. “But Harrison kind of did a good job.”
As for Ford, it seems he can’t escape the role of Indiana Jones now. The 78-year-old actor is set to play Indiana Jones yet again in a 2022 film directed by James Mangold. The movie is to be the last installment of the Indiana Jones series.
Producer Frank Marshall recently told Den of Geek that he could only imagine one actor starring in an Indiana Jones movie.
“There will only be one Indiana Jones, and that’s Harrison Ford,” Marshall said.