CANNES, France (AFP) — It is no easy feat taking over an iconic saga like Indiana Jones, but new director James Mangold says he wanted to deliver the “best version” of what his childhood hero Steven Spielberg had done with the four previous films.
Mangold took the reins from Spielberg to deliver the fifth film in the franchise with “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, starring Harrison Ford, 80.
Legendary director Spielberg “has been a hero of mine all my life. I saw the first Indiana Jones movie when I was 17. It’s a big chair to sit in … but it was also a huge personal opportunity,” Mangold told AFP in an interview.
The director of “Girl, Interrupted,” “Walk the Line,” and “Logan,” Mangold said the final cut was “my best version of Steven, me kind of emulating my mentor and trying to tell a story. Of course, it’s still me, and not him.”
In a Hollywood seemingly saturated with superhero movies, Mangold said old-school action movies still had their place.
“I think maybe it’s not in fashion, but I think it’s refreshing to people,” in a time when “everything has to be so fast that it doesn’t even allow characters or the story to breathe,” said Mangold, warning of the danger of new visual effects being “over-used”.
However, “The Dial of Destiny” does not shun digital special effects, and one of the most impressive sequences was filmed in a studio.
The film opens with a flashback lasting about 20 minutes in which Ford is de-aged by around 40 years.
“You have to have a lot of money to do it,” Mangold said of the increasingly coveted technique.
“I’m not sure it has relevance in most films, you can do so much with make-up and lighting in other ways if those are your challenges”.
But, even though Ford is still “pretty fit” at 80, how do you deal with an Indiana Jones who should be long-retired?
“You have to be honest with the audience and part of this honesty is dealing with age”.
The point was to come up with a story that was “honest, and addressed time, aging and regret, and choice. What’s it like to be a hero in a time when you are not celebrated anymore?”
As for Mangold’s hero, Spielberg, he has given the latest film the thumbs-up.
“It’s really, really a good ‘Indiana Jones’ film,” Spielberg told Variety magazine in April.
“When the lights came up I just turned to the group and said, I thought I was the only one who knew how to make one of these'”.
After walking the red carpet with his co-stars ahead of the premiere, Ford received an honorary Palme D’Or, the highest Cannes award.