Harrison Ford has spent almost 40 years playing Indiana Jones. The character is tied for first alongside Han Solo among the legendary actor’s most iconic roles. Famously, Indiana’s biggest fear is snakes. For Ford, it turns out, that isn’t the case. The man loves nature and all its critters, especially snakes.
In the famous opening sequence of the franchise’s first film, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, after he escapes the cave filled with booby-traps and breaks away from nemesis Rene Belloq, Indiana makes it to a waiting seaplane. He jumps in the front seat and the plane narrowly escapes a barrage of arrows from the natives employed by Belloq. To Indiana’s great dismay, the pilot’s pet snake, Reggie, is already in the seat, forcing Indiana to proclaim, “I hate snakes, Jock! I hate ’em!”
The character trait comes back again later in the movie when Indiana opens the Well of Souls. Indiana’s partner, Sallah, asks, “Indy, why does the floor move?” Indy drops a torch down and it reveals thousands of snakes. Indiana leans back with a defeated look on his face, saying, “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?” Shortly after, Indiana is lowered down and comes face to face with a cobra. He survives the encounter, of course.
In the third installment of the series, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a young Indy, played by River Phoenix in a flashback, is chased by grave robbers across a circus train, and as Indiana crosses one of the cars, he falls into one of the cars and into a box full of snakes, revealing how the character developed his fear of the reptiles. But in his personal life, Harrison Ford has a very different feeling about the slithery creatures.
In a recent interview with Parade magazine, Ford revealed that as a teenager he worked as an assistant camp counselor at a summer camp in Wisconsin. One of his main duties that summer could have been Indiana Jones’ worst nightmare. “My task that summer was digging a terrarium and lining the walls with wooden stakes,” the actor told the magazine. He also was in charge of “acquiring a collection of snakes and turtles and amphibians to go in it.” He adds that it helped a lot later in his career. “It served me well when I came to [be] Indiana Jones and had not developed a fear of snakes,” Ford says of working with a lot of snakes in the Raiders film.
The upcoming fifth installment of the franchise is expected to begin filming in the next couple of months after a series of delays. The 77-year-old actor is fit and ready to play Indiana Jones, possibly for the last time. But as we’ve learned, it’s never a good idea to count Harrison Ford out of anything in the future, though it does look like Shia LaBeouf won’t be in the new movie.