How diarrhea gave us an iconic Indiana Jones scene

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

How many of the best movies of all time were improved by the film’s star needing the toilet? It’s an interesting idea to contemplate. Perhaps Marlon Brando only found Vito Corleone’s soft-spoken voice because he was desperately trying to hold in a shit? Maybe Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa only got on that plane because she really needed a wee?

We may never know. However, we do know that one of the best adventure movies of all time, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, was improved by its star suffering from diarrhoea. Yes, according to Harrison Ford, the iconic scene where Indiana is attacked by a talented swordsman and our hero shoots him in response was completely improvised because Ford couldn’t be away from the bathroom.

“We were shooting in Tunisia,” Ford explained during a Reddit AMA. “And the script had a scene in which I fight a swordsman, an expert swordsman; it was meant to be the ultimate duel between sword and whip. I was suffering from dysentery, really, [and] found it inconvenient to be out of my trailer for more than 10 minutes at a time.”

“We’d done a brief rehearsal of the scene the night before we were meant to shoot it, and both Steve and I realized it would take two or three days to shoot this,” he continued. “And it was the last thing we were meant to shoot in Tunisia before we left to shoot in England.”

“I was puzzling how to get out of this three days of shooting,” Ford added. “So when I got to set, I proposed to Steven that we just shoot the son a bitch, and Steve said, ‘I was thinking that as well.'”

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Ford admits he felt sorry for the stuntman who’d spent months practising his skills, but we can all agree it gave the action movie one of its most iconic moments.

If you can’t get enough of cinema’s most famous archaeologist, check out our guide to Indiana Jones 5 or take a trip to a galaxy far, far away and see if a certain nerf herder managed to get on our list of the best Star Wars characters.

Tom Percival

Editor

Updated: Aug 03, 2022


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