James Mangold On Taking Over For Steven Spielberg In Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny picks up in 1969, with Dr. Jones on the brink of retirement when his goddaughter, Helena Shaw, appears unexpectedly. Helena pulls Indiana into one last adventure as they hunt down a dangerous artifact that he chased before. Jürgen Voller, a former Nazi scientist, is also hunting for the artifact, which is believed to be able to change the course of history, making the stakes even more dangerous.


Harrison Ford reprises his role as Indiana Jones for a final adventure in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. John Rhys-Davies and Karen Allen also reprise their roles as Sallah and Marion Ravenwood, respectively. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’s star-studded cast also includes Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, Mads Mikkelsen, Boyd Holbrook, Toby Jones, Ethann Isidore, and Shaunette Renée Wilson. James Mangold takes the reins from Steven Spielberg as director of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny from a script penned by Mangold, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and David Koepp.

Related: 10 Movies To Watch Before Indiana Jones 5

Screen Rant spoke with James Mangold about Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. He discusses collaborating with Steven Spielberg, who is a personal hero of his, and closing the book on Indiana Jones’ story. Mangold also broke down Waller-Bridge’s role and how her series, Fleabag, caught his attention.

James Mangold on Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Indiana Jones 5

Screen Rant: James, amazing job on this film! I felt like I was a kid again. I was transported in time.

James Mangold: That’s how I felt making it!

Really? It’s incredible! I’ve never felt like that movie in my adult life. I don’t feel like I felt like a kid watching this film. You worked with Harrison Ford as a producer on Call of the Wild. Is that what you guys started talking about?

James Mangold: We did a little. Obviously you can’t be doing all night shoots in the middle of the Santa Clarita Valley, waiting for lighting setups to be completed and not start interviewing Harrison Ford with crazy Star Wars questions and Indy questions. Somewhere around 2am he’d start telling stories about what they were thinking of next and what they’re working on. Little did I know it would end up being me.

That’s incredible. I think to make a great Indiana Jones movie it needs action, adventure, history, and mystery with a pinch of horror. This captures that.

James Mangold: You’re missing comedy! Where’s the comedy in that list?

Comedy too!

James Mangold: Way up the list! I agree. It is a stew. It is a lot of things and a lot to manage. Comedy, thrills, heart, adventure and spectacle all of these things work in harmony, but also can contradict each other. So is a lot of orchestration.

Absolutely. This felt like it captured the vein of what Steven Spielberg did with the original Indiana Jones. Can you talk about that, but also making it your own?

James Mangold: This is not a movie where I set out to make it my own. My first responsibility, and it was kind of the opportunity of this movie, Steven has been a hero of mine all my life. The make it your own happens naturally. Miles Davis can’t play a trumpet the same way another person can even if they’re playing the same melody. So the reality is the me part was going to come out, but the part I was most interested in was the collaboration.

You’re talking about a filmmaker who’s who’s been in my mind whispering in my ear since I started making movies 35 years ago, even as a super eight filmmaker as a teenager. So the idea of actually collaborating with him, of actually getting to spend time with him developing the script, talking to him every week or two while I’m shooting, and having him in the cutting room. These were gigantic opportunities to not just meet your heroes, but collaborate with them.

That’s incredible. That is so cool. With this being the final chapter of Indiana Jones’ story, what was the most important part of the story to touch on and close the book on?

James Mangold: What you always have to do in any movie, even if it’s a sequel, is establish a problem, and then solve it. I think it’s the thing fans have the most struggle with sometimes because they’re like, “Why does my hero have to have a problem?” And I’m like, because it’s kind of the number one rule of drama. If they don’t have a problem they’re just a mannequin in an outfit plunging through one spectacle after another. For me, the problem or challenge for Indiana Jones given my actor was almost 80 and we were playing Indiana Jones in his 70s was was the idea of what is it to be a hero at sunset?

How do you find a graceful way to live your life in that last chapter? Especially when you’re living in a world where merchandising, commercialization, rock and roll, moon landings, real politic, and nuclear threats have really eradicated the clear lines of the world we knew in the 30s and 40s when Indy’s glory period occurred. The world was really simple Nazis bad, allies good. The battles were so simple, but now he’s in a world that is eminently more complex and we can’t pretend it isn’t.

Absolutely! I love Phoebe’s character, and she is so much fun. Can you talk about what you wanted to do to separate her from other female characters that were in the Indiana Jones franchise? And her dynamic with Indy?

James Mangold: I never really thought about separating her from the others. I actually thought about just being of that type, Karen Allen being the archetype. Karen’s entrance into the movie is knocking Indy flat on the floor, rejecting him, and out drinking him. The brassy aspects I was really interested in. Phoebe will talk about it, but I had mentioned and when we were writing, I had this idea of Barbara Stanwyck in the classic Preston Sturgis movie, The Lady Eve, who is both charming and you love her, but she’s also a con woman. She’s taking Henry Fonda for a complete ride, but you know she has a heart and, of course, she ends up falling in love with him.

So it’s this beautiful set of contradictions in the character, not unlike Indy’s contradictions. Both Harrison and I had been watching Fleabag at the time I was first coming on this movie, and there was no one on my mind more. The idea that she would be an incredibly fresh choice. Which always the female leads in the movie had been someone new I hadn’t really seen much before, I felt would be really exciting.

What inspired the decision to tap into Operation Paperclip, with that piece of history, to bring back the Nazis as antagonists.

James Mangold: It almost came from the mechanical challenge of how do I get Nazis in the United States and under what auspices were they working with? Given that Indy’s in his 70s and I knew we were playing the movie in the late 60s, it suddenly occurred to me, we had the moon landing and Verner von Braun and all he contributed to American rocketry and NASA. That gave me a little bit of a launching pad with Jez and John-Henry Butterworth as we set out to write the script of how you could have a Nazi genius in the United States helping us do what was going on at that time, based on historical fact, but also perhaps having his own agenda.

About Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Indiana Jones 5 Harrison Ford Deaged CGI

In Indiana Jones’ final adventure, the archeologist reluctantly teams up with his goddaughter Helena Shaw to find a dangerous artifact that could change the course of history. And with Jürgen Voller, a former Nazi scientist, hot on their tail, the stakes have never been higher.

Check out our other Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny interviews here:

Key Release Date

Leave a Comment