According to Deadline, Steven Spielberg is in the middle of leafing through potential scripts for an Indiana Jones re-boot, to be produced by the franchise’s new owners, Disney.
However, despite Disney roping in Harrison Ford to reprise the role of Han Solo in its new Star Wars film, it seems the studio will be handing over the leather jacket, whip and fedora to someone new.
According to the same report from Deadline, last year’s breakout star Chris Pratt is Spielberg’s actor of choice for the role.
So should we be excited at the prospect of a Raiders reprisal? Or terrified at the prospect of another Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull?
While it’s a relief to many that Shia LaBeouf isn’t the main contender to play the new Dr Jones, the rumours about Pratt does suggest a very different style than Harrison Ford’s 1981 original.
Pratt was mainly known for his role as the buffoonish Andy Dwyer, the standout character from NBC’s Parks And Recreation until his stellar breakout in last year’s Guardians Of The Galaxy.
And while Pratt’s Guardians character Star Lord saw himself as the swashbuckling Indiana Jones type, he was in fact drastically inept and often the butt of the joke, much like Pratt’s other big role of 2014 as the lead character in the Lego Movie.
Because despite his new-found six-pack, Pratt is still best known as a comedy actor, and while there was always comedy in the Indiana Jones series, the jokes were never front and centre.
Ford’s Indiana Jones was tough, smart and so dry each one-liner required a good mouthful from the Holy Grail afterwards.
We know from his recent work that Pratt is perfectly adept at leading a mega-budget studio movie, but it’s difficult to see the 35 year-old – whose best on-screen lines include ‘Butter is my favourite food’ (Parks and Rec) - pulling off the same world-weary delivery as a grizzled Harrison Ford on his worst Nazi-whipping day.
Ford, with his constant frustrated air, his wry shrugs and rough and ready attitude, is to the series what Sean Connery is to James Bond – the original, perfect fit against whom all successors must be measured. Pratt, meanwhile, with his good looks, flippant delivery and carefree persona has the potential to become the series’ Roger Moore. And when was the last time you picked Moonraker over Goldfinger, or Octopussy over Thunderball?
It’s a sign that the new film may take its cues more from the modern tongue-in-cheek action genre rather than the classic ‘boys-own’ adventure feel of the original Indiana Jones films – more in keeping with Moore’s safari-suited, eyebrow-raising turn as Bond.
It’s happened recently with Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films as well as Star Trek and Total Recall, which each film re-defining the original material and ramping up the action to an extent that we were left with films that were familiar in name alone.
Do we really want to see Indiana Jones go the same route, with Short Round re-cast as a wise-cracking Jayden Smith? Or Seth Rogen taking over as John Rhys-Davies’ Sallah? Or even – heaven forbid – a reworking of John Williams’ famous score?
Yes, a new Indy film might appeal to some, but after the spirit-crushing Crystal Skull, fans deserve more than another cash in. Perhaps it’s time to retire Dr Jones, before the holy ark of cinema becomes just another cheap knock-off.