Forty years after the iconic Indiana Jones movie Raiders Of The Lost Ark was released, star Karen Allen, who played Harrison Ford’s onscreen love interest Marion Ravenwood in the film, is speaking out to recall her experience making it.
Karen Allen Recalls Raiders Of The Lost Ark Experience
Raiders was one of the first roles that Allen ever had in movies.
“I was 22 and I had imagined I would just be a theater actor and live in New York,” Allen told People Magazine. “Films, to me, seemed like 3,000 miles away.”
Allen went on to say that it’s “extraordinary” how beloved the classic Indiana Jones film is to this day.
“The fact that people are still seeing the film, talking about the film, having an interest in the film, it’s amazing,” the 69-year-old explained. “It’s amazing and wonderful. It’s just one of those films that seems like it gets passed from generation to generation, and it stayed very beloved.”
Karen Allen Recalls ‘Secretive’ Raiders Of The Lost Ark Audition Process
Allen also said that she knew very little about the movie when she auditioned for Steven Spielberg.
“Steven came to New York City to meet, not just me, but some other actors he was interested in meeting for the film,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about the film. They were being very secretive about it… They gave me the scene in the bar, and then I was in love. I fell in love with Marion, and then I really wanted the role.”
Allen auditioned with several other actors because Ford was busy with Star Wars at the time.
“I went out [to L.A.] and I screen-tested with Tim Matheson, who had been in ‘Animal House’ with me,” she remembered. “And I screen-tested with a New York actor named John Shea, who I knew a little bit. And they asked me to do the role a few weeks later. Harrison was not even a thought in their mind, because he was Han Solo.”
Allen ended up being “blown away” by her experience working on the Indiana Jones film.
“I love to do stunts,” she said. “I’m a very physical actor and person but the [filmmakers] draw the line when they think you might get hurt. But when I’m hanging, they put me in a harness. So I got to hang from the nose of the sculpture in the Well of Souls.”
Indiana Jones 5 In The Works
Allen then said that her experience with Raiders led to her becoming a director as well as an actress.
“To me, [my career] is more interesting than it’s ever been because I started directing about 12 years ago,” said Allen. “I direct a lot in the theater. And then I directed my first short film a year or two ago. I act in things when there’s something interesting for me to act in. Sometimes in the theater, sometimes in films.”
“As a director, I get to be a storyteller and work on material that doesn’t necessarily have a role for me in it, which is fine,” she continued. “And I love working with actors. And I love choosing material that has some real meaning to me.”
In the end, working on Raiders was an experience that Allen has never forgotten.
“I feel like [Marion is] who I aspire to be,” she said.
Karen Allen’s tell-all is perfectly timed as a fifth Indiana Jones movie is currently being filmed. The new installment will be the final one in the franchise, and the first to be released since 2008.
Most notably for Indiana Jones fans, the 5th movie will bring back Harrison Ford as Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones as well as franchise creator George Lucas as executive producer.