When you think of Indiana Jones it’s probably as an archeologist or an adventurer, a devil-may-care quasi-swashbuckler who takes down Nazis when the moment is right. But a sexual predator? That isn’t high up there on the list when thinking about this iconic character. That being said, some have analyzed the first movie in the series and his interactions with Karen Allen’s Marion and wondered if he acted out of bounds in their relationship. Allen recently responded to this in an interview with Uproxx, dispelling the notion that Indiana Jones was a pedophile.
Karen Allen is asked in the interview about a scene from the original Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark in which there’s some background around how Marion and Indy originally got together. It was known that their relationship started when she was 16 and he was older, a graduate student and mentee of Marion’s father Abner Ravenwood. Though we catch up with them later in life, they allude quickly to their previous relationship. In this Marion says, “I was a child,” and Indy responds, “You knew what you were doing.”
Allen was asked about the over and undertones of this conversation in the movie and whether she thought this meant that Indiana Jones had taken advantage of her character at a young age. The age discrepancy her being a minor, would violate a number of different statutes in the “real world”. Allen was quick to say that she understood the look on this scene and the relationship wasn’t a good one, but that she never considered it actually something untoward. She says, the way she thought about it from an acting and narrative standpoint, was that they did something they shouldn’t have, but called it off. Here’s how Allen describes her thought process around this scene and the characters’ relationship:
I think I say I was 16. I don’t know. That’s always what I imagined is she was 16, he was 26. And he was her father’s student. And it’s left very mysterious…But, in the end, (we) decided it was a dangerous situation and he didn’t want to be involved. I mean, I guess, when something is as vague as that, you can color it any way you want to color it. I’ve tended to color it, sort of, that it was quite innocent… But when she says she was a child, I think she meant she was 16. Something like that…I don’t think of him as a pedophile. That’s the direction some of these people are going.
When referring to whether she was a child or not, Allen was clear that in her mind this meant she was an older teenager at the time, though she admits she isn’t quite sure the specifics around the original script. She says that there’s a chance she made it better in her mind, making it easier to keep going with the Indiana Jones arc. But she doesn’t think or see the character of Indy as a predator.
And if we are looking at the rest of the Indiana Jones franchise, it’s clear this character doesn’t take the path at all. In fact, the romantic angles of stories are usually well off to the side of the actual story and action. It just hasn’t been a big piece of what these movies are going for with the character of Indy.
The next Indiana Jones movie is filming now and we have our first glimpses of what a 79-year-old Harrison Ford is looking like as Indiana Jones. This next film, Indiana Jones 5 will be set in the 1960s during the race to outer space. It looks like the Nazis will still be involved somehow and the setting is apparently New York City. Steven Spielberg has stepped aside and James Mangold will be directing a film that’s been a long time coming.
From Karen Allen’s comments, I think we can rest easy about being able to cheer for Indiana Jones in this next movie. Is the guy perfect? No. But it sure doesn’t seem like he’s a sexual predator in any way.