Indiana Jones fans appreciate the continuity of Harrison Ford as the mainstay face of the franchise over the Hollywood inclination to bring in a fresh rising star to take over the role.
“[We’re] not doing the [James] Bond thing where we’re going to call somebody else Indiana Jones,” director Steven Spielberg told Total Film.
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But in the last film, it was hard for fans not to notice the fight scenes had become slower and more labored. It’s not just Ford’s age; he has suffered a variety of injuries in recent years. He dislocated his ankle and broke both bones in his left leg in an accident on the set of “Star Wars” — injuries that set back the filming for two months. Then, in March 2015, he survived a plane crash in Santa Monica, Calif.
“I count myself as a lucky guy although I broke my other god***n leg,” Ford said of his crash injuries.
He is indeed lucky — not only to survive his injuries, but to work in an era when a variety of stars have found rebirth in their careers as they have entered their Golden Years. Older stars are finding roles not just as backups on sequels to the film “Cocoon,” but in lead roles in action films.
For some stars, age has worked to their advantage.
Liam Neeson’s career turnaround began with tragedy. He had little hope for 2008 film “Taken,” figuring it might go straight to video. Soon after the film’s release, his wife of 15 years, Natasha Richardson, died following a ski accident. “Taken” took off at the box office, and Neeson was reborn as an action hero. Since then, he’s gone on to make more than a dozen box-office hits, including action films and thrillers.
“Listen, I know how old I am and that I’m just a shoulder injury from losing roles like the one in ‘Taken,’” Neeson told Esquire magazine in 2011. “So I stay with the training, I stay with the work. It’s easy enough to plan jobs, to plan a lot of work. That’s effective. But that’s the weird thing about grief. You can’t prepare for it. You think you’re gonna cry and get it over with. You make those plans, but they never work.”
The classically trained 75-year-old British actor has played numerous roles on stage, television and film. But his career seemed to grow exponentially with his iconic roles as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and as Professor Charles Xavier in the superhero “X-Men” series.
Mirren, 70, won Academy Awards for her performance as “Queen Elizabeth,” but her most notable work in recent years has been starring as Victoria Winslow in the action-comedy films “Red” and “Red 2.” She was a tough vixen in these films – driving fast cars, engaging in gun fights and blowing things up.
When it comes to aging stars in action roles, we still can count on Bruce Willis, 61; Sylvester Stallone, 69; Arnold Schwarzenegger, 68; Denzel Washington, 61; and others, who don’t want to stop carrying the torch, despite any aches and pains. An “Expendables 4,” the action franchise that surprised everyone with a big box office haul in 2010 with Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger, is set to begin shooting in the fall.
As Zoolander’s Mugatu would say, being an elderly action star is “so hot right now.”