It turns out Indiana Jones can be a softie.
On Thursday night at the Cannes Film Festival, Harrison Ford fought back tears several times at the premiere of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” the fifth (and perhaps final) chapter of one of the most celebrated franchises in movie history. No expense was spared as Disney jetted its top executives, including CEO Bob Iger and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, to the South of France for the summer action film directed by James Mangold and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
But when the credits rolled, Cannes mustered a muted standing ovation for Indy’s latest adventure. Yes, the applause lasted for five minutes, but by Cannes standards, that’s more of a polite formality.
But regardless of how the crowd felt about the film, the biggest cheers of the night were reserved for Ford. The actor arrived on the carpet with wife Calista Flockhart, and an announcer introduced the duo as “Indiana Jones and Calista Flockhart.” Ford received a true movie’s star welcome, as thousands of fans screamed his name and the audience in the Palais jumped up to welcome him as he set foot inside the theater.
As the night began, Ford was summoned to the stage by Cannes festival director Thierry Frémaux to receive a surprise Palme d’Or after a reel of his greatest roles — from “Star Wars” to “The Fugitive” — played onscreen.
“I’m very moved by this,” Ford said. “They say when you’re about to die, you see your life flash before your eyes, and I just saw my life flash before my eyes. A great part of my life, but not all of my life. My life has been enabled by my lovely wife, who has supported my passion and my dreams, and I’m grateful.”
Then Ford addressed the audience. “I love you, too. But I’ve got a movie you ought to see. It’s right behind me. So let me get out of the way, and thank you again for this great honor.”
Indeed, the standing ovations for Ford were louder before the movie played. The film’s elaborate action scenes and witty one-liners delivered by Waller-Bridge received a less-than-rapturous response inside the theater. During parts of the 142-minute film, audience members could be heard whispering out of boredom in French.
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” once again finds Ford playing the eponymous archeologist. Set in 1969 against the space race, Indy must once again fight off heinous Nazis. Mads Mikkelsen and Boyd Holbrook co-star in the film.
Ford has stressed that “Dial of Destiny” is the end of his tenure playing Indiana Jones. “This is the final film in the series, and this is the last time I’ll play the character,” Ford told Total Film magazine before Cannes. “I anticipate that it will be the last time that he appears in a film.” While he’s aware that Disney is developing an Indiana Jones series for Disney+, Ford said he “will not be involved in that, if it does come to fruition.”
Notably, “Indiana Jones” is the first Indiana Jones movie not directed by Steven Spielberg. “The Wolverine” and “Ford v Ferrari” director Mangold took over filmmaking duties on “Dial of Destiny.” Spielberg said during a press event in April that he loved the latest sequel.
“Bob Iger had a screening for a lot of the Disney executives, and I came to the screening along with the director James Mangold,” Spielberg said. “Everybody loved the movie. It’s really, really a good ‘Indiana Jones’ film. I’m really proud of what Jim has done with it.”
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” opens in theaters June 30 from Disney.