Harrison Ford Was Almost Cast in ‘Jurassic Park’

Even Hollywood’s biggest actors are lucky to get a single iconic movie role that forever links them to a particular franchise.

In Harrison Ford’s case, there’s two of them. While his role in Star Wars cannot be understated, his run as Indiana Jones shows that he’s got something that audiences want. Steven Spielberg sees this, and he almost put Ford in another classic franchise. The pair spoke about this in 2011. 

Harrison Ford’s Career

Ford was not a newcomer when Star Wars premiered. He’d already appeared in several major films and television series despite not yet being a household name.

However, when Han Solo came on screen in Star Wars, it marked a change in his career that’s still being felt over 40 years later. The film put Ford on the map. When George Lucas and Steven Spielberg started working on Indiana Jones, however, they added another classic role to his resume. 

While Ford’s career is not merely defined by these two roles, they show his starpower in a way that’s hard to match. From Blade Runner to Air Force One, Ford would be a star without these roles.

However, by being one of the faces of two historic franchises, his legacy will always be hard to match. Had Spielberg gotten away, there might have been a third role, too. 

The Harrison Hat Trick

When speaking about the future of Indiana Jones in 2011, Ford and Spielberg exchanged several jabs as they spoke about their creative partnership that’s now lasted over 40 years.

Three years removed from the last time that he donned the whip and iconic fedora he spoke about returning to the role that propelled him to a star outside of the galaxy far away.

It started with a simple joke, as collected by The Mary Sue,  before Spielberg dropped a bombshell.

“It’s an absolute delight to revisit [Indy],” Ford said, “and a chance to work with Steven again, who only hires me for Indiana Jones.”

At face value, this is true. Ford has appeared in four Spielberg movies and all of them were Indiana Jones. Had a cameo in ET not been cut in the editing room, this wouldn’t be the truth. However, Ford almost took on a role that, in all likelihood, would have given him three of the biggest film franchises of all time

“I gotta correct this,” Spielberg chimed in. “Do you know who I offered Jurassic Park to? This guy. Alan Grant I first offered to this guy.”

Ford laughed.

“That was a lot like going to Mars,” he joked, implying that it would be too weird for him to take on another franchise with Spielberg at the helm. Alan Grant was played by Sam Neill. While the role is now iconic, it’s not hard to picture Ford donning the blue shirt and taking on dinosaurs. 

Still, Neill helped sell Jurassic Park and make it the hit it is today. Still, both Jurassic Park and Harrison Ford are fine without each other. Both will return to the big screen in the near future. 

What’s next for Harrison Ford, ‘Jurassic Park’?

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford | Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

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 Jurassic Park is going strong nearly thirty years after its release. While Spielberg handed over the reins to new directors after The Lost WorldJurassic World: Dominion will, once again, pit man against beast in what could be the grand finale.

Neill, Laura Dern, BD Wong, and Jeff Goldblum, who appeared in a brief cameo in Fallen Kingdom, will reprise their roles in the heavily-anticipated sequel to the Chris Pratt-led reboot. 

As for Ford, whose star is as bright as ever following his return to Star Wars and Blade Runner, as well as his work in 2020’s The Call of the Wild. Ford will return to Indiana Jones in 2022 despite turning eighty that same year.

Neither Ford nor Spielberg can regret the casting that never was, but for fans of either side, it’s hard not to envision a world where Ford takes on a T Rex and his friends.