Harrison Ford says an AI Indiana Jones is ‘never gonna happen’

With machine learning being used to de-age Indy in Dial of Destiny, we asked its star if AI could be used to recreate him for a future movie

Watch: Harrison Ford shares thoughts on AI

Indiana Jones star Harrison Ford says artificial intelligence (AI) could "never" hope to recreate his performance as the intrepid archaeologist for a future instalment of the franchise.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the 80-year-old actor’s fifth and final crack of the whip as Indy, and in the opening sequence he appears decades younger thanks to ILM’s FaceSwap de-aging technology, which utilises artist-driven machine-learning tools to turn back the years on Ford’s performance.

When asked if machine-learning AI could ever be used to craft an entirely new Harrison Ford Indiana Jones performance without him, he told Yahoo UK: “it’s never gonna happen.”

Elaborating further, the Han Solo star said, “I don’t think [AI] is ever going to be successful in producing the results that human interactions, and real relationships, push through minds of people with an artistic impulse and an experience that they’re trying to emotionally transmit.

Read more: Harrison Ford says Indiana Jones would 'get in the first punch' if he saw Nazis in real life today

"I don’t think that can be reproduced. And if so, I don’t think it would be of the quality that we all have an ambition to be part of.”

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm's IJ5. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
A de-aged Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. (Lucasfilm)

Tom Hanks recently spoke out about the possibility of appearing in movies after his death through AI, revealing that Hollywood was grappling with the legal and ethical ramifications of the situation, saying “I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and that's it, but performances can go on and on and on and on.”

For Dial of Destiny’s 1944 sequence, visual effects company ILM took Ford’s real performance on set and mapped it onto a digital version of his younger face created using Lucasfilm’s vast archive of footage from previous Indiana Jones movies.

In doing so they were able to create a 45-year-old Ford, marrying his performance to the digital model to recreate a youthful Indy.

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm's Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm's Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. (Lucasfilm)

Director James Mangold, taking over the reins from Steven Spielberg, says it’s Ford’s performance that makes the technology work and not the other way around.

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“Visual effects are always going to be reaching to whatever technology is available to help get the best results you can,” explains the Logan filmmaker.

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 19: Director James Mangold and Harrison Ford attend the
James Mangold and Harrison Ford (Getty Images)

“If you thought what we had in our picture, in regards to that opening sequence, was impressive, it wasn’t just the computer minds working on the sequence that made it work, it was the fact that — and the real key to it — is that I have the original actor playing the role.

"And to map some kind of mask onto another man... not only is it not going to happen, but it isn’t going to produce the same result.

“Because you don’t get the human alchemy. The performance wasn’t generated by any computer, the performance was generated by the man who has played the role for 40 years. The technology wrapped around the performance was whatever you say it was, but the reality is that the part of movie making that still moves me is human-driven.”

So while AI is being used to enhance, refine, and improve anything from Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones performance to a tape-recording of John Lennon for the 'last ever Beatles record', don’t expect it be able to resurrect Indiana Jones for a sixth movie any time soon.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is in UK cinemas and IMAX from 28 June.

Watch a trailer below.