While she has many TV and movies credits to her name including Animal House and Starman, Karen Allen is probably best known for her portrayal as Marion Ravenwood in the Raiders of the Lost Ark franchise. Recently we had the chance to talk to Karen while doing a round table interview at Toronto Comic Con.
Media: So they just announced that they are going to make another Indiana Jones movie. Do you know yet if you are going to have a part in the film?
Karen: I wish I could enlighten us all however, I think it’s a mystery at this time. I believe there will come a time where they make those decisions about who else is going to be in the film but all I can say is my fingers are crossed that they are going to include Marion back into the story and it will all be revealed when they are ready to let us know. Of course, the ‘they’ I’m talking about is Harrison, Steven, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, they hold the secrets and the purse strings to the future of the stories.
The GCE: What was your audition like for Marion on Raiders of the Lost Ark?
Karen: Well I met Steven in New York City, he came and we met in a regular kind of audition meeting. He has seen a movie I had done with Rob Cohen called A Small Circle of Friends and he’d also seen Animal House and was friends with John Landis, so he’d seen me in these two films and was interested in me already for Raiders of the Lost Ark. So we met and talked for about ten minutes or so and he went back to Los Angeles. A little while later I got a call that he would like me to come and do a formal audition, kind of a screen test, so I flew out with John Shea. Tom Selleck had fallen out already, they had cast him as Indiana Jones, he had come up against the problems with Magnum P.I., so now they had no Indy and no Marion. So I flew out with this actor John Shea who I knew and we auditioned together and then I stayed and auditioned with Tim Matheson from Animal House, then I stayed for awhile and they were going to have me audition with some other actors but then they decided they were going to cast Harrison. I guess he has always been in the back of their minds but because he was just coming out of the second Star Wars film, maybe they were thinking that the audience wouldn’t accept him as both Indiana Jones and Han Solo and they knew they wanted to do three Indiana Jones and three Star Wars so maybe they thought that was too much for one actor, however it seemed to work out ok, he pulled it off. So I did a screen test and I remember being fairly relaxed about it, Steven was very, very nice and very easy to work with and you know George, I think he was there for part of the screen test, he was a lovely guy so they made it easy.
Media: Is there any characters you’d like to be on screen with, a sort of super film like what was done with the Expendables?
Karen: Gosh, I was just saying it’s not my genre so much, as in the kinds of films, if you put a hundred films in front of me and said what would you like to watch, all of the superhero ones would be ignored. I love science fiction, I love fantasy, like I love the Lord of the Rings series, I’d like to put Marion into the Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter, those are more my kind of films. I love good story telling and I feel like the superhero movies fall short in that area. I don’t know, maybe it’s a guy thing but I guess women like superhero movies too, I don’t know. I saw them when my son was growing up because he insisted I take him but I’m not kidding, I sat there looking at my watch and think is it over yet, can I go now? My favorite film last year was Ida, oh my god, it was so good. It won the Academy Award for best foreign film, it is pretty much the antithesis of the superhero movie.
I want to thank Karen for taking the time to speak with us