Other than the obvious…
Look, I get it — Chris Pratt is on fire right now, he’s a good-looking action star, and he’s extremely funny. The idea of putting him in the middle of a big adventure franchise makes all kinds of sense. Thus, Jurassic World.
As fun as he is, though, I can’t help but think that the recent news about Disney eyeballing him for the role of Indiana Jones shows a slight misunderstanding about the respective appeals of both Dr. Jones and Dr. Pratt. I’m sure Star Lord would look good in a fedora and bring the charm, but I can’t help but think that other actors might do a better job of getting at who Indiana actually is. For instance…
May as well look at other Christophers first, I guess. Hey, this one is pretty great — and I’d say that even if all he had done so far was the first Star Trek movie. Pine is sort of stealth-awesome in that movie, going well above and beyond the call of duty. And wouldn’t you know, he cited Harrison Ford as an influence.
One of the great things about Ford in the role of Indy is how pathetic he’s willing to look. A hero like James Bond never seems to really get hurt; Indy seems to do nothing but. Pine would go all-in on that idea, since he’s one of the few guys this handsome who’s willing to look like a genuine ass. Not a “well he makes a joke at the end” kind of ass, but a real “I don’t give a damn what anybody thinks and here are my actual balls onscreen to prove it” kind of ass. That movie is called Stretch, by the way. Though a scene like that would have done interesting things to Into the Woods.
Anyway, Indy needs somebody who doesn’t comfortably fit into a “movie star” mold, and if you’ve seen any of Pine’s more wacko stuff, you’ll know he doesn’t fit that at all.
Even if we limit ourselves to other Marvel actors named Chris, I think there are a few that better fit the fedora. The most prominent being Captain America himself — which perhaps makes sense, as Cap is perhaps the only movie hero more American than Indy. Maybe more sincerely so than Indy, but Evans showed us in Fantastic Four and Scott Pilgrim that he can play for fun when the occasion calls for it.
But Indy needs to be more than funny, and Evans also brings with him a throwback type of masculinity. People don’t mention it a lot, but Harrison Ford had this great stillness and quiet to him, traits that read clearly on Indiana Jones even if the character isn’t quite as chill as someone like Rick Deckard. Evans might channel that muted quality better than any other actor his age. Just look at his charismatic, low-key work in something like Snowpiercer. Or… well, Captain America.
There’s even good options out there who aren’t named Chris. Although Hammer was a strong presence in The Social Network, the nature of his role there combined with his subsequent career maneuvers had me dismissing him as a well-cast pretty boy. Whoops — The Lone Ranger proved me dead wrong. That movie’s flop status is sad on a number of levels, but one of the biggest losses was a real career jump for its lead actor.
Because Hammer is pretty much sensational in the part, making the titular hero’s transition from fresh-faced lawman to rugged horse-riding hero look easy. Like Pine did with James T. Kirk, Hammer commits all the way, showing he had the charisma to anchor an iconic hero and the willingness to undercut that heroism at every turn. And he even finds time for a wink and a joke here and there. What else does Indy need?
So for some reason it really bothers me to put somebody on here who’s not American. I think it’s because of what I mentioned above; Indiana Jones is just about as American as heroes get. He’s our James Bond (literally), and just as Bond is always a Brit, Jones should always be an American. On the other hand, somebody elsewhere suggested Fassbender for the part and now I simply can’t unsee it.
I could probably just leave it there. Fassbender might be the absolute best actor in his age bracket; the dude can do absolutely anything. That means he could walk the odd nerdy/cool line Dr. Jones straddles has in his adventures. Plus, he’s got the right sort of ruggedly handsome looks. And he’s even doing Assassin’s Creed, so it’s not like he’s above pulpy stuff. An Indy movie might even be more historically accurate!
Obviously, there’s no real way this can happen. For one, LaBeouf has already burned that bridge by testifying against Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. For two, I might be the only person who thinks there wasn’t anything to apologize for. But that aside, at the time of that movie, there was no reason to think LaBeouf’s brand of twitchiness would translate to a laconic hero like Indiana Jones.
Anybody who’s seen Fury, though, knows better. This dude has really matured as an actor, moving into a lean intensity that was probably always there but often difficult to spot in his more mainstream stuff. I like the idea of someone with Shia’s weird, unpredictable persona taking ahold of the whip. I’ll say it again — the thing that made Harrison Ford such a great Indy is that he wasn’t cut from a movie-star mold. LaBeouf shares that quality, as do all the actors on this list.
What about you? What other actors could make a great Indiana Jones?