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Women of <I>Indiana Jones</I> Recall Creepy-Crawly Co-Stars

17 Oct, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

Karen Allen thought she would be playing a character like Ingrid Bergman's in Casablanca when she signed on for Raiders of the Lost Ark, set in the same period.

It was only later she learned she would be starring alongside not only Harrison Ford, but thousands of bugs and snakes.

Kate Capshaw, a relative newcomer to film at the time, didn't want the role she landed of Willie Scott in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, so she didn't read the script or realize how much of the movie would involve creepy-crawlies until she was on location.

“Doing this kind of a movie is very, very different from what you imagine acting to be,” she said.

Alison Doody was jealous of Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, because the father-son relationship was more of a focal point than the boy-meets-girl story.

Yet all three women made their marks on the Jones saga, playing strong characters who could hold their own with Ford's adventure-seeking action hero.

“I just fell in love with [Marion Ravenwood] immediately, because I got the scene in the bar and Harrison comes in and I hit him in the jaw and refused to give him what he wanted,” Allen said. “I felt fiercely protective of her when we started shooting the movie. Whenever she was passive and there was nothing written for her, I wanted her to be on her toes, sort of ready to spring into action.”

Capshaw also shaped her character, but a bit cautiously. The leading lady, who would later marry director Steven Spielberg, said she learned early that he would let her experiment, but, “he will let you do it, and he will roll film, so later if it ends up in the movie, you might not like it.”

Her character ended up being the most controversial of Jones' leading ladies. Willie was one of the reasons critics either loved the movie or hated it. “I thought since it was a Saturday matinee, we would do a stereotypical character,” she said. “But I told them when we were doing it there was too much screaming. And screaming isn't easy, either.”

Doody, who was just learning the craft of acting when she portrayed Dr. Elsa Schneider, didn't enjoy doing her German accent.

“I wanted my character to be attractive and sexy,” she said. “I found the accent cold and hard.”

The experience was worthwhile, though, as it also cemented her in fans' minds.

“I receive letters all the time,” she said. “That's what is so much fun about being a part of Indiana Jones.”

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