Harrison Ford’s Embarrassment Creates Movie History

By Britta DeVore | Published

Movie history in Indiana Jones

Movie magic is all around us. For those of us who will never be on the set of a film, there’s something extra special about hearing one of your favorite stars spill the tea on unforeseen moments that made a movie unforgettable. Unfortunately, for Harrison Ford, this came at the price of having a crappy time in Tunisia as the Indiana Jones franchise actor revealed that a bout of dysentery gave Raiders of the Lost Ark one of its most unforgettable moments – and one that Ford certainly won’t drop from his memory any time soon.

For those of us who have traveled abroad to a country where we were warned to not drink the water, there is no situation more nightmarish than what Harrison Ford faced while filming the very first Indiana Jones movie overseas. The scene in question saw Ford’s brassy archeologist facing off against a master swordsman. The action was meant to be “the ultimate duel between sword and whip,” but, because Ford couldn’t be away from his bathroom “for more than 10 minutes at a time,” he had other ideas about how the fight would go down.

Indiana Jones and Swordsman
Indiana Jones faces down a swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark

His fears were only magnified after he realized that, following a rehearsal, there was zero chance he and his on-screen partner could get the task done in just one day. In one way, luck was on Harrison Ford’s side as he revealed that it was the final scene the team needed to capture in Tunisia before they could high-tail it back to England to wrap things up. From what it sounds like, Ford had some extra time to think in his trailer (if you know what we mean), so he took his concerns to the project’s director, Steven Spielberg.

Although he doesn’t reveal whether the legendary filmmaker was afflicted by the same stomach bug that he was, Harrison Ford says that it took no time at all to convince Spielberg of his newly formed plan. Instead of spending all the time (and production budget) nailing down the choreography of the whip v. sword fight, Ford said that he “proposed to Steven that we just shoot the son of a bitch.” Without taking a pause, the Star Wars actor says that Spielberg looked at him and responded, “‘I was thinking that as well.’”

Harrison Ford
Indiana Jones after his obvious solution

From here, it was smooth sailing for Harrison Ford as he knew that he’d soon be in London with his affliction, hopefully, running its course (sorry for the pun). Still, the actor says that he felt bad for the stuntman who had been practicing his sword scene likely for months only to be shot by the titular hero in the final cut. While we would’ve loved to see what the duel to the death would’ve looked like, Indy just busting out his gun and shooting the man was about as on-brand with the character as it gets.

Over the next few years, Harrison Ford would find himself back in foreign countries filming the rest of the first three films in the Indiana Jones series. Hopefully, his brush with dysentery taught the actor to be more careful when working on movies in countries where you’re warned to stick with bottled water. Either that or carry some helpers like Imodium and never be too far away from a bathroom!

Source: AMA